Let me start off this post on a downbeat note: Improving sustainability is not a high priority for companies, according to data from the recent Forrester survey of business decision-makers. The survey, part of Forrester's Forrsights research, was fielded to 2,600 executives with budget authority at companies in Europe, North America, and Asia during the fourth quarter of 2010.
When we asked these corporate decision-makers about their company's top business priorities, revenue growth was #1, customer retention #2, and cost-cutting #3 (see Figure 1 below). Improving the corporate sustainability posture? Oops, it's down at #10, with just 10% of respondents indicating that sustainability is one of their firm's high priorities for 2011. When we cut those numbers by industry grouping, utilities/telecoms and public sector/healthcare are highest, with 15% prioritizing sustainability, compared with a low of just 7% in financial services.
Now, I'd like to contrast that eye-opening data with a much more optimistic set of figures from our recent research about the growth of sustainability consulting services. My colleague Daniel Krauss and I have worked with many of the large consultancies over the past few years and seen their sustainability practices grow from practically nothing to very substantial businesses.
Among 21 consulting firms that we surveyed late last year, 17 have a dedicated sustainability practice, and five of those count more than 1,000 practitioners (see Figure 2).
This was quicker than expected. As stated in my last report on the enterprise carbon and energy management (ECEM) software market, we expected that Oracle, among some other players, will catch up on the ECEM market opportunity as it materializes. We projected a period of hypergrowth over the next three years, taking the ECEM software market from an estimated $316 million in 2011 to $903 million in 2013. You'll find our market definitions for carbon and energy management software and overview of the vendor landscape here.
Oracle announced on Friday its acquisition of Ndevr's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Accounting Software with the intent to expand its current portfolio of sustainability solutions and offer improved capabilities to monitor, analyze, and report energy consumption and related emissions. Australia-based Ndevr was founded in 1998 as a JD Edwards partner, has been a certified Oracle partner for 10 years, and employs today approximately 80 consultants.