Terence Jeyaretnam

Big consultancy firms such as KPMG and EY are bolstering their sustainability teams to meet new demand in areas such as climate change risk, modern slavery, carbon farming and sustainable timber verification.

EY’s sustainability team has grown by 50 per cent since the giant consultancy firm acquired Terence Jeyaretnam’s sustainability services consultancy Net Balance back in 2014.

Mr Jeyaretnam told The Fifth Estate that the team of 120 is providing sustainability, environmental safety and social impact services will continue to grow as the company expands into new service areas.

He has observed more work coming in across both the private and public sector, but the big change has been outside the company’s leading customer base.

Heightened climate change awareness is one potential reason more companies than ever before are showing interest in sustainability. Mr Jeyaretnam also suggests responsible investors may also be driving demand for these services.

Increasing regulation and legislation is also having an impact, such as proposed modern slavery legislation.

He also said that employees are driving growth, with graduates often keen to work in the sustainability space.

At the time of the merger back in 2014, the move catapulted EY to one of the biggest sustainability consultancy outfits in the country.

Not long after the EY merger, KPMG acquired human rights consultancy Banarra in 2015.

KPMG Australia chief executive Gary Wingrove said that the decision to acquire Banarra was due to the increasing social risks faced by many businesses. The company was rebranded as KPMG’s Banarra services.

According to a job advertisement, KPMG is also growing its national sustainability services team.

The firm is currently recruiting for a new sustainability services senior consultant to dive into a diverse portfolio of sustainability-related research projects.

The consultancy is currently involved in carbon markets and carbon farming, emissions reporting of off-shore oil platforms, mine closures, carbon neutrality at a bank, assurance of the supply chain of a luxury hotel chain, and ensuring timber in international supply chain is free from controversial sources, among other interesting engagements.

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