By the Numbers: U.S. Sustainability Consulting Market


As part of our ongoing series on the state of the sustainability consulting industry, we wanted to look at the size and scope of the marketplace:

Number of sustainability consulting firms: There are about 250 sustainability consulting firms in the US. This is a rough figure and is constantly changing with new firms coming to the marketplace and others leaving.

Locations: Figure 1, created using Google maps, portrays where sustainability consulting firms are located within the US. As one might surmise, the majority of the firms are located on the coasts, with a heavy concentration in the California and the Northeast. The city (area) with the most firms is San Francisco with 27, representing over 10% of the firms researched.

Size:  Average size trends may surprise those who aren’t familiar with the sustainability consulting industry. In May 2010 article on Triple Pundit, Amanda Crater the CEO of CraterCom says “With two factors at play—an economy trending toward freelancers and consultants and the heightened need for qualified specialists to carry out sustainability initiatives – a new consulting model is emerging using networks of consultants who team up on specific projects.”


The data from our analysis supports Crater’s statement. As seen in Figure 2, a staggering (30%) of firms are made up of only one person, and the vast majority of firms (88%) have 15 or fewer employees.

If you are a new or aspiring sustainability consultant and would like to take your practice to the next level, check out the 2013 Consultant Cohort : a 6-month intensive program hosted by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) and led by SSC President Jennifer Woofter.