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Why sustainability software helps consultants scale

July 26, 2022
Article

How climate tech platforms help consultancies like Summit Strategy Group service more clients and save money.

Businesses large and small have awakened to the outsized harm they cause the planet. As part of that awakening, they realize they need to do something—and fast. They often turn to sustainability consultancies for guidance. But where do the sustainability consultancies turn? They look to sustainability management software solutions to help them scale their sustainability programs.

And sustainability consultancies big and small have cropped up to meet the growing demand. Research firm, Verdantix “projects a 17% annual growth rate in ESG and sustainability consulting spending in the next five years.” And if you need another proof point, go to any big management consulting or professional services firm’s website—Capgemini, EY, Accenture, McKinsey, to name a few—all have dedicated sustainability and ESG offerings.

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“When I started sustainability consulting over 15 years ago, it was a cottage industry,” says Sustain.Life director of business development, Rob Howe. “It was truly a different, niche landscape, partly because the tools for sustainability reporting at our disposal were few and far between.”

Both one-person sustainability consulting services and big management consultancies that service Fortune 500 clients need sustainability software and climate tech solutions to help clients with their decarbonization initiatives. Without these tools, sustainability consultancies won’t be able to scale their solutions to meet client challenges brought on by the climate change.

What is sustainability software?

Collectively, pressure from legislation, customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders have created a need for climate tech solutions.

Before now—we’re talking the last five years or so—unless businesses had significant resources to dedicate to sustainable program management and GHG emissions tracking, managing their carbon footprint was a pipe dream. That’s what sustainability software unlocks. Now companies can track and benchmark their business emissions—from things like purchased electricity, business travel, office equipment, supply chain, and the distribution of products. Previously, it had to be done in cumbersome and complex spreadsheets while simultaneously performing difficult carbon calculations.

A good sustainability software typically includes an array of functionality and dashboards, data collection tools, and data management systems for environmental metrics, which translate your operations into environmental impact and ESG performance.

Sustainability software is complementary, not competitive for consultants

California-based consulting firm, Summit Strategy Group specializes in corporate reputation and ESG consulting services. It started working with Sustain.Life because it recognized tech’s ability to help service more clients and make sense of their data.

“We chose Sustain.Life because the technology complements our practice. Their tech and sustainability expertise has helped us streamline the process of collecting and analyzing complex data, which saves us time and money,” says Derek Young, managing director of ESG consulting services at Summit Strategy Group. “Sustain.Life offers powerful measurement tools, customization capabilities unique to this space, and customer service that is absolutely outstanding. We are thrilled to be a user of Sustain.Life and a partner.”

What are some benefits of sustainability software for consultants?

Third-party validation

Keeping up with changing emissions factors, ESG reporting and regulatory frameworks, and standards is difficult, especially for small firms. And doing it all in complicated pivot tables and spreadsheets can be risky—you can fat-finger one number and invalidate an important emissions factor.

As consultancies grow and need to pull in data from clients with locations outside of the U.S., Sustain.Life helps them scale with emissions factors that represent over 225 countries and territories.

Summit Strategy Group prioritized working with someone that could bring a level of sophistication and validation to their data.

“We get the peace of mind that our client emissions data is validated by a third-party tool like Sustain.Life. It brings integrity to the process—they are up to date on the latest available emission factors. We get to focus on the outputs, not the equations,” says Young.

Data in one place

Having the complete picture of a client’s environmental data in a single platform is also incredibly valuable—it saves time and money. Consultants can upload years of emissions data—plus additional documentation, notes, and customizable tags—for each client’s buildings, vehicles, people, products, waste, water, and more and Sustain.Life automatically calculates scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Progress sharing

When clients hire a consultant, they don’t want to feel like they have to handle another piece of software. That’s why Sustain.Life was built to help consultants manage the end-to-end process and streamline what they share with clients. Consultants can give their clients access to the parts of the tool that matter to them—for example, reports—without burdening them with the rest.

Learn how Sustain.Life’s tech-enabled sustainability platform can help you track sustainability performance, optimize client management, and grow your sustainability consultancy.

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The takeaway

Over the next five years, ESG and sustainability consulting spending is expected to grow by 17%. That means more companies are looking to reduce their emissions and stay ahead of regulations. To scale and meet the demand, sustainability consultants need reliable sustainability software solutions.