In part 1 of our energy transition series, Dr. Atul Arya, Chief Energy Strategist of S&P Global, said, "Energy companies are really good at putting steel in the ground and building stuff." In his mind, they must be part of the solution to create a low-carbon economy. So, in part 2, Brown Advisory's Erika Pagel explores the role of traditional energy companies with Allyson Book, the Chief Sustainability Officer of Baker Hughes, an engineering and technology provider that works with many of the largest global traditional oil and gas companies. How are the companies that built their businesses on fossil fuels facilitating a transition to a more sustainable, lower-carbon future?

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Episode Introduction

As I record this, the deadliest hurricane in almost 100 years has devasted the state of Florida – wreaking havoc on millions of lives, causing more than 100 deaths, and costing billions in damages. We can’t say if Hurricane Ian was a direct result of climate change, but as investors, we do know that climate risk is real.

To mitigate the risks and address the challenges posed by climate change, we have seen a massive acceleration of investment into renewable energy solutions. In this NOW podcast series, we are exploring that energy transition – from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy solutions.

I’m Erika Pagel. I’m the Chief Investment Officer for Sustainable Investing and a portfolio manager at Brown Advisory. In our last episode, I talked with Dr. Atul Arya, the Chief Energy Strategist at S&P Global – who believes that traditional energy companies are important players in driving the transition to a lower carbon economy. As he says, they know how to build things, to construct infrastructure at scale – as he says, “to put steel in the ground.”

I wanted to understand how traditional energy companies – that were built on the foundation of fossil fuels – are thinking about their future in a lower carbon economy. So I called up Allyson Book, the Chief Sustainability Officer of Baker Hughes, a forward-thinking engineering and technology provider that works with many of the largest global traditional oil and gas companies. As you’ll hear, Allyson is passionate about science and about the role that scientists can play in striving toward a net zero world.

I wanted to start by asking Allyson about what is was like when she entered the energy industry at Exxon Mobil and whether energy transition was discussed at the time.


Atul Arya

Allyson Book

Chief Sustainability Officer, Baker Hughes

Allyson Anderson Book is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Baker Hughes. In this role she oversees Baker Hughes’ energy-transition strategy by driving sustainable operations, supporting commercial energy transition solutions for customers and ensuring market creation of these solutions via stakeholder engagement and policy development. In 2021 alone, she was recognized by Petroleum Economist as among Top 10 Women Leading Energy Transition in Sustainability, by Oil & Gas Investor as among 25 Influential Women in Energy, and by Hart Energy for its ESG Champion of Year Award. Before joining Baker Hughes she served as the executive director of the American Geosciences Institute, which represents more than 250,000 geoscientists and focuses on increasing public awareness of the role geosciences play in society’s use of resources. Prior to that, she held a number of academic, policy and senior government positions, including teaching at Georgetown University, working for the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and serving as the associate director of strategic engagement of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) at the U.S. Department of the Interior. She began her career as a geoscientist for ExxonMobil. She holds bachelor’s degrees in geology and music from the University of Northern Iowa, and a master’s degree in geology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.




Erika Pagel

Erika Pagel

CIO of Sustainable Investing; Portfolio Manager, Brown Advisory

Erika is a partner, a member of the Executive Team, and serves as a portfolio manager and as the co-chief investment officer of private client, endowments and foundations. Erika has worked in the investment management industry since 1996. Prior to Brown Advisory, she was an investment advisor at Silver Bridge Advisors. Erika started her career at MFS Investment Management before working in sell-side Equity Research for eight years following large cap pharmaceuticals, household products, consumer and retail sectors at Schroder & Co and then UBS Investment Bank. More recently, she was an analyst following consumer and retail companies at a hedge fund, Balyasny Asset Management. For more than 12 years, Erika’s has been researching investment options for sustainable investment managers and helping clients build portfolios that are aligned with their goals. 



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