Charlotte Wolff-Bye

Charlotte Wolff-Bye

Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, PETRONAS

PETRONAS
With a net zero aspiration, energy company PETRONAS is ready to support a more sustainable Malaysia

PETRONAS was the first Asian oil and gas company to publish its aspiration to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is now working hard at developing its pathway to this destination and Chief Sustainability Officer Charlotte Wolff-Bye is leading the way. Her role is to embed sustainability into strategy and to ensure that the company has good governance to match.

“The task at hand is to develop a robust strategy, engage stakeholders on all activities, implement roadmaps and also set the pace for accelerated sustainability action across PETRONAS.”

Wolff-Bye joined the company in 2021, but she has always been associated with sustainability. 

“Over the years, I have worked in a number of different industry sectors. I have, I would say, quite a lot of empirical experience to fall back on, including technical, field, but also strategy experience,” says Wolff-Bye. “I think all that experience is really relevant now in my role as a Chief Sustainability Officer at PETRONAS, because PETRONAS is a national oil company, so this is a company that's not only driven by market forces, but it has much broader responsibilities to shoulder.” 

“PETRONAS is there to support the economic development of Malaysia, progress of society in general, and foster industrial development and so on. I think with my experience across a number of sectors, knowing perhaps where the pitfalls are, and drawing good examples, I think that will come to a good stead here at PETRONAS.”

Fascinated by innovation, Wolff-Bye was drawn to a career in sustainability.

“I believe in the private sector enterprise. Basically, business is where innovation happens. Business really is there to serve its customers and fulfill their needs, it makes the world economy go round. Couple that with sustainability, I think you have a golden combination of transforming society for the better and for a better future, so I think that's my motivation for working in sustainability.”

The impact of COP26

Over the years, Wolff-Bye has attended many COP events, including the most recent one in Glasgow, which ended up in a compromised agreement. 

“Now, of course, because our climate system is deteriorating, every community across the world will sense a change in the climate, and it's a great concern. These COP meetings have become the beacon of hope. There is no other process in the world that actually can bring momentum to action on climate change, so expectations are always incredibly high.”

For the first time, Wolff-Bye feels that there was a high level of participation from the private sector. People were showcasing the newest technology, matching finance with projects, seeking customers and bringing solutions together.

“To me, it was really a momentous COP, but of course everything can improve. The world is changing, and with that also the COP process must change. 

“Now it's important to also bring the real economy into this, because it is the polluting sectors and the consumers of polluting fuels, if you like, that need to come together and solve this - together with the policy makers as well as the non-governmental organisations.”

The future of sustainability

In the immediate future, Wolff-Bye will be attending BizClik Media’s Sustainability Live 23rd - 24th February and she has a message for her colleagues. 

“Sustainability challenges around climate change, nature loss, and inequality have been on a slow burner for a long, long time. But now they have become existential to business success.” 

If companies across the world don't manage to address these issues with gusto, the fabric of society really will be stretched. PETRONAS will do its own bit for that not to happen.

Read the full story HERE.

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