Deloitte Consulting (“Deloitte”) will be significantly affected by the impact of climate change on their top clients. As a management consultancy, Deloitte helps solve real issues – many times the most complex issues that a client is facing. As both regulation and physical manifestation begin to take effect, Deloitte will need to be on the front-end of helping their clients mitigate risks and shift their business models accordingly. For Deloitte, these types of issues should be viewed through the lens of a new opportunity. But, these opportunities come with a cost – a significant investment in talent and expertise to prove to clients that Deloitte is the right firm to help solve these complex issues.
Deloitte’s Current Offerings
According to the Deloitte website, the firm offers Sustainability Services to clients in the areas of sustainability strategy, resource productivity and risk mitigation, sustainable operations and supply chain, and reporting and disclosure. While offering these services, it does not seem to be a core platform that Deloitte is emphasizing in their advertising, but merely one offering in a large “Chinese menu” of capabilities. To be a true leader in this category, it will require much more investment and effort to convince clients of the reason to think about the near future climate change impacts to their business.
The organization should be focusing on building out internal capabilities and then on a strategy to convince the market that these services are important.
Building Internal Capabilities – Structure and Talent
Organizational Structure – the creation of a single practice that will focus on sustainability will be essential because of the signal that it sends to clients. The creation of an entire practice centered on an issue signals to clients that the firm has both deep expertise and a keen sense of the importance of the topic. One can look at the similar approach that Deloitte employed to deliver social impact consulting services. The firm decided to create a Social Impact Practice, which was solely dedicated to the sector.
Talent – in order to deliver top services to the market, Deloitte must employ subject matter experts (SMEs) in this field. This will include a combination of scientists, environmental analysts, and traditional management consultants. These SMEs should be hired directly into the new practice focused on solving the organizational impacts of climate change. The diverse set of expertise will allow for a creative, holistic approach to solving individual client needs – of which there will be many.
Creating a Sales Strategy – Answering “How” and “Why”
Preparing Thought Eminence – After creating the organizational structure and acquiring the correct talent, the firm will need to create research and thought pieces that show the impacts of climate change on organizations. In combination with this research, a compelling business case will have to be made for the reason to engage in the organizational changes now as opposed to later. Robert E. Rubin, co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and writer for the Washington Post, poses a question that many executives are currently grappling with: “What is the cost of inaction? In my view — and in the view of a growing group of business people, economists, and other financial and market experts — the cost of inaction over the long term is far greater than the cost of action.”1 This key question will have to be answered alongside the thought eminence and proposals for how to act. In summary, in answering the “how to act” question, Deloitte must also convince corporate America of “why to act.”
A New Opportunity
The discussions on the organizational impact of climate change are in their infant stages. The timing is perfect for a firm such as Deloitte to start shaping that discussion. Deloitte’s size and reach can enable a truly global impact on how clients think about and execute on solving the implications of climate change. The time is now for Deloitte to invest in the talent and organizational structure that can start shaping the discussion in meaningful ways. This type of investment can lead to considerable future gains as clients look for support in this important topic.
Word Count: 680