Do You Need An Environmental Consultant?

Paul Downing

So you are thinking of applying for an environmental permit or implementing a sustainability strategy, energy or environmental policy. Do you need an environmental consultant to help you or is it something you think you can do in house?

The current trend for minimising the outsourcing of services to external consultants also applies to environmental consultants. There are obvious benefits to be had by giving the job of developing an environmental management system or energy policy to someone who is already employed by the company. Cost is one obvious reason. However there are several reasons why you should consider outsourcing to an external environmental consultant even if the projects is very brief or of an interim nature.

Reasons For Using an Environmental Consultant

  1. It may be possible to expect a keen graduate or interested employee to help develop your environmental policy. However, do they really have experience in other fields and other examples they can draw from?
  2. An external consultant has probably come across your problem previously in another company and can help you quicker and more effectively.
  3. An external consultant probably has contacts in the Environment Agency they can call on
  4. Would an impartial pair of eyes in the form of an environmental consultant highlight working practices that an employee might overlook?
  5. Would an environmental consultant help to push through the changes necessary in your organisation in order to help your purchasing, design or training functions improve?
  6. Quite often an external consultant has more gravitas when making recommendations for change. Employees are familiar and seen on a daily basis.
  7. Your environmental consultant probably has years of business experience. They will probably be able to help align your policy requirements with your business requirements
  8. Would you ask one of your employees to sort out the accounts or manage the budget. Especially if they hadn’t got the appropriate expertise?

Cost Of Consultants

The cost of external environmental consultants will always be controversial. Unforseen costs any requests for funding are unlikely to to be welcomed at short notice by the finance director.

If you are considering implementing an environmental make sure you ask for ROI figures in the proposal. Ensure that any savings made by the policies and systems implemented are at least covering consultancy costs. When it comes to permits and legal compliance sometimes the minimum is needed rather than gold plating a job. Added value is something that applies to all bought in services and applies to an environmental consultant.

It may not always be possible if the issue is a legal compliance. However any consultant worth their salt will always have ROI/value in the back of their minds.

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