We're continuing our journey through 13 different services offered by sustainability consultants, and today we're focusing on the #9 most popular type of offering:
9. Carbon and Renewable Energy (28.7%)
Minimizing, documenting or reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions; and advising on use, development or purchase of renewable energy.
The carbon and renewable energy space is complex, and is often considered an industry by itself. While some sustainability consulting firms offer these types of services, they tend to be linked more closely to carbon accounting (e.g. helping a client calculate its carbon footprint, or prepare a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Report) than the more sophisticated services like carbon modeling, renewable energy project design and implementation, carbon offset project validation, or offset trading. With the rumor mill constantly buzzing about upcoming federal and state legislation in the carbon and renewable energy space, many consultants also provide services to monitor pertinent legislation and help clients predict and respond to new regulation.
Note: companies that offer carbon and renewable energy services will often offer a related software products to help clients manage the data collection and interpretation challenges associated with the issue. However, we believe it is important to distinguish between service providers (e.g. those consultants that help clients design renewable energy projects) and product developers (e.g. companies that mainly focus on developing an IT solution, with a little consulting on the side).
Many of the firms in our "state of the industry" review focus specifically on carbon and renewable energy and offer sustainability strategy consulting as an added service, not a principal focus. Due to the complexity of the carbon and renewable energy sector, it is a good idea for clients to seek out a firm with a dedicated focus in this space over one that claims to cover a number of sectors.
Common Jargon and Terminology: Carbon Accounting, Renewable Energy Project Development, REC Marketing, Carbon/Renewable Energy Policy Management, etc.Where You’ve Seen It: Sustainable Business Consulting’s work with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and other clients on the Carbon Disclosure Project. Sustainable Business Design Consulting offers a class on “Reducing The Carbon Footprint of Your Business.”
See the other types of sustainability consulting we've already covered:
- #1: Strategic Planning and Implementation
- #2: Training/Education
- #3: Marketing/Communication
- #4: Sustainability Reporting
- #5: Stakeholder Engagement
- #6: Benchmarking and Competitive Analysis
- #7: Built Environment Consulting
- #8: Energy Auditing and Operational Efficiency
- What Sustainability Consulting Is (and Isn’t),
- Types of Sustainability Consulting Organizations,
- By the Numbers: U.S. Sustainability Consulting Market,
- and State of the Sustainability Consulting Industry to learn more about the background for these findings
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.