2020 Annual Report

Richard Houston

Senior Partner and CEO, Deloitte UK and Deloitte North and South Europe


It’s definitely not been the year I’d quite expected... in fact it’s been pretty extraordinary.

It feels sometimes like I’ve had three years’ of CEO experience condensed into six months. But I’m a natural optimist. And I’m a big believer in people and our business, and our ability to rise to the occasion. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. That ability to combine skills and experience to solve difficult problem has really been the highlight in the last six months.

Quite frankly, we’ve had to completely change our ways of working. We’ve moved 20,000 people to work remotely and we’ve been thinking about the business that we want to be. How do we change our business at this period of uncertainty for the better?

That means adopting new technologies to help collaboration and engagement with our people and our clients. But it’s also about simplifying and transforming our business, all focused on how we can make a greater positive impact.

Our clients have been navigating uncertainty and difficulties in the market. They’ve been focused on accelerating their adoption of technologies, rethinking how they work but also looking more broadly at their role in society and responsible business. We’ve been doing exactly the same in our own business.

The role of business in our society has never been more relevant. In the last six months we’ve been able to support society in new ways, reaching our target of helping one million people through education and employment.

Now we’re looking to do more to build skills and create brighter futures. Our new WorldClass commitment means we’ll help another five million people by 2030.

The impacts of COVID-19 have placed a greater focus on responsible business. The decisions companies make now will be remembered by employees, customers and the wider market for years to come.

We have an opportunity to build trust and lift confidence in the economy. But to do that, we need to focus on people and the planet, not just profit.

I think we’re at a critical moment in the UK. If you look beyond COVID-19 we have a huge amount of uncertainty and change. But in the last year we’ve shown that business can contribute to some of the biggest challenges across the UK.

The importance of business and government working together has never been more critical. We at Deloitte are committed to playing a leading role in that change: restoring trust in business, driving more inclusive growth, and enhancing skills, education and inclusion for all across the UK.

A personal thank you from me to our people and our clients for supporting our firm - enabling us to achieve remarkable things to support the nation at its time of greatest need. Thank you all.

The role of hydrogen

The UK will need to replace all fossil fuel energy sources to meet the net zero target by 2050. Hydrogen can help reduce carbon emissions across a number of sectors.

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Hydrogen pathways

A number of pathways have been suggested for the UK to meet its net zero target and hydrogen plays an important role in each. However, it is uncertain how much hydrogen will be required and in which sectors it will be deployed.

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The cost of hydrogen

Building a hydrogen economy will require substantial and targeted investment. The chapter sets out the findings of our bespoke model that shows the levelised cost of hydrogen in each segment of the hydrogen value chain – production, conversion, storage and transport. The model also helps estimate the investment needed for production technologies and highlights the need for minimising the cost of production, conversion and transport to improve hydrogen’s commercial competitiveness.

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Making hydrogen more attractive to investors

Considering the size of the challenge and the urgency to make decisions, investors need to be confident that there will be demand for low carbon or carbon-free hydrogen and that they will see a good return on their investments. Therefore, there is a pressing need for targeted policy interventions that are summarised in the final chapter of the report.

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