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North American Business Leader Forums

Environment Analyst hosts a series of online and in-person North American Business Leader Forums, to enable senior leaders to come together and discuss pertinent issues in small, closed group settings.

These Forums are for Environment Analyst members.

To request an invite please contact amanda@environment-analyst.com.

Upcoming Forums

  • Finding Business Success and Maintaining Sustainability Momentum in a Polarized Business Environment (20 March, online)
  • Topic TBC (24 June in Boston, MA)
  • Topic TBC (w/c 4 November, online)

Finding Business Success and Maintaining Sustainability Momentum in a Polarized Business Environment  

20 March at 11am EDT  / 10am CST / 8am PST, Online

Operating in a polarized economic, societal and political landscape 

Ahead of the US Presidential Election, concerns are rising around the re-opening of societal divisions. This Forum will discuss the polarized economic, societal and political landscape and what this means for business and sustainability in the US.

  • What role could the 2024 election have on ESG backlash and how insulated are your companies?  How are you preparing for either outcome? 
  • How is this polarization trickling down to your clients? How do you build and maintain relationships with clients that are resistant or slow to the ESG transition? How do you balance this with your own company values? 
  • How do you manage employees with strong values and opinions about the projects you are working on if they develop cognitive dissonance?

Delivering equitable infrastructure in an uncertain and polarized environment 

Designing, planning and delivering infrastructure has become more challenging than ever before. A growing divide between political groups, stakeholders and even investors is making strong stakeholder engagement essential.  

  • Are the demands to deliver for the needs of multiple stakeholders and policy requirements limiting the potential of consultancies to innovate on infrastructure projects, or is policy and funding too restrictive? 
  • Will a potential change in Federal Administration lead to the end of initiatives that seek to improve equitable outcomes such as Environmental Justice?
  • How can this industry thrive as sustainability solution providers in a political environment where environmental / sustainability initiatives are watered down? 
  • Will financiers and investors remain committed to sustainable outcomes if congressional support diminishes? 

Previous Forums

Achieving Growth in a Volatile Market: Consulting Outlook 2024   

15 November at 11am EDT  / 10am CST / 8am PST, Online

Positioning to Offer “Total” Sustainability Services

  • Recap on the “great reshuffle” in E&S consulting - what EA is seeing in the data
  • As sustainability takes centre stage in the mission and value of engineering companies, how has this affected your role as environment business leader? How has this impacted the way you manage your division / teams? 
  • Do environmental businesses now assume greater strategic importance at the vanguard of business growth?
  • How do you turn good intentions to transformational change
  • How can engineering firms magnify their sustainability expertise across wider teams of engineers, designers, planners. What does it take to truly operationalise sustainability within a multidisciplinary consultancy?  
  • What are the hurdles to overcome?
  • What will the future environmental consultant look like? 

2024: Growing through volatility

A discussion on the 2024 outlook for senior business leaders within environmental, sustainability and engineering firms in the US consulting market

  • How will the upcoming political, economic and compliance-related drivers influence future work prospects in 2024 and beyond?
  • This can include: 
    • Weakening global economy -> but prospects strong in US 
    • The 2024 U.S. presidential election -> Federal and state spending prior to election
    • Doubling US Budget Deficit -> Implications for federal spending (IRA / IIJA)? 
    • Global energy shortages -> Impact to energy transition US? 
    • Watershed year for ESG -> Mandatory disclosures are here: SEC climate disclosure rule / California SB 253 AND SB 261 VS ESG Political Backlash
    • Easing of inflationary pressures 
  • What is the outlook for the industry? Let's discuss

Read the write-up

Effectively Integrating & Operationalizing ESG 

26 June, 4:30pm CDT, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

As ESG continues to evolve, so does the landscape within which environmental & sustainability consultants operate. “ESG'' must no longer happen as a separate thread to the reality of day-to-day operations, but needs to be integrated into company strategy and culture, as well as being fully operationalized and embedded into project design and outcomes.

Companies must be bolder in taking a solutions-focused approach, and look to develop roadmaps for scaling ESG delivery across all parts of the business, as well as communicating clearly with clients what ESG is, and isn’t in order to move forward positively.

Furthermore, with “ESG”  increasingly becoming caught up in polarized political and societal agendas there is a need to pause and reflect on what this means for the E&S consulting industry.

This in-person Business Leaders’ Forum, which took place the day before the Global Business Summit, provided insight into the activities and objectives of the Environment Analyst ESG Working Group. Two industry executives then gave introductory thoughts on each of the following topics, before group discussion.

Operationalizing ESG and Developing the Skills Required 

Introduction: Justin Mosquera, Global ESG Business Lead at AECOM 

  • Understanding what “ESG” looks like, and means, to different client groups and how best to support them in their net zero journeys 
  • How can the sector better develop key skills in management consultancy and digital solutions to close the gap in providing clients with a more holistic ESG offering and effectively reach the C-Suite
  • What does environmental and sustainability consultancy look like now and in the future?

