Consultancies boost European sustainability capabilities

rom Accenture to BDO, leading global consultancies step up investments and acquisitions to strengthen sustainability capabilities for European clients

Organisations are increasingly pursuing more sustainable business models and improving their performance in ESG, as increased regulation and stakeholder pressure mounts.

This is especially true since COP26, with more and more companies in Europe accelerating their sustainability transformation, while evolving energy and supply chain pressures have only upped the ante.

This means businesses are turning to professional services firms for guidance and support, with demand for ESG consulting services surging in the past year. And this is only expected to grow, with the global environmental consulting services market size expected to grow from US$56.39bn in 2021 to US$63.03bn in 2022 at a CAGR of 11.8%, according to TBRC’s report.

And to meet such demand, the professional services firms are responding, upping investments and making acquisitions in the strengthening of their sustainability capabilities, as they look to help clients navigate the transformation and ultimately deliver on their sustainability goals.

Here, we highlight the latest acquisitions and investments in sustainability by consultancies to support organisations in Europe.  

Accenture leads with huge acquisition campaign

Accenture, which is on a huge acquisition campaign to ramp up its Sustainability Services and ESG capabilities, recently announced its acquisition of Germany-based akzente, a recognised sustainability consultancy that helps firms build sustainability into the core of their businesses.

Akzente’s team of more than 60 professionals and three decades of deep consulting expertise via all facets of sustainability brings to the Accenture table extensive knowledge in strategy, reporting, communication, and stakeholder management.

This acquisition is the latest move by Accenture to underscore its commitment to scaling its sustainability services and deepening its knowledge and experience, and follows acquisitions last month of Avieco in the UK and Greenfish in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Having already played a central role in helping businesses in the UK and Ireland to create a sustainable, low-carbon economy and society, leading UK sustainability consultancy Avieco brings to Accenture 60 professionals with extensive knowledge in ESG measurement and reporting, net-zero strategy and regulation, and real-time data analytics and expertise in consulting across industries including retail and consumer goods, financial services, technology and media.

While the acquisition of Brussels-based Greenfish, an independent engineering and advisory company specialising in sustainability consultancy, further enhances Accenture’s deep experience in helping European clients improve their ESG performance.

According to Peter Lacy, Accenture’s global Sustainability Services leader, adding more than 270 deeply skilled professionals in the areas of low-carbon energy transitions, the circular economy, and ESG measurement will rapidly accelerate Accenture’s already-strong leadership both across Europe and within the critical markets of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Deloitte invests US$1bn in sustainability and climate service

Big Four firm Deloitte is also investing heavily in its environmental services, recently earmarking US$1bn for its Sustainability & Climate practice, to bring together advisory, assurance, audit, consulting, finance, and tax services from across its global entity. In doing so, Deloitte hopes to equip its 345,000 professionals and client network with the skillset and knowledge to further battle climate change.

BDO launches new Sustainability division

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO is also making serious moves to greener pastures, this month announcing the launch of BDO Sustainability, a new division that brings together the firm’s sustainability and ESG services and solutions from across its business to provide clients with an end-to-end offering.

The largest part of the new division’s work will be helping clients with their decarbonisation ambitions, from strategy to execution – developing net-zero plans, greening their supply chain, making procurement more sustainable, and reducing the CO2 footprint of their operations.

Leveraging the firm’s assurance expertise, BDO Sustainability will also help organisations with meeting the reporting and compliance demands from shareholders and regulators, while the firm’s tax advisors will support with fiscal and taxation matters. BDO’s dealmakers will help support clients with sustainability-focused deals, as well as closing investments in key sustainability segments, and the firm’s tech experts will further support clients with tools and IT solutions that can enable change.

BCG and SAP launch joint sustainability transformation offering

BCG and SAP are combining their expertise in strategy, technology and business model change to help companies overhaul their business strategy and cut carbon emissions.

This new offering, which includes three services to accelerate clients’ sustainability drives – Zero Emissions, Zero Waste and Sustainability Steering and Reporting – could allow clients to transform at an unprecedented rate, according to BCG Chief Executive Christoph Schweizer.

The partnership offers four key differentiators. It supplies a comprehensive, holistic offering, from sustainability strategy to technology solutions; provides enterprise-grade abilities cascading from strategy to information systems and embedded across the organisation. It also supplies the ability to quickly scale up digital solutions, with access to the full power of the SAP ecosystem, and gives an integrated package where BCG insights building SAP data, technologies, and processes. 

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