The management consulting firms with the top ESG reputation

23 August 2021 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read

ESG efforts have improved across the professional services industry, according to a new benchmark by stakeholder intelligence company Alva. Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, PwC, Bain & Company and Boston Consulting Group are the consultancies with the best ESG reputation in the market.

Sustainability professionals have long encountered a mixed response from the C-suite when it comes to taking action on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Over the last decade, however, ESG risks have swiftly risen to the top of the investment community’s priorities – and as a result, C-suite resistance in the consulting industry has shrunk considerably, putting sustainability firmly on the boardroom agenda.

With that corporate buy in secured, the world’s biggest consulting firms have spent recent years pushing ahead with major ESG drives across both their organisations, and their clients. This has seen a growing number of the industry’s leaders committing to becoming net-zero firms, cutting down on travel, and looking to source their office energy from renewable sources, among other measures.

The management consulting firms with the top ESG reputation

As the consulting industry looks set to ramp up this push for ESG goals, research firm Alva has examined the sector to find which firms are leading the pack. Alastair Pickering, Co-founder of Alva, commented that increasing demands and pressure around ESG integration for businesses meant there were greater expectations for the professional services industry, before adding “there has been a strong ESG narrative delivered by the sector which has raised expectations of further delivery, demonstrated by positive efforts across the sector.”

Alva’s report reveals that ESG scores across the sector continue to improve, with 90% of companies ranked positively for accelerating their ESG efforts – but still found five firms which were outperforming the rest of the market.

Booz Allen Hamilton

A leading provider of management consulting, technology, and engineering services Booz Allen Hamilton is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. It employs more than 22,000 people, and performs particularly strongly in ESG terms on its social and governance fronts.

The firm regularly features in Forbes Best Employers for Diversity and The Times Top 50 Employers for Women lists. Meanwhile, Alva noted that Booz Allen Hamilton’s Multicultural Business Resource Group “gains positive coverage” regularly.

Accenture

Global IT and business services giant Accenture partners with Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and non-profits to form the Green Software Foundation. The collaboration focuses on building software that produces fewer carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, as it sought to bolster its ESG efforts at the start of 2021, Accenture invested in German-UK sustainability group Arabesque S-Ray. The deal granted Accenture access to the environmental, social, and corporate governance expert’s full range of solutions and analysis.

PwC

One of the world’s four largest professional services firms, PwC is using its sizeable reach to help clients pursue their net-zero ambitions while it also looks to realise its own. Earlier in 2021, PwC announced a hybrid working plan, which it asserted would help staff cut back on travel by working from home for some of the week – shrinking their carbon footprint in the process.

The firm is also helping its clients to improve their social impact. Alva noted in particular that PwC is partnering with the Commonwealth Games, and is currently working to help local charities to maximise the social and environmental impact of the Birmingham Games in 2022.

Bain & Company

Part of the MBB trio that makes the world’s largest strategy consultancies, Bain & Companyis named in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, and The Times Top 50 Employers for Women lists. According to Alva, the firm helps champion sustainability, and partners with Positive Luxury, an organisation which highlights how luxury brands can improve sustainability.

Achieving carbon neutral status for the past 10 years in a row, Bain remains determined to find new ways to improve its climate impact. It recently announced bold new plans to reduce its business travel emissions by 35%.

Boston Consulting Group

Also part of the MBB axis, Boston Consulting Group (known as BCG) recently announced plans to spend $400 million on its 2030 climate positive goals. One way it is doing this sees flights taken by BCG employees in the Nordics on SAS and Finnair flights would be powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

On top of this, Alva noted that BCG partners with Business Green to support its Net Zero Nature Summit.