CEO Christoph Schweizer calls on climate activists to join BCG

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Strategy consulting giant Boston Consulting Group has set up its booth as it aims to recruit a new generation of climate-savvy staff. The company is looking to hire climate activists to join the ranks of its consultants, as it strives to earn work supporting clients with net zero initiatives.

Younger members of the workforce are increasingly climate-conscious, according to mounting data. Recent research has revealed that Gen Z in particular aren’t just adapting their own lives to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re looking for lifelong careers that can help fight climate change.

University campuses are seeing an ever-increasing number of enrollments in environmental studies, while reports indicate that a large part of the population is now willing to refuse work from companies that do not make significant efforts on environmental studies. environmental, social and governmental (ESG) fronts.

At the same time, demand for consultants to help companies strengthen their ESG credentials is growing. According to research from consulting firm Verdantix, corporate spending on ESG and sustainability consulting is expected to more than double over the next five years to reach record revenues of $16 billion by 2027.

As consultancies need to build their capacity to meet these climate-related demands and as more and more young people entering the job market are determined to make a difference with their work, the industry has understandably started to try to appeal to Generation Z.

Most notably, the new boss of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has asserted his desire to hire climate activists to work for the consultancy. As the Financial Times reported, the move comes as more clients ask BCG to advise on plans to achieve net zero emissions.

Amid an ongoing tightening labor market, the recruitment rush into consulting on digital and sustainability projects means consultancies are moving away from their traditional recruiting tactics. Having typically hired people from business backgrounds, the sector is now hiring more data scientists and climate and sustainability experts.

In a bid to stand out from other companies in a crowded field – and bolster its own push towards net zero – BCG CEO Christoph Schweizer told the Financial Times that the company has tightened its labor policies for companies. from high-emitting industries, and has turned down hundreds of millions of dollars in potential fees over the past year.

“We are now at that stage where I can credibly say that we want climate activists to join BCG,” explained the Munich-based BCG boss. “It’s a bit of a surprise. No consulting executive would have said that two or three years ago.

Even after refusing to work due to ESG factors over the past year, BCG is already seeing the benefits of its new strategy. The consulting firm increased its revenue by more than 20%, pushing its sales above $10 billion for the first time. This is largely due to the refocus on ESG issues: the company now derives almost 10% of its revenue from climate consulting, and Schweizer expects this to represent up to a third of its sales. by 2027.

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Part of the MBB axis (also including strategy leaders McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company), BCG recently announced plans to spend $400 million on its positive 2030 climate goals. employs approximately 25,000 people in more than 50 countries and has rolled out a number of initiatives to improve its climate impact, including ensuring that flights operated by BCG employees in the Nordic countries on SAS flights and Finnair are powered by sustainable aviation fuel; and in partnership with Business Green to support its Net Zero Nature Summit.

However, not everyone totally agrees with the apparent “greening” of BCG. In 2021, environmental groups claimed BCG’s €1 million contract to help organize the COP26 climate-defining conferred posed “a conflict of interest” because of the company’s “ongoing ties to fossil fuel companies”.

At the same time, climate consultants from other firms have expressed concerns about the prospect of such a firm co-opting the energies of climate activists. In a letter to the Financial Times, Richard Roberts – head of investigations at climate transformation consultancy Volans – suggested that “the news that Boston Consulting Group wants to hire climate activists is a sign that we are in deep trouble”. .

He continued: “It is painfully obvious that we have left voluntary market-led action to solve the climate crisis too late. The place where we need climate activists most now is in frontline politics, deciding the laws that govern the market economy, not advising corporations on environmental, social and governance… We’re never going to change that if all climate activists become management consultants. ”

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