Niche firms weather climate advice storm

Intense competition has broken out to provide climate change advice to
companies with the Big Four accountancy firms pitched against smaller niche

The clash was highlighted in research which claimed that Big Four firms were
more likely to get the nod from managers of companies with revenues of more than

The conclusions were rejected by the smaller players with some claiming the
Big Four ‘may not be equipped to provide innovative advice’.

The Big Four have invested heavily to turn climate change advisory into a
major service line as public and corporate awareness of the environment reaches
new levels.

A report from business research and strategy analyst Verdantix concluded that
business chiefs were more likely to hire a Big Four firm over a niche strategist
or IT consultant.

However, environmental consultancies believe they are ‘better placed’ to
provide the advice.

Christina Wood, a consultant at DCarbon8, said: ‘Accountancy firms can focus
a lot on compliance but we’re trying to go beyond that when thinking about
businesses. We’re more specialist than a firm.’

Although Wood agreed that the type of consultancy needed would depend on the
concerns of the client, she added that environmental consultancies could be
‘more cutting edge and innovative’.

But Big Four advisers believe they have the upper hand. Richard Sharman, head
of the carbon advisory group at KPMG, said: ‘We can look at things such as
accounting issues, supply chain, tax, due diligence carbon footprinting etc.’

Green Quadrant
report looked at 16 consultancy firms and asked customer
panels what they thought about them and environmental consultancy in general.

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