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​Five Questions with Andy Cox – Spotlight on Green Finance and ESG

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Five Questions with Andy Cox – Spotlight on Green Finance and ESG

Green Executives was created to be a dedicated search practice for the Green Economy, set up by energy sector professionals. As part of our commitment to our clients we have established an Advisory Board, comprised of known faces and industry leaders to help advise and support our clients.

This article is the first in a series of interviews with members of our advisory board. In this article, Joe Hetherington (our Managing Partner) talks to Andy Cox. Andy Cox is a seasoned professional with almost three decades of experience in the energy sector. He currently serves as the Head of Energy Transition at Howden Group, Chief Impact Officer of the Forward Institute and as a Non-Executive Director of the Energy & Infrastructure team at Browne Jacobson LLP.

As a Senior Partner with KPMG, he led the energy and natural resources sector. As a Deal Advisory partner Andy advised on many major transactions in energy, infrastructure, and low carbon.

Throughout his career, Andy has developed a reputation for his ability to build and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders, including clients, partners, and investors. He has a deep understanding of the energy industry and the challenges it faces, and he uses this knowledge to develop effective solutions that meet the needs of his clients.


Joe Hetherington (JH): Andy, could you share your insights on how the nature of staffing in the ESG and Green Finance sector has evolved over the past few years?

Andy Cox (AC): Certainly, Joe. We've seen a strong focus on leadership capabilities, particularly executives who can lead transformational change and inspire teams as both mindset and culture, as well as systems and technologies, change. There's also been a shift from strategy to action, with most corporates having aggressive net zero targets and feeling the pressure to deliver on time as the decade proceeds.


JH: Interesting. In your opinion, what skills are becoming more critical for professionals working in this sector?

AC: Professionals need to have a strong EQ, a good understanding of the future energy system, and a clear grasp of risk. They should also have clear views on the opportunities and challenges that face organisations operating in the energy transition, and a solid understanding of financing.


JH: How is the demand for talent in this sector changing, and what factors are driving this change?

AC: As we move further into the decade, the targets for 2030/35 are becoming more visible to investors and boards. This is driving the need to make progress faster and bring in capability to accelerate delivery. As policy decisions are made by governments and businesses gain more clarity around business modes, the appetite to invest and take advantage of the huge growth opportunity increases. This drives recruitment of capabilities at all levels.


JH: What are the most significant challenges currently facing the ESG and Green Finance sector?

AC: There are several challenges. One is the reputation problem - is this just ‘woke nonsense’ or is it real and does it matter? Is there a clear link to profitability and improved investment returns? Another is greenwashing, with investors, funds, and corporates becoming wary of being accused by activists of ‘greenwashing’. This is slowing down investment decisions. There's also the issue of confused taxonomy - what’s in and what isn’t? Treatment is inconsistent between countries, leading to confusion and slowing down investment decisions. Lastly, the impact of high inflation leading to cost escalation has not been forecast when agreeing to fixed price contracts in government CFD auction rounds. This means that several projects in the Offshore Wind sector have challenging economics.

JH: What role do you see technology, especially AI, playing in the evolution of this sector, especially in terms of staffing?

AC: It might be too early to tell, but there's a significant role for sensors and monitoring that drives data needed to understand progress against emission reduction targets. As energy becomes more distributed, we'll start to see the emergence of virtual power plants. There will inevitably be huge amounts of data generated across the energy transition landscape. The use of AI and Machine Learning to interrogate this data and help leaders make better business decisions will be key. So, data engineering and data science skills will undoubtedly be in increasing demand as progress to net zero accelerates.



If you would like to find out more about how our advisory committee can help you with your strategy and succession plans please contact, Joe Hetherington,