Do You Need An Environmental Consultant?

Paul Downing

So you are thinking of 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 and energy 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.

  1. It may be possible to expect a keen graduate or interested employee to help develop your environmental policy but do they have experience in other fields and other examples they can draw from?
  2. Would an impartial pair of eyes in the form of an environmental consultant highlight working practices that an employee might overlook?
  3. 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?
  4. Quite often an external consultant has more gravitas when making recommendations for change, employees are familiar and seen on a daily basis.
  5. Your environmental consultant probably has years of business experience as well as environmental policy experience and will probably be able to help align your policy requirements with your business requirements
  6. Would you ask one of your employees to sort out the accounts or manage the budget if they hadn’t got the appropriate expertise?

The cost of external environmental consultants will always be controversial and unless these services are forseen and planned for in the budget any requests for funding are unlikely to to be welcomed at short notice by the finance director.

If you are considering implementing an environmental or energy policy and are toying with the idea of brining in an external environmental consultant, make sure you ask for ROI figures in the proposal to ensure that any savings made by the policies and systems implemented are at least covering consultancy costs. Added value is something that applies to all bought in services and applies to an environmental consultant just as it does to a cost reduction or IT consultant.

It may not always be possible if the issue is a legal compliance one but any consultant worth their salt will always have ROI/value in the back of their minds when hoping to win a new client.



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