As temperatures around the globe are heating up, so is the market for green technologies and environmentally friendly business practices. With Democratic and Republican presidential candidates both on record supporting a mandatory cap-andtrade system, companies of all shapes and sizes are trying to figure out how to reduce their carbon footprint and manage soaring transportation costs. Few of these companies have in-house experts in sustainability, so they’re turning to consultants.
While a number of small boutique firms are offering carbon audits and greenhouse gas inventories, insiders indicate that major consulting firms are only beginning to craft offerings for this market. McKinsey, BCG, Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and A.T. Kearney (which is attempting to become the first carbon-neutral consulting fi rm by 2010, in part by reducing business travel) all have emerging services in this area.
IBM also offers programs to reduce energy consumption in data centers. In summer 2008, it launched a service designed to help companies match their environmental policies and practices with their customer preferences. Boutiques such as Point Carbon and Clear Carbon Consulting offer pure-play services to this market. Though still small, they have been growing.
Technology is part of the problem and the solution. Servers and data centers use about $4.5 billion in electricity each year, equivalent to the amount used by 5.8 million U.S. households, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA says more effi cient technologies could help these data centers cut their carbon emissions by more than half by 2011. Consulting firms recognize an opportunity to help companies save energy and thus save money, and are gearing up with case studies and practices designed to take advantage of what’s expected to be a fast-growing market.
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