Company of the Week: What is consulting in Climate Change and Sustainability Services at EY like?

My name is Marja and I work as a consultant at EY in Climate Change and Sustainability Services. I have a Master’s degree from the University of Helsinki (2012), where I majored in Development Studies. During my studies, I was always interested in the role of business in solving global development challenges. I had three years of work experience before joining EY in 2015. I am part of a Nordic team of sustainability professionals who have various backgrounds such as economics, accounting, social sciences, human rights, environmental engineering, sustainable technology and biochemistry.

Although sustainability consulting sounds like a niche service, it is actually a great window into EY’s whole portfolio, because it can be integrated into all of our service areas. For example, in the area of tax services, we advise companies in preparing tax footprint calculations. In audit services, we provide external assurance over data in companies’ sustainability reports. In management consulting, our services range from strategy development to improving reporting processes, defining requirements for data management systems, calculating carbon footprints and assessing sustainability risks in global supply chains. In law services, we help companies develop Code of Conduct documents and compliance programs. In transaction services, we provide environmental or human rights due diligence. And the list goes on… The opportunities are endless, because it really is just a matter of finding the link between sustainability and traditional business practices. At a company like EY, this is also a great opportunity to expand your skill set.

My day-to-day work consists of project work, sales work and internal business development. Project work involves attending client meetings, preparing workshops and analyzing data. Sales work involves researching industry trends, calling prospective clients, preparing proposals and presenting at sales meetings. Business development involves conceptualizing service solutions, brainstorming with colleagues and having conference calls with our international network.

People always joke that consultants spend most of their time aligning boxes in PowerPoint or building complex formulas in Excel. This if of course partly true (and it is in fact a matter of professional pride to be a guru in PowerPoint and Excel), but I believe the core competence of a consultant is the ability to absorb, distill and combine information and structure it into solutions that bring value to our clients. More than any specific technical skills, this requires a general mindset that can create order out of chaos.

What I always tell people who are interested in a career in sustainability is that there is no specific background required. I encourage everyone to look at their core competence, whether it is in accounting, finance, engineering or design and find a way to link it to sustainability issues. I am also happy to help in finding this link, so get in touch (marja.maenpaa@fi.ey.com) if you want some tips!

 

Marja Mäenpää

Consultant, Climate Change and Sustainability Services

Master’s degree from the University of Helsinki (2012), Development Studies

 

PS: The application period for the EY Experience trainee program is coming soon (19.9.-9.10.) – see a list of all the open positions and apply at ey.com/fi/careers