Increasing demand for consultancy services

16th January 2014


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Pavleta Hlebarska

The global market for environmental consultancy services continued to expand in 2012, outstripping average economic growth rates, according to Environment Analyst

In its annual report on the state of the environmental consultancy sector, Environment Analyst, the online research service, confirms that the market grew by 3.6% in 2012 and was worth £16.7 billion. Meanwhile, global economic growth stood at just 3.2%.

The research confirms that, as in 2011, water and waste management services account for the bulk of consultancy work (30%), closely followed by contaminated land work (29%). The data also reveals that the proportion of work relating to environmental impact assessment (EIA) fell slightly year-on-year, from 14% to 13%, while the amount of climate change and energy services provided by consultants increased from 7% to 10%.

Environmental Analysts reports that 22 companies dominate the global environment consultancy sector, and that these firms are claiming an increasing proportion of the market. In 2012, the “global 22”, which includes CH2M Hill, Environ, SKM Consulting and WSP Environment and Energy, claimed close to 44% of the international consultancy market, up from 41% in 2011.

CH2M Hill is named as the global leader, followed by Tetra Tech and URS, meanwhile the top three firms in the European consultancy sector are Grontmij, Arcadis and ERM.

“Many of the leading global players within this field are not only recovering from the impact of the global financial crisis and ongoing government austerity programmes, but are also responding to and, in some cases, thriving in challenging conditions,” commented Liz Trew, co-author of the report and editor of Environment Analyst's global market intelligence service.

“Geographic diversity remains the buzzword and internationalisation, often in line with multinational clients, continues to reshape the industry.”

Trew expects that future growth will be highly sector and region specific: “Spend on climate change and energy services is set to grow by over 35% in the next five-year period, while EIA and sustainable development spend will increase by almost 17%,” she said.

Despite these positive predictions, Environment Analyst has downgraded its expectations of growth for the sector over the next five years. In last year’s report, the researchers predicted annual growth rates of 3.5% up to 2016, compared with just 3% up to 2017 in their latest analysis.


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