CGG’s Environmental Science group is developing a growing portfolio of solutions that provide data analytics-driven intelligence to mitigate environmental risk and help achieve net-zero targets. The team has a wealth of expertise spanning climate, biodiversity, marine ecosystems, natural capital, nature-based solutions and more.
In 2021, after working for over a decade in investment banking, Rabia Shah changed career direction and joined CGG’s Environmental Science team. We spoke to Rabia about her career switch, current role and relevant transferable skills for the environmental sector.
What made you move from investment banking into environmental science?
After completing my BSc in economics and political science, I worked in financial securities (credit derivatives, bonds and equities, etc.) for several years. I then moved into commodities which opened the door to mining and understanding natural resources and made me want to delve deeper and put it all together with the numbers. This led me to embark on my data science journey with an MSc in data science. After graduating, I was offered the position as an environmental data engineer in CGG’s Environmental Science team.
What does your role involve?
In simple terms, we create and add value to all kinds of environmental data, such as distribution of protected areas, priority habitats, surface water, climate patterns and biodiversity across the land, ocean and atmosphere. The aim is to give various stakeholders the critical insight they need to understand, monitor and quantify changes in ecosystems and the environment and, ultimately, make better decisions. An area of obvious special interest to me is the intelligence we can provide to any interested party wanting to invest in climate finance initiatives, such as climate data for assessing windfarm sites or biodiversity data for potential marine renewable energy projects.
What is climate finance and how does it fit into CGG’s Environmental Science offering?
By climate finance we mean the various financial programs and instruments designed to raise funds to tackle the adversities of climate change and build for a more resilient and cleaner future. Enhancing adaptation and increasing resilience are its two priorities and these may include outlining the financial requirements, or risk, to adapt current infrastructure and establish methods of resilience against the extreme impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events.
Our team work to combine CGG’s very powerful HPC and machine learning capabilities with decades of geoscience and data science expertise to create a unique suite of tools that deliver insight to help interested parties gain a better understanding of how and where to fund ‘green’ projects that will deliver that adaptation and resilience. These necessary tools support the transitions needed by clients to address climate change and achieve their net-zero ambitions with far-reaching benefits.
Also, for CGG, by developing expertise and knowledge to help identify opportunities for green investments we can enhance our knowledge of the different sectors and businesses that will benefit from the new energy transition products and services we are building.
What commitment is needed to mitigate the effects of climate change in the future?
There has to be a structure as the foundation of everything we do to meet this challenge, so we need to get the big pillars rooted in place. Having blue-chip financial institutions and political leaders on board cements the commitment. We need the big players to pave the way, not only to set the standards but also create and accelerate different types of opportunities for everyone to get involved in climate finance, from companies of all sizes and industries to individual employees and citizens wanting to invest in a green savings account, for example.
How positive are you that humankind will overcome the challenge of climate change?
We all share the same concerns and the same goal. Unity is what brings out the best in people, so why not use that to make a difference and come together to turn things around for our planet? Climate change affects us all and the generations to come, so we need to work together.