What is climate consulting?
Climate change is a mammoth concern for governments, investors, organizations, civil society, and individuals. There have been unprecedented events like extreme weather events, severe heat waves in North America, flooding in Europe, unnatural rainfall in India and China, and pernicious wildfires across the world bear testament to the alarming nature of the problem. The repercussions ripple across physical, meteorological, and geopolitical landscapes. Climate science says there is an urgent need for resilient adaptive and mitigative policies, climate strategies, and long-term sustainable action for more stable global temperatures. In this context, climate consulting spans across a spectrum of industries to partner and advise stakeholders on sustainability, energy transition, environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) reforms from boardrooms to engine rooms.
The objectives of climate consulting
The objective is to trigger innovation, technology, low carbon products and services, awareness, and informed action for global transformation. Climate consulting branches into seven broad thematic areas: climate change, disasters, and conflicts, ecosystem management at macro and micro levels, environmental governance, chemicals and wastes, resource efficiency, reviewing environmental cues. Organizations across industries like agriculture, construction, science, and technology consult climate consultancies or independent professionals for authoritative environmental agenda aligned with sustainable development goals, and coherent implementation and investments in progressive climate action.
For geopolitical agreements, this means multilateral partnerships, conscious deliberation and discourse, and region-specific commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, organizational transformation in the post-carbon world goals includes industry sectors exploring green options, achieving a clear path to net zero, and developing more compelling environmental, social, and governance plans. The variables in the equation include business agenda, carbon emissions, financial health, capital investments, societal responsibility, and impact.
Who is a climate consultant?
Alternatively called Sustainability Professional, Environmental Professional, or Net-Zero Professional, a Climate Consultant is a qualified expert with the fundamental skills and expertise to assess, design, architect, and implement sustainability projects and monitor compliance according to regulatory policy. Just as management consultants do, climate consultants are hired by governmental bodies and organizations to scrutinize their operations, finances, projects to make them greener and more efficient. They also offer advice on sustainability and environmentally conscious procedures in their operations.
The rise of global temperatures has created a huge demand for climate consultants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for environmental scientists and specialists is likely to increase by 8% by 2029.
A climate professional helps both public and private sector clients address environmental issues that are directly related to their programs, businesses, and initiatives. They help navigate high-impact man-made disasters like flash floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, wildfires, tornados, and low-impact issues like water pollution, waste management, air quality, and soil contamination.
A climate consultant is expected to have comprehensive knowledge of environmental regulations and technical expertise and advise private industries or public institutions through their work, transactions, and projects. They may legally advise entities against disputes and investigations. Research and development is also part of the job – they may design, field, collect, and analyze surveys in this regard.
Areas of concern include environmental audits, legislative and legal concerns, developing viable conceptual models of green options, liaising with clients, inspectors, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders in the ecosystem, and so on. A climate professional may work full-time, part-time, on contract, with a consulting firm, or independently and offer services to private companies, all levels of the government, wildlife organizations, conservation groups, and civil society institutions.
Interestingly, there is also a graphics-based computer software program called Climate Consultant that is commercially available in the market today. It helps builders, architects, homeowners, and students understand their geographical climate. It deploys climate data from the US Department of Energy for energy stations across the world and translates the raw data into an insightful graphic representation. Moreover, it maps climate data, organizes, and displays the information comprehensibly on the impact of climate on these structures with the objective of creating energy-efficient, sustainable buildings in the context of their local climate.
Qualifications of a climate consultant
The entry qualification for a climate consultant is an honors degree in any of the following disciplines:
- Geology, ecology, and earth sciences
- Environmental engineering and management
- Urban planning
- Civil engineering
- Building and construction management
- Estate management
- Environmental science
- Business and management studies
A dissertation in the field of interest is likely to boost one’s profile. Internships during or after college can enhance the professional experience and industry knowledge of applicants. Likewise, one can apply for internships in environmental consulting research or job shadow other accomplished professionals in not-for-profit organizations, governmental agencies, or private firms.
Furthermore, a post-graduate degree or diplomas specializing in a niche and work experience of relevance are expected in applicants. One may obtain certifications in specific fields of practice.
