Sustainable Consulting Practices and How They Can Catalyze Global Sustainability

Thomas Comer, Patrick Kaminski


We are studying how sustainability efforts and offerings are being built into the business consulting industry.

Given the increasing importance of climate change concerns to businesses around the world, the field of sustainability as it relates to business consulting has the potential to produce many work opportunities, go-to-market offerings, and ways for consulting firms to expand their reach.

Our paper’s structure will follow the history of sustainability in business and how the field applies to the breadth of the consulting industry before getting into our research and findings.  We will interview consultants involved in ongoing sustainability engagements, as well as members of consulting firms involved in internal projects that hope to build and reaffirm the impact of sustainability initiatives and campaigns. A methodology will be formed to develop a protocol to follow during each of these interviews.  Follow up questions and discussion will attempt to dive deeper into whether consulting firms are the ones pushing sustainability offerings or if it is a client-driven conversation.  

Depending on the outcomes of these questions, we will be able to get a better picture of where sustainability as an area of focus stands within the consulting industry.  Through our research, we plan to build a research paper that portrays an example of how (a) firm(s) currently incorporates sustainability into their organizational structure, whether clients are driving the discussion, the depth of initiatives for those clients already considering sustainability efforts, types of sustainability-focused client solutions, and a comparison of sustainability campaigns across consulting firms.  After conducting our research, we will be able to develop a model for engaging in sustainability-focused discussions with clients.  We will then create a use case for incorporating such an approach.  This will explore different scenarios related to client interest in sustainable initiatives and incorporate relevant research to help drive the discussion towards sustainability.