29% of Sustainability Consulting Firms Offer Carbon and Renewable Energy Services


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:

Check out our past blogs to follow the “State of the Sustainability Consulting Industry” series:

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.

Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Report Launch

Recently, Strategic Sustainability Consulting got the opportunity to attend yet another highly informative 2degrees webinar with timely updates from the world of sustainability. This time around the session, “Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain Report Launch,” was hosted by Dexter Galvin, the Head of CDP Supply Chain.

Galvin opened the session explaining, “We found [the CDP] over a decade ago to accelerate solutions to climate change by putting relevant data at the heart of business policy and investment decisions.” Since their humble beginnings, the CDP now works with 655 institutional investors holding US$78 trillion in assets to help reveal the risk in their investment portfolios and has some 50 purchasing organizations such as Dell, PepsiCo, and Walmart using the global CDP system to mitigate environmental risk in their supply chains.

As Galvin handed the session over to Aditya Sharma, of Accenture Sustainability Services, Sharma proceeded to reveal some intriguing correlations made from this year’s CDP report. He found that:

  • This year’s data proved that companies are not only making the business case but utilizing green benefits.
  • Members are not only doubling in their investments, but in financial savings as well.
  • A gap is beginning to form in the communication taking place between member companies and their suppliers. Those companies that capitalize on their clear lines of communication can statistically prove that indeed greening your whole supply chain makes a monumental impact!
  • Business leaders are also realizing that they can stay on top of the competition through brand improvement and through innovation in the revenue stream.

The webinar also reviewed how leading companies are using the CDP Supply Chain report to assess suppliers on their maturity and action on climate change; FirstCarbon Solutions 2012 CDP Supply Chain scoring trends; and BT Group and Jaguar Land Rover's experiences of engaging their suppliers on climate change and sustainability. Learn more by checking out the complete webinar recording here!