Gone are the days when philanthropists or a subset of the population took issue with environmental, social, and governance issues. Today almost every facet of the global economy is geared towards sustainability. Similarly, the sustainability consulting industry is enjoying tremendous growth, helping by the proliferation of sustainable consulting firms spearheading the new investing mode.
Sustainable Consulting Industry Evolution
Investing for a cause is becoming increasingly popular as investors seek to positively impact the environment and the human race in addition to pursuing market-rate returns. The emergence of sustainability consultants such as The Altruist League offering the much-needed insight and data has continued to enhance sustainable investing.
Sustainable business consulting was a very niche field a decade ago, represented by a small firm group. As early as 2013, about 250 sustainability consulting firms in the US, with most of them employing less than 15 employees.
Fast forward, things have changed as people and businesses have become more conscious about environmental, social, and governance issues. Growth in the sustainability consulting industry has resulted in the emergence of sustainable consulting firms, with major management consulting firms starting to offer sustainable investing consulting services.
Hedge Funds ESG investing has become a key driver of the segment as institutional investors look for ways to gain sustainable investing exposure. While the sustainable consulting firm did not have much scope to impact changes around ESG issues, it is slowly changing.
“Many sustainability consultants’ leaders are advisors to CEOs of some of the biggest companies in the world. Likewise, they are increasingly exerting pressure on the executives and management on the direction that corporations should follow concerning sustainable inversing,” said, Ekaterina Chernova, The Altruist League’s Managing partner.
While sustainability consultants boast strong persuading skills and innovative frameworks for encouraging sustainable investing, they are not the only ones fuelling growth in the broader industry.
Millennials are playing a big role in fuelling the growth being experienced around sustainable investing. A good number of young investors want to see their investments helping alleviate some of the issues that have clobbered the human race and environment, in addition to pursuing returns as part of their investment thesis.
Likewise, sustainability consultants increasingly provide the much-needed insight that helps investors direct most of their capital towards sustainable investments. Data availability has also made it possible for people to compare sustainable returns with traditional investments, conversely, invest in projects and products that meet desired risk-reward profiles.
Consolidation is becoming the new norm in the ever-evolving industry. Mergers and acquisitions have come into play as sustainability consulting firms have sought to expand and strengthen their competitive edge in the race for investor capital.
Deloitte, a major consulting firm, has acquired several sustainable business consulting firms as it seeks to expand its footprint into specific areas around sustainability. BCG, on its part, inked a strategic partnership with MIT Sloan Management as part of the consolidation spree.
Spending around sustainable investing services is also on the rise. Sustainability investing company has spent about $877 million in management consulting advice targeting areas of energy efficiency sustainability, risk assessment, and sustainability strategies.
Expectations are high that investments towards sustainability consulting services are poised to edge higher given the expected capital influx. Sustainability consultants are increasingly bracing themselves for an influx of investors looking for sustainable investments.
Fight for talent is also emerging as a big trend as the sustainability consulting industry continues to expand.
“The fight for talent and expertise to gain a competitive edge is one that will shape consulting firms for many years to come as the industry expands, says, Milos Maricic, The Altruist League’s President.
In the struggle for big talent, sustainable investing companies will have to spend huge chunks of money to attract the best that the industry offers. Similarly, sustainable business consulting firms will have to align their actions with values that most of the personnel want to attract the best talent.
Virtually non-existent 15 years ago, the sustainability consulting industry was set to enjoy robust growth and become a sizeable segment of the larger consulting industry. Market research firm Verdantix estimates that the industry’s revenues could top record highs of $1 billion over the next few years.