Environmental Consulting Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Quarterly Insight, Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 8,300 environmental consulting services firms in the US provide expert advice and assistance to other companies and organizations on environmental issues. Major services offered include environmental assessments, site remediation planning, natural resource management, and waste management consulting services. Firms may also provide evaluations of environmental studies, environmental audits, and environmental policy development services.

Dependence on Skilled Staff

Environmental consulting firms rely on highly skilled staff to provide professional services to clients.

Dependence on Government Contracts

Government contracts can account for a significant percentage of business for environmental consulting firms, and projects typically involve a highly regulated procurement process.

Industry size & Structure

The average environmental consulting firm operates out of a single location, employs about 10-11 workers, and generates $2 million in annual revenue.

    • The environmental consulting services industry consists of about 8,300 firms that employ 89,000 workers and generate $17 billion annually.
    • The industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for about 31% of industry revenue.
    • Large firms, which include Wood Group, Arcadis US, Ramboll Environ, and TRC Companies, may have operations in foreign countries.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Environmental Consulting Services Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Coronavirus Update

                                  May 10, 2022 - Indoor Air Quality Needs Improvement
                                  • A growing coalition of epidemiologists and aerosol scientists say that improved ventilation could be a powerful tool against the coronavirus — if businesses are willing to invest the money. "The science is airtight," said Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Opportunities to improve ventilation may increase for environmental consulting services as employees are returning to the office after two years of remote work and while the highly contagious BA.2 omicron subvariant gains ground. Experts say that attention to indoor air quality would provide gains against COVID and beyond, quelling the spread of other diseases and cutting incidents of asthma and allergy attacks.
                                  • The monitoring of COVID-19 and other diseases through wastewater surveillance needs more standardization, according to a report from the US Government Accountability Office. Challenges such as privacy concerns over the access to genetic information; issues with animal feces and other potential contaminants; dilution from rainwater washing down storm drains; costs; and no uniform methods for sample collections, analysis and data sharing must be addressed. That lack of standardization “complicates efforts to aggregate, interpret, and compare data across sites and develop large-scale public health interventions,” the report said, noting that some scientists see a benefit to making testing for COVID-19 in wastewater the same nationwide.
                                  • The reopening of businesses, schools, universities, and other public indoor spaces reopened may create opportunities for consulting firms with expertise in maintaining indoor environmental quality. Facilities may seek consulting expertise to ensure proper sanitization and ventilation. Consultants can offer third-party assessments and inspections for cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures, HVAC ventilation evaluations, air and surface testing for pathogens, and indoor environmental safety training.
                                  • Government and consumer pressure to regulate single-use plastic products and their impact on the environment was building before the pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 significantly increased waste from single-use products, including masks, plastic gloves, and food containers. The impact of the increase in waste may prompt companies, industries, and governments to perform life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies to determine product development initiatives and government regulations. However, critics of the LCA process argue the studies can often be skewed to further a corporate or government agenda. The need for improved public perception and transparency could drive demand for environmental consultancies to perform independent LCAs and/or provide peer review services for LCAs produced by corporations and governments.
                                  • The pandemic is expected to hasten the adoption of remote sensors and other digital tools that can help environmental consultants monitor conditions in the field. Restrictions on travel and social distancing requirements challenged some firms’ ability to perform environmental fieldwork and maintain optimal levels of regulatory compliance. Advanced sensors - monitored via cloud-based mobile apps - can make compliance faster, less costly, and more efficient.
                                  • The COVID-19 pandemic has increased consumer concerns about sustainability, according to a survey of 14,000 consumers in nine countries by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV). Nine in 10 respondents said the pandemic had affected their views on environmental sustainability, more so than other types of disasters, including severe weather and wildfires. More than two-thirds of consumers felt corporations would face increased public scrutiny regarding corporate environmental policies over the next year. Nearly 55% of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable and/or environmentally responsible brands. Heightened consumer awareness of sustainability issues might increase demand for consultants to help firms develop and implement sustainability goals.
                                  • Governments worldwide have spent $17.2 trillion on stimulus to prop up their economies during the pandemic. Still, those efforts have had a net negative impact on climate and nature, according to the latest update of the Greenness of Stimulus Index (GSI) produced by consultancy Vivid Economics and the Finance for Biodiversity initiative. Although about 28% - or $4.8 trillion – of stimulus spending has been allocated for environmentally-focused elements of the economy, only 10% ($1.8 trillion) will have a net positive impact. The study’s producers define a net positive impact as “reducing climate emissions or enhancing biodiversity in areas relating to the environment, energy, transport, industry, agriculture, and waste.” Of the 30 countries studied, stimulus efforts in 20 of them are expected to have a net negative effect. While the US has improved its GSI score, it remained on the net negative side of the index.
                                  • Corporate sustainability efforts were not as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many sustainability professionals first feared, according to the latest edition of environmental consulting firm ERM’s SustainAbility report. The report, which was performed in cooperation with sustainability consultancy GlobeScan, surveyed 700 sustainability professionals in more than 70 countries. In 2020, nearly half of survey respondents felt that sustainability agendas would be deprioritized over the coming decade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in 2021 the percentage who felt sustainability efforts would suffer fell to 24%. About one-third of sustainability professionals think that the pandemic will increase the focus on environmental issues. However, 40% of those surveyed felt the pandemic would worsen socio-economic challenges, including poverty and inequality. Among specific environmental challenges, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and water scarcity ranked as the most serious.
                                  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set up a wastewater surveillance system in the fall of 2020 and now funds sewage monitoring efforts in 43 states, according to The New York Times. The agency is in the process of adding about 500 testing sites nationwide. Wastewater surveillance can help determine which variants are dominant in a community, which can help doctors make critical treatment decisions. For example, two of the three monoclonal antibody treatments approved for COVID-19 are ineffective against Omicron but work well against Delta. Sewage data can also help detect outbreak hotspots for better allocation of healthcare resources. Public health experts say the US needs to make more investments to expand and better coordinate wastewater surveillance to gather more data and share it more quickly.
                                  • ELoMed, a Florida-based company, has developed a sustainably packaged face mask made of biodegradable materials, including corn, cassava, sugar cane, and sugar beets. The ELoMed mask yields a >98% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) and is suitable for use in healthcare industry settings. Some health experts suggest that most cloth masks may offer little protection from the highly-contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus and that disposable surgical masks or respirators (such as N95 and KN95 masks) are preferable. In January, the CDC updated its mask guidance to say, “a respirator may be considered in certain situations and by certain people when greater protection is needed or desired.” Demand for biodegradable masks may rise if masking remains more ingrained in day-to-day life and awareness about the environmental impact of disposable masks increases.
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