Sustainability Consulting in Businesses Today
Sustainability Consulting has become an increasingly popular option in recent years as businesses and municipalities face evolving challenges in the regulatory environment and in maintaining a good public image. Consultants bring their specialty knowledge and experience to firms to provide both short-term solutions and long-term guidance. Although consulting is often the most expensive solution, some firms just don’t have the in-house resources to navigate increasingly complicated regulations by themselves. We’ll consider the advantages and disadvantages of sustainability consulting, and compare them with the advantages of utilizing an in-house team.
Advantages of Sustainability Consulting
There are a number of advantages to hiring a consultant for any area of business expertise, and sustainability-related fields are no different. As the regulatory environment becomes increasingly difficult to navigate, businesses are turning to sustainability consulting to solve immediate problems and to develop long-term strategies. Here are some of the advantages of hiring sustainability consultants:
Consultants are not directly tied to the firm that they consult for, and will generally be unattached to the daily operations and ingrained habits that may exist within the firm. As a result, they are likely to provide advice free of any bias. This is crucial for ensuring that any decision-making is not affected by existing preferences or ease of the moment.
Consultants usually possess a high degree of field expertise, often specializing in very narrow and specific skills. This is especially true in industries with heavy and complicated regulation, where a consultant’s expertise can save a firm from costly legal trouble.
Although a consultant’s fees can be high, they are generally agreed to before they get to work. This means no surprise costs, and the worth of the work can be judged very quickly.
Advantages of In-House Sustainability Team
Although sustainability consulting is an attractive option, many firms opt instead to develop an in-house team to tackle sustainability-related issues – oftentimes forming a dedicated green team (check out our guide for forming a green team). Here are some advantages of going with an in-house team instead of consultants:
Consultants often service a number of clients in any given week, and your needs might not be at the top of their to-do list. Having a dedicated team in-house allows you to deal with urgent problems right away.
Consultants are generally more expensive than employees. A consultant’s fee is not a guarantee of success, and the high price is often more than many firms can afford.
Third Option: Green Business Bureau Certification
Most businesses have the resources and ability to solve most sustainability problems without the use of a consultant, but they don’t know where to start. The Green Business Bureau Certification provides that critical guidance, and establishes your firm as a proactive leader in meeting the unique multidimensional challenges of business in the 21st century. Check out this guide we wrote on choosing the right green certification.