Certifications in climate consulting
Popular certifications are those of the International Society of Sustainability (ISSP) and The Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) which include strategy and implementation across a range of functions, industries, and geographies. The former offers the Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) for entry-level and intermediate professionals and the Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP) for expert professionals. The ACCO offers the Certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P) for intermediate professionals and CCP Candidate Pilot Program for those making a transition into a career in climate change action.
Certifications in sustainability reporting
One may also acquire reporting certifications on the job through training programs in sustainability. The Task Force of Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has e-Learning courses on its knowledge hub platform. A few other formal certifications include.
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Professional Certification
- Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting Credential
- CDP Climate Change Survey Certification
- Integrated Reporting (IR) Fundamentals of Integrated Reporting Certificate
Certifications in Green Building Standards
Green building certifications are essential for professionals, designers, or architects in building, construction, retrofitting design. US Green Buiding Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is most popular. The program consists of expert knowledge in energy efficiency, water efficiency, CO2 emission optimization, air quality, and resource efficiency.
- LEED Green Associate is for entry-level applicants
- LEED AP for more seasoned professionals
Furthermore, the Green Globes rating system offers standardized norms for a spectrum of construction and building project types. Certifications include
- Green Globes Emerging Professional (GGEP) is for entry-level professionals
- Green Globes Professional (GGP) for professionals with at least five years of experience in the design and construction phases of green building
Building Standard Certifications
The Living Building Challenge is a meticulous green building and sustainable design certification which aims to achieve net-zero or net-positive levels of energy. Living Future Accreditation is one such certification. Similarly, the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) is another certification that focuses on advancing human health and efficiency and well-being across 10 crore concepts.
Certifications for Energy Engineers
The Association of Energy Engineers offers several certifications for energy management, sustainable development, and utility services for commercial, governmental, industrial, utility, and energy sectors. Namely, the Certified Energy Manager, Certified Business Energy Professional, Certified Procurement Professional, and so on.
Specialty certifications for a broad range of functions, industries, issues, and disciplines in sustainability are as follows.
- Certified Supply Chain Analyst by the InternationalSupply Chain Education Alliance
- Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certificate by the Global Association of Risk Professionals
- TRUE Advisor Certificate Program for zero-waste certification
- Circular Economy Pioneer Program by the EllenMacArthur Foundation
- Leading the Sustainability Transformation Professional Certification Program by GreenBiz Leadership Development
- Sustainability Event Professional Certificate by the Events Industry Council
- Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professional (LCACP) by the American Center of Life Cycle Assessment
- AWS Professional by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) for foundational, advanced, and specialist levels
- Chartered Environmentalist by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IMEA) based in the UK
- Certificate in ESG Investing by the CFA Institute
- Green Roof Professional (GRP) Accreditation by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
- City Climate Planner (CCP) Certificate Program by the World Bank
- Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
Roles and responsibilities of a climate consultant
- Reviewing environmental reports to make informed decisions
- Aiding clients to determine business needs
- Assisting clients to get environmental permits according to regulatory guidelines
- Touring workspaces, construction sites, energy sites, manufacturing plants to scrutinize working conditions and environmental factors
- Offering insights into available technologies
- Evaluating green options
- Advising best courses of action
- Carrying out secondary and field-based research and surveys
- Managing legislative issues
- Creating awareness of environmental and legislative concerns and innovation in the market
- Developing conceptual blueprints for new construction or reconstruction projects
- Interpreting data from software modeling
- Communicating agendas and objectives to multidisciplinary stakeholders
- Carrying out environmental impact assessments for development projects
- Create solutions to address negative environmental impacts of development
- Studies the impact of topographical, meteorological, and man-made factors like altitude, terrain, climatic change, sources of nutrition, predators, human activity and population, animal and plant life forms
- Analyzes the impact of pollution, atmospheric conditions, demographic characteristics, ecology, mineral, soil, and water life forms
- Designs business strategy and management policy for biological research in fish population, forests
- Develops standards for pollution control, rehabilitation of areas such as mining, timber felling, overgrazing, erosion, and so on
- Participates in management planning and organization with environmental information, making inventories of factors that are of ecological, cultural, and social significance
Skills of a climate consultant
Besides degrees and certifications in math, environmental economics, sustainability, and the like, a competent climate consultant will need the following skills:
- Technical and IT skills
- Analytical capabilities
- Observational field skills
- Proficient communication and soft skills
- Project management
- Sales and business development skills
- Presentation and pitch skills
- Commercial awareness and region-specific regulatory understanding
Use cases for Climate Consulting
Greenhouse gas (GHG) measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV)
Measuring, reporting, and verification are fundamental to Climate Consulting. Some of the key elements of the MRV framework laid by the UN are for national communications, biennial update reporting (BURs), domestic and domestically supported NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) activities, and so on. An MRV Climate Consultant would help navigate reporting of context, status, support received, technical analysis of BURs) and the like.
