Biodiversity / Specialist Consulting

Matt Baty Matt Baty
2nd April 2024

As the Voluntary Carbon Market continues to evolve, organisations are starting to switch on to the benefits of nature restoration, rewilding and biodiversity protection. With a following wind, investing money into nature-based solutions will not just make ethical sense, but also business sense.
Consulting firms active within biodiversity, nature-based solutions and carbon markets are seeing an increase in enquiries and as a result, the demand for talent is increasing, gradually.
The key challenge organisations face is the gestation period for projects can be extremely long. When undertaking NBS projects aligned with REDD+, the key stakeholder groups are not just disparate but also spread out. The financial aspects can also present some unique and complex challenges. Rewilding or restoring a mangrove swamp, for example, is not just a technical challenge, it also a project where there are multiple variables and no absolute figures available for carbon sequestration. Although the science is now fairly well advanced, many things can go wrong (for example a natural disaster in the area) which, understandably, prompts delays and anxiety from investors keen to realise returns.
Companies which are decisive in their net-zero strategies, and think differently about decarbonisation and carbon credits are making good headway, and the demand for people is growing.
Although there remains a long way to go, overall the temperature is warming; this is a uniquely global talent pool – candidates possessing that rare blend of scientific / technical knowledge with a good understanding of client relationship management and business development should find they are regularly sought out by recruiters. Companies hiring in this space may well have to think flexibly, particularly around remote working. In a recent search we spoke to candidates from Nairobi to Manitoba!
Within the specialist consulting space, there continues to be demand for professionals possessing skills and experience with TCFD, TNFD and carbon accounting. I expect we will also see so activity within the infrastructure and build environment space in response to Biodiversity Net Gain. Risk screening, analysis and due diligence remain key topics around ESG consulting, with Human Rights also coming to the fore, particularly in response to changes in legislation in Germany.
Essentially as firms are forced to not just report, but prove their ESG credentials, consulting firms are picking up the slack and presenting clients with not just people-power, but also technological solutions. There is an emerging arms race for accurate and reliable SaaS products aimed at automating and streamlining reporting. The challenge of understanding ‘status quo’ continues; whilst some may see reporting as a blocker for strategic progress, in actual fact it is a vital launchpad for impact and change provided major investment vehicles continue to drive ESG through their investment decisions.