The numbers are clear: the youngest members of the workforce are increasingly climate-aware and highly concerned about whether their employers are doing their part to combat global climate change. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z respondents said it was important to work at organizations whose values aligned with theirs and expressed more concern about climate change than the older proportion of the workforce, according to a 2018 survey by Deloitte. Amid a tight labor market and growing consumer focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), companies are taking notice, with one CEO putting out the call to recruit climate change activists into its ranks.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Chief Executive Officer Christoph Schweizer recently spoke out on his desire to hire climate activists to work for the consultancy, as consulting firms around the world have seen a dramatic spending increase by clients on ESG and sustainability consulting. As companies work to make good on their net-zero goals and deliver on their ESG promises, consultancy firms are shifting away from traditional recruitment tactics - such as hiring MBA graduates - in favor of hiring data scientists and climate and sustainability experts.
“We are now at this point where I can credibly say we want climate activists to join BCG,” said Schweizer. “It’s a bit of a surprise. No consulting executive would have said that two or three years ago.”
The firm has been walking the talk as well. In addition to broadening its hiring pool, BCG has recently tightened its policies on working for companies in high-emission industries, going as far as to decline hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue over 2021 as a result. The strategy is yielding dividends already, with ESG matters now making up close to 10% of the firm’s sales, which exceeded $10 billion for the first time. Schweizer expects sustainability consulting to account for as much as a third of the firm’s sales by 2027. The firm has additionally announced plans to spend $400 million on its 2030 climate positive goals.
In spite of criticism from activists and other firms, it seems that BCG’s move to bring climate-aware employees to the table will not only benefit its bottom line, but also help drive new changes in client operations as its consultants engage with a different perspective.