2. Net-Zero Consulting
Net-zero carbon emissions is a climate action objective that aims to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than what we emit each year. By cutting the intensity of emissions, organizations, industries, and countries aim to thrive in a low-carbon economy. Net-zero consulting involves measuring, monitoring, and transparently reporting GHG emissions, setting clear targets to reduce carbon footprint, neutralizing the remaining footprint, partnering with necessary stakeholders in the ecosystem, and innovating continually in the decarbonization transformation journey.
3. ESG Consulting
As part of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, many limited partners, investors, and policymakers are addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in their business cases and developmental projects. Today, ESG Consulting pervades how public and private stakeholders delight customers and citizens, differentiate them from the competition, gain market share, engage with employees, stakeholders, and partners, create the best work environments, cultivate an economic moat, and make sustainable profits.
4. Green Business Building Consultants
A green building is an energy-efficient/energy-positive in design, construction, and operations. Green business-building consulting focuses on working with startup incumbents and other businesses in their strategic vision, market assessments, sustainable product design, supply chain, manufacturing design, financing, and talent strategy. Consultants in this discipline are equipped with a volume of information and expertise in region-specific regulatory policy, latest technological advancements, climatic conditions, unique cultures and traditions, diverse building types and ages, and other environmental, economic, and social priorities.
5. Sustainable Investing
Over the course of the different phases of the Industrial Revolution, investors have had to reinvent themselves with rapid environmental degradation, systemic inequalities, and climate change. Investing in ESG-conscious efforts has evolved from traditional to responsible to sustainable to truly impactful. Sustainable Investing Consultants advise investors and LPs in environmental impact assessments, developing capabilities where gaps exist, integrating ESG in sourcing and investing processes, achieving sustainable excellence, crafting effective messaging, and propelling real impact in the market.
6. Climate Policy and Planning
There has been over a 20-fold increase in climate laws since 1997 leading to the development of industry standards, protocols, and frameworks for different geographical regions. This accounts for 164 countries which in turn account for 95% of global greenhouse gases. Policies include regulatory reforms, emissions trading and neutrality, public and private funding mechanisms, sectorial climate action for mitigation and adaptation, fewer exemptions, higher carbon prices, more support for energy efficiency, better prohibitions in land use, and so on. There are over 1,200 climate laws globally and Climate Policy and Planning Consultants help decipher, interpret, and appropriate the benefits, restrictions, timeframes, and guardrails of these laws in private and public contexts across the world.
7. Climate Risk Assessment
Assessing climate risks involve linking climate models to economic models to identify the extremes of climate change. These risks are too connected and complex to act cautiously. They increase regressively, manifest locally, are rigged to continue after net-zero because of the earth’s thermal inertia, and affect culture, socio-economics, physiological, psychological, and systemic issues further. Risk assessment roles for a Climate Consultant include understanding local demographic, sectoral, socio-economic, and environmental interdependencies, vulnerabilities, context, impact, past climatic events, future scenarios, changing trends, and priorities. Future strategies may further require monitoring, evaluation, course correction, and dynamic innovation to make up for the global unpreparedness against this massive problem.
8. Energy benchmarking and resource modeling
Benchmarking involves comparing the measured performance of a device, operational process, facility, unit, or organization to itself, its counterparts, and predefined norms to challenge, inform, and motivate energy efficiency. For a Climate Consultant, this means developing benchmarking plans, energy efficiency specifications, modeling plans of action for scalable projects, outreach and partnership building, data collection, quality assurance, and control, data verification, analyzing, interpreting, and communicating results.
