Monday, August 25, 2008

Emerging Careers in Sustainability Consulting

Read an interesting overview of the career opportunities in sustainability consulting; both in traditional management consulting as well as with new boutique consulting firms (article on Triple Pundit). I think the E&C consulting industry is also a viable source of career opportunities as well.

(note: I posted a column on this market trend in the spring; CNET published an article on "Green is the new opportunity in consulting").

Both management consulting and engineering services firms (or engineering & construction firms; 'E&C's) are investing in sustainability practices. Management firms are building practices in environmental risk management, sustainability strategy (including organizational design, change management, as well as process design) and carbon management strategy.

The global E&Cs, such as Bechtel, CH2M, URS Corp, have some type of 'sustainability' practice. In many cases, this service offering is focused more on CSR reporting and strategy development; both growing segments.

I work with the global E&Cs as part of my practice, and I believe the bigger opportunity for 'talent' to enter this field is to focus on specific segments such as: buildings / facilities, energy development, water, transportation, and environmental. 'Sustainability' is being incorporated into many of these markets; with most of the interest coming from clients who want to manage their energy costs, minimize use (and costs) associated with resources such as building materials and water; and also manage environmental risks associated with past and current practices.

I actually think there is more potential for professionals who focus on these specific market opportunities in the short term, as industries such as process mfg, discrete mfg, energy development, retail, and real estate, for examples, are all turning to E&Cs for solution development and deployment.

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