Navigating the Polarization & Politicization of ESG

Introduction: Luiz Guimaraes, Global Co-Lead, Corporate Sustainability and Climate Change Services at ERM

  • What role can this industry play in restoring trust in “ESG”?
  • Is it safer to talk to your stakeholders and clients about “sustainability”?
  • Approaches to navigating employee and stakeholder activism, and client projects:  Communication (with employees) or Excommunication (with sunset industries)
  • Gaining clarity in what ESG is, and isn’t and being clear with your clients 

How the IIJA & IRA are Transforming Consulting Operations and Accelerating a Just & Equitable Transition

8 March at 11am EDT  / 10am CST / 8am PST, online

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) together aim to drive infrastructure modernization and accelerate the energy transition. This creates huge opportunities for environmental and sustainability (E&S) consultants, as detailed in our US Market Assessment

But how well-positioned are E&S consultants to maximise the opportunities and what is the impact on operational capabilities? 

This Business Leaders’ Forum provided an opportunity for senior business leaders to discuss and explore how the IIJA and IRA are transforming consulting opportunities and accelerating a just and equitable transition in the United States. 

Discussion points included:

  • What is a just and equitable transition? How are the IIJA & IRA helping to accelerate the thinking on this?
  • What does a just and equitable transition mean for your clients - their needs and procurement implications. Are they adequately prepared? How can this industry accelerate their understanding and adoption of best practice? 
  • What resources and skill sets could help the E&S sector maximise the opportunities being created by the IRA and IIJA? Where are the pinch points in operational capabilities? 
  • How will these opportunities transform your organisation and what can you do to prepare?

Opening thoughts:

  • Jay Shipley, Vice President & National Director of Public Sector Services, Roux
  • Rob Campbell-Watt, Executive Director, ESG and Climate Solutions, TRC Companies

Read the write-up

Exploring the Evolution of ESG in Environmental & Sustainability Consulting

22 August 2022

ESG is becoming an integral part of your clients’ businesses from climate and sustainability goals to employee recruitment and retention, and business ethics and governance. ESG factors are central to long-term growth and commercial success. But what does this mean for the environmental & sustainability consulting sector, your value proposition, and the services you provide?  

The first part of this in-person forum, held on the eve of our Global Business Summit, explored the impact of ESG and evolving client needs on the services your company offers, how business models are evolving in response, and how you can differentiate yourselves in a world where everyone is “doing ESG”.

The second part looked into the growing expectation for infrastructure projects to be planned, designed and delivered sustainably, and how project finance and ESG are driving change.

Read the write-up

Managing Organisational Challenges & the Impact of the “New Normal” on Business Structure, Culture, & Practices

26 April 2022

The session began with a top-line summary of the report findings presented by Ross Griffiths, Operations Director, Environment Analyst, followed by an industry perspective from Alizabeth Aramowicz Smith, EHS Senior Consultant and Health and Safety Practice Leader at Antea Group USA.

Attendees then moved into small breakout groups to discuss:

  • What the post-Covid organisation looks like and the long-term impact of remote or hybrid working on internal and external relationships:
    • employee and client engagement & connection
    • future talent pipeline development
    • the culture of the organisation
    • the optimum workplace strategy
  • The extent to which aligning company purpose and values with ESG goals can enhance employee recruitment and engagement: developing sustainability leadership
  • Evolving business models aligned with operational and project trends and changing demands for consultancy

Read the write-up

Attracting & Retaining Talent

12 January 2022

This North American Business Leaders’ Forum took place on 12 January at 4pm GMT / 11am ET / 8am PT and discussed attracting and retaining talent.

The Forum began with opening perspectives from three industry executives:

  • ​Diane Woodall, Vice President, People & Organization, Wood
  • Lisa Kay, Chief Operating Officer, NV5
  • Priya Jain, Chief Growth Officer, Atlas​

This was followed by a smaller break-out and wider group discussion, which explored:

  • The impact of Covid on the business and employee turnover - “The Great Resignation”
  • The challenges faced in recruiting and competing for talent
  • Flexible working and other impacts on staffing / projects

Read the write-up

Global Market Overview

5 March 2021

This Forum, chaired by Julian Rose, Co-founder at Environment Analyst, provided a global market overview, including highlights from Environment Analyst's latest research into the global environmental consultancy market (in advance of publication), as well as discussions around:

Digitalization opportunities and threats:

  • What are the barriers to digital transformation (culture, cost, systems)?
  • Which services are vulnerable to competition? Why?
  • How can digital technology tackle customer pain points?

Visibility and relevance:

  • How can environmental consulting firms improve their visibility and relevance at a time when sustainability and ESG are becoming mainstream?
  • How to become the defacto partner of choice for the green recovery?
  • What are the threats presented by adjacent solution providers (auditors, management consultants, lawyers, etc), and what can we learn from their approach?
  • How will Biden's climate policies resonate with your clients, and how can you help them?

Read the write-up