9. Environmental justice and equity
Both the advantages of a clean environment and the repercussions of rising global temperatures are not equally shared in society. Climate equity aims to establish equitable access to resources and contoured adaptive and mitigative resilience mechanisms to fight thorough socio-economic injustices and systemic divides. Climate consulting in this area works with governments, the necessary voices, and stakeholders among various races, classes, ethnicities, and communities in the population.
10. Carbon trading platforms
Corporates, project managers, and brokers buy and sell carbon credits to achieve Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard, and United Nations CDM credits of different grades and levels. Platforms that facilitate exchange allow real-time transactions and transfers in cash or credit. A carbon trading consultant helps clients sign up for these programs, partner with meaningful agents, reach their carbon goals more efficiently.
Besides these primary services, a Climate Consultant can help with resilient infrastructure planning, transportation electrification, voluntary program design and implementation in sustainability, reshaping corporate, social, and environmental sustainability identifying opportunities, and developing practical solutions to challenges in climate.
Questions you should before you hire a climate consultant?
Here’s a list of key parameters that determine a climate consultant’s success in an organization. It is necessary to contour these questions based on your business context.
These skills are foundational to success. You can analyze their skills in consulting, compliance, awareness, impact assessment, management systems, policy, permits, sustainability, remediation, waste management, water and air quality, and so on.
You can improve your organization’s success rate by assessing the incumbent’s listening, communication, writing, presentation, and persuasion skills.
Get candidates to walk you through when they collaborated with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous-waste technicians, engineers, experts in the law and business to address business problems. Test their ability to navigate through the ecosystem, ensure compliance, and liaison with the federal, state, and local agencies and officials.
Evaluate the candidate’s knowledge of a wide range of subjects from how to advise corporations or government agencies, identifying complex problems, safety protocols, proposing project objectives, evaluating options, successful budgeting, implementation of solutions, installations, monitoring devices or units, data collection or its supervision, remediation, litigation projects, and so on.
One can be a test of past scenarios of success, failure, operational effectiveness, planning, and management in subjects of relevance.
Get the candidate to share their experiences with leading a team. Test their levels of self-motivation, trust, cooperation, respect, motivation, and self-regulation. They must be able to go beyond the ‘call of duty.’ Also, assess if they have mentored or coached others. Temperament is another important factor in leadership capability: check for their ability to work with others and cope with stress in a rapidly evolving workplace.
Learn how the candidate worked with creativity, alternative, and out-of-box thinking. Ask them to share experiences of how they adapted to new situations, used existing resources and insights to come up with novel ideas, strategies, and implementation processes.
Management and administration
Gauge how their management style and the administrative support they are likely to provide. Find out the experience they have with developing, implementing, or managing plans and natural-resource management programs.
Why CleverX is the perfect place to hire climate consultants
CleverX is a simple, quick, and affordable platform that connects leading B2B and subject-matter professionals to corporations and public agencies. We help deliver high-quality work in real-time and for a fraction of the cost. Search, connect, message, and get work started within 24 hours. Over 10,000 verified professionals sign up every week from around the world. Here are a few reasons why you should give CleverX a shot.
The CleverX platform is designed for simplicity in workflows, collaboration, pricing and costs, working models, projects, surveys, and video consultations. To connect with the right leading climate consultants around the world, search and connect with them directly via free messaging. Schedule 1-on-1 video calls or hire them for project work or surveys. Costs are designed per minute or by the hours. Pay only if satisfied.
The whole platform operates by the principles of responsiveness, integrity, and respect. We encourage all participants to set clear and realistic expectations, be transparent and honest, communicate well and avoid surprises. Also, we have clients and professionals from different walks of life and cultures. Inclusion and belonging are integral to every interaction and collaboration.
3. Confidentiality and security
Your information is safe with us. We’ve worked rigorously to ensure enterprise-grade security, privacy, and confidentiality standards. Your payouts and payment information are also secure and simple with Stripe.
So, the next time you want to hire a climate consultant, head on over to our search page and find the best. You’re sure to meet amazing people, work with simplicity, save costs, and wing all your projects with ease.