12 September 2019

Pinsent Masons first to sign diversity pledge

Firm signs gender balance pledge for energy sector as chair of pledge body says industry lacks urgency in dealing with diversity.

Pinsent Masons has announced it is the first law firm to sign up the initiative known as the "AXIS pledge," which will provide a behavioural charter and see a gender balance commitment formalised in writing by the directors of organisations within the Energy Sector.

AXIS signatories

The pledge has been developed by the AXIS committee, a group seeking to achieve gender parity across the Aberdeen Energy sector. Early signatories include a number of operating and service companies, including Aker Solutions, Atkins, Bilfinger, CNOOC, CNR International, EnQuest, The OGTC, Pinsent Masons, Repsol Sinopec, Shell, Spirit Energy, Stork, Subsea 7, TechnipFMC, Total, Wood and Worley. Other companies operating in the area are encouraged to sign up, and demonstrate their meaningful commitment to achieving gender balance. The pledge asks signatory companies to analyse and understand any gender imbalance in their organisation, develop and follow a strategic plan to close this gap, incorporating suitable aspirational targets, and to communicate on progress with staff. The AXIS pledge is the first of its kind for the UK energy sector, and the AXIS Network will play a pivotal role in holding companies accountable to their commitments to create inclusive workplaces, where women and men can equally thrive.

Lack of urgency

David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and partner at Pinsent Masons says of the pledge, “Diverse and inclusive workforces all bring new skills, knowledge and creativity to businesses so they can become stronger and more resilient. In an industry that has typically struggled, this scheme is a significant step forward for the oil and gas sector to change the status quo and to deliver a more varied workforce. This is imperative to support the sector's huge transition to a net zero economy.” AXIS chair Karen Blanc says, “While the business case for more gender balanced teams is now well understood, the current pace of change to create work environments in which all humans can thrive lacks urgency. We will hold the pledge signatories accountable on their commitment and progress, encourage them to share with others on their progress, and seek to create a supportive and collaborative environment, to really up the pace on the shift towards a fully inclusive work environment in the area.”