Boyd Cohen, Ph.D. CO2 IMPACT
Despite the weak regulatory environment at the federal level in both the U.S. and Canada, there is growing demand for helping executives understand how to mitigate climate change at a profit. This demand comes from local regulation, such as California’s cap and trade program and Ontario’s regulation phasing out coal-fired power plants, and other drivers such as the desire to increase efficiencies or the need to meet increasingly stringent supplier requirements, such as those from Walmart.
This week I’d like to look at companies offering strategic consulting services to assist companies identify climate capitalism opportunities. I used a range of sources for this research including: this research from Verdantix, other related articles, and direct email and phone conversations with some of the top contenders. Also I relied on my own experience working the past few years in the carbon markets to provide some guidance.
This top 10 list is based on a few criteria such as a focus on climate strategy and the years of experience the consulting firm has with the provisioning of strategic management services in the area of climate change. I also looked for thought leadership in the space. Hopefully this list helps aspiring climate capitalist job seekers to identify potential employers, and also provides some guidance to corporations seeking climate strategy guidance. (The list is in alphabetical order as I was not able to truly distinguish amongst these leaders)
1.) AT Kearney. Like McKinsey & Company, AT Kearney has a long track record of success in business and strategy consulting. In fact, their predecessor was founded in 1926, the same year as McKinsey (below). AT Kearney, in recent years, has begun to move into the environment and climate change arena. Their sustainability group offers sustainability strategy, product and service optimization and sustainable supply chain consulting. AT Kearney of course is active in thought leadership in the areas of sustainability and climate change strategy and practice.
2.) Blue Skye is a niche sustainability strategy consultancy that deserves to be mentioned here. While only founded in the past 10 years (2003), they have quickly built a name for themselves by providing quality sustainability consulting. In their own words, Blue Skye uses “the lens of sustainability to create new, innovative, wealth-creating strategies. We reframe, restage, and reshape “corporate, social, and environmental responsibility” to be an opportunity, not an obligation.” Turning environmental and climate change challenges into business opportunities is what this whole series in Triple Pundit is about.
3.) ICF International does not have the same ubiquitous brand recognition that companies like AT Kearney and McKinsey have but it definitely has an impressive track record in climate change consulting. Their climate group: “helps public- and private-sector clients worldwide develop climate change policy, interpret and comply with regulations, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, evaluate risks, and identify opportunities.” Carbon Finance Magazine has rated ICF the Best Carbon Advisory/Consultancy five years in a row.
4.) McKinsey & Company Consulting. When it comes to strategic management consulting services of any type, it is hard to argue with McKinsey. McKinsey was founded in 1926 and has regularly been at the top of the rankings for strategic consulting work. This gives them an advantage when they decide to apply their expertise to emerging fields like climate change. Their sustainability group is quite active in thought leadership and consulting in areas such as carbon management, the economics of climate change and water issues associated with climate change.
5.) PwC, formerly known as Price Waterhouse Coopers, like McKenzie and AT Kearney has a long track record of strategic and business consultancy expertise dating back to the founding of its predecessors in the 1800’s. Their Global Sustainability practice has over 700 sustainability and climate change consultants and has “been advising policy makers and business on climate change since 1997, helping them to analyse issues and develop practical solutions to the challenges they face.”
6.) SustainAbility. Like Blue Skye, SustainAbility is a niche sustainability consultancy with a strong focus on strategy and an emerging practice in climate change. Their climate change strategy practice focuses on “Developing strategic responses to the risks and opportunities posed by climate change.” Recent clients in this arena include Shell and Ford Motor Company.
Trillions of dollars will be spent in the next decade on low carbon solutions across every sector of the economy. With that kind of money on the line, you can bet that there will be a growth in demand for consultants who can read a balance sheet, articulate a business case, and understand technology trends, regulation and other drivers associated with the transition to the low carbon economy. If you are looking for a job like this or a company that excels in this area to provide consulting to your business, these top 10, and many others are a good place to start your search.
Please provide additional suggestions for other consultancies that deserve top honor in the comments section.
Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of the forthcoming book, Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.
This series will use the hashtag #climatcaptlsm