Are Sustainability Consultants the Agile Consultants of the Climate Movement

Open Question: Should we put a stop to these new consultants before doing immense, irreparable damage?

Ethar Alali
3 min readNov 24, 2021
source: cottonbro

Climate change is probably the biggest threat of our time. We have already blown a number of chances to make good on this.

Yet, out of the woodwork emerges a number of different individuals touting answers, under the guise of “sustainability consultants”. Yet, as with many areas of life, many of these consultants exploit the situation for a quick buck or wholly underestimate their own capabilities in this arena. In a science which we can’t afford to get wrong, such behaviour is extremely harmful.

A lot of disinformation is flying through the climate movement at the moment. What happens when you highlight it, is an exceptionally good measure of the character of those consultant and the integrity of their brands that propagate it. Sometimes they make mistakes, which is OK. Accept it, correct it, move on. When someone claims something then doesn’t do that, they’re more likely deliberately concealing an incompetence; are setting out to disinform or are selfishly maintaining a reputation over the science. Which itself is bad science.

Compare Your Footprint is a page that claims to provide a comparison service and advice on Carbon reduction.

Today it put out this post (A) claiming the World Economic Forum made this statement that there was a 40% rise in energy consumption due to working from home.

These are clearly, and demonstrably false! It’s not clear why this page peddled this false information, but it was of course highlighted and of course, I got blocked for my trouble. Which is why it’s now here.

The World Economic Forum stated very clearly that electricity consumption dropped by 20% for each month a nation’s lockdown persisted (B). This is what the WEF said in full.

The data from IEA and other agencies showed a clear and unequivocal drop in energy consumption during the pandemic. Notwithstanding the page make a demonstrably false statement, there was no region around the world that didn’t see a significant drop in energy consumption during 2020.

Now, I’m not going to talk any more about its CEO, Will Richardson, since he’s decided that it’s somehow better to block science (good luck with that). Kind of like hiding under the duvet in a house fire. So y’know, whatever. The main issue is there soooo many people jumping on the sustainability bandwagon that organisations must be careful whom they work with.

The Avatars

There are 4 types of consultant in sustainability and climate change:

1. Those with an agenda unaligned to the science
2. Those who are negligent/incompetent — a liability when an independent certification or audit is carried out
3. Shills in the pay of fossil fuel industries or otherwise there to maintain the status quo
4. The ones who really understand it

The first 3 outnumber the last one by almost 77:23.

All of the rogues cause a misalignment in the behaviour of others. Nurturing completely the wrong behaviours and action and thus, magnifying the damage. Businesses would do well to watch out for it.

We must keep remembering that the climate doesn’t care about our feelings on this, so the right answer is to accept the mistake and correct it. The wrong one is to reject the science! Because it will ultimately eat us! It’s our responsibility to call it out and learn for the greater good of the planet. This is a message aimed squarely at the sustainability consultancy community! Your biases, infect.

If you’re not sure, come and ask. It doesn’t cost you anything.



Ethar Alali

EA, Stats, Math & Code into a fizz of a biz or two. Founder: Automedi & Axelisys. Proud Manc. Citizen of the World. I’ve been busy