Functional Practices - Investment

There is a planet-wide challenge to guarantee that there are enough resources in the future to ensure global functionality.

In order to achieve future targets, it is imperative that businesses and economies drastically change their operational habits, and Challenge Advisory has deep expertise in sustainability practice.

By identifying opportunities in many areas of industry, including energy, waste management and land use, we aim to assist the client in improving their environmental impact and ensuring higher resource productivity.

Our clients comprise of organisations aiming to integrate sustainability into their long-term plans, such as governments, energy and engineering companies, philanthropic organisations and financial institutions.

Challenge assists clients in agriculture, chemistry as well as regional governments in introducing efficient biosystems, lessening environmental impact and modernising industries. Carbon and energy economics with Challenge Advisory guides the client in their transition towards a low carbon economy. Investment in clean technology is vital, and Challenge Advisory assists clients in exploiting disruptive technologies in many industries such as solar and wind power or electric vehicles.

Challenge Advisory has helped several clients in the sustainable cities industry, carefully considering environmental and infrastructural factors in order to supply these cities with sustainable energy and manageable resources. Sustainable enterprise with Challenge Advisory assists the client in transforming the entire value chain from one end to the other.

Along with its environmental benefits, sustainable enterprise can have the added logistical benefits of generating savings, minimising risk and encouraging growth. Clients interested in water and waste can benefit greatly from Challenge Advisory’s counsel, resulting in improved water management that is imperative for sustainable industries such as agriculture or energy.

By considering recycling, energy and waste requirements, Challenge Advisory aims to improve resource-productive operations and increase the impact of sustainability initiatives by redesigning operations implemented by the client that failed to take into account costs or the effect of external suppliers.


Our Expertise

Our Expertise

Biosystems Challenge Advisory works alongside our clients in order to develop biological energy supply systems and devise innovative methods for managing land and resources sustainably and productively.

Clean Technology Challenge Advisory assist clients in finding and adapting to disruptive options in the power, transport, water or infrastructure industries. We also observe businesses to assess the operational implications to help build a sustainable future.

Sustainable Cities Challenge advises clients working on megacities, defining the issues related to each city and delivering specific solutions. We liaise with real estate developers to develop strategies that support sustainability goals.

Sustainable Enterprise Challenge assists clients in the creation of sustainability strategies or providing support in the effect of regulations for the client’s business. We encourage our clients to introduce more green initiatives.

Resource-Productive Operations Challenge Advisory assists clients with managing energy resources to improve value and efficiency. The biggest opportunities involve upstream downstream companies as well as those in waste collection, recycling and disposal.

Carbon/Energy Economics We help clients take advantage of carbon markets, developing adaptation strategies and helping organisations to adhere to new regulations and benefit from the financial incentives of climate change.

Making a Business Case

Often, the rhetoric surrounding sustainability and “green” practices is associated with increased costs to businesses that get passed on to consumers. Sometimes, however, the exact opposite is true. Increased efficiency, whether in energy usage, operational resources, or at some point during the supply chain, can often result in decreased costs while creating a more environmentally responsible organisation.

Making those plans can sometimes be a matter of understanding and impacting consumer behaviour more directly, with some consultancies suggesting that businesses try to drive sustainable lifestyles and, as a side benefit, more profitable business practices.

The problem for enterprises might be more fundamental. Sustainability can be difficult to value from a monetary stand-point, making it challenging for CFO’s and other executives to understand the importance of environmental stewardship. Data-driven metrics can help smooth this process, making it possible for finance and sustainability teams to work together to create new, cost-effective plans.


Assess Inititiatives

Providing metrics, however, can be difficult. The risks of not providing for a new, sustainable world aren’t fully understood, yet. However, a great many companies have come to recognize that water supply shortages and climate change could represent significant costs when and if disaster strikes, making preparedness and environmental stewardship a necessary goal. Some companies have created indices used for just this purpose, including the Valuing Natural Capital initiative, which aims to facilitate a greater understanding of the business value of sustainability.

That being said, once a program is in place, monitoring employee engagement and the effect on the company is simply a matter of watching the numbers in the right places. This is where the triple bottom line comes into play. The central point is to create a clear picture for executives, leadership, and the finance team to illustrate the importance of sustainability and its positive effects.


Engaging Management and Colleagues

In a recent survey of 700 businesses done by sustainability consultancy 2degrees, 65% of respondents said that convincing senior leadership and management to stand behind sustainable practices was the greatest challenge in making a change. However, the survey found that once the central arguments had been made and the merit of sustainability established, leaders remained engaged in the mission of creating a greener business.

Then the challenge becomes engaging colleagues and employees to execute on sustainable practices. 47% of organisations said this was their greatest challenge. Encouraging employee buy-in can be incredibly difficult, but it can be addressed through unilateral communication across the company, or even incentives to those that participate in new programs. Sustainability consultants or internal employees might find themselves supporting new plans through employee education, the leading of cross-disciplinary committees, and the creation of effective internal marketing materials to drive home the company’s objectives.


Our engagements have ranged from alternative energy and go-to-market strategies for major fuel, chemical, and energy players to market entry and capex improvement strategies for small biofuels start-ups. We have also helped utilities that generate power and heat from biomass to understand the impact of new regulation on strategy, market dynamics, and the capital costs associated with different technologies.

As the demand for food, animal feed, and fuel rises and agricultural productivity growth slows, our estimates suggest that the world will need 175 to 220 million more hectares for cultivating crops by 2030, an increase of 11 to 14 percent. We help governments and forestry and agricultural businesses develop strategies to increase productivity and supply new markets while protecting natural resources and promoting sustainability.

We combine economic analysis with the biological expertise of leading academics in fisheries management to identify pathways to return fisheries to sustainable levels.


Clean Technologies

Over 150 of our consultants have developed deep expertise in clean technologies including wind, solar, water efficiency (blue tech), electric vehicles, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). We also draw on a unique body of knowledge built up over decades of experience in related fields such as electric power, high tech, automotive, finance, and private equity.

We help clients conduct opportunity and technology assessments and develop investment perspectives. Recently we advised one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth funds on the likely effects of resource scarcity on its portfolio. We identified a shortlist of potential targets tailored to the fund’s profile and risk appetite, as well as actions to mitigate the risks. We also support companies with market strategies, implementation programs, and insights into regulatory impact.

We support companies in building new clean technology businesses by providing outsourced management resources such as COOs and product marketing experts until these companies can hire their own staff. We also help clients scale up businesses by establishing joint ventures, exploring opportunities in international markets, or identifying M&A targets to drive the next wave of growth. For a subsidiary of a leading industrial conglomerate, we helped screen potential M&A targets, create a shortlist, conduct due diligence, structure the deal, and plan post-acquisition management.

We advise clients on technology development, procurement, manufacturing, and cost reduction. Among recent examples of our work, we helped a public sector IT provider upgrade its data center with a modern energy-efficient infrastructure, achieving savings of 30 percent in both greenhouse gas emissions and running costs.

As clean technologies come down the cost curve, they become increasingly disruptive to traditional business models. We help clients understand how advances in clean technologies affect industry structure and competitive dynamics.

The Challenges

Implementing sustainability initiatives into business is vital for securing the future of an organisation, but the challenges that must be overcome are large. How can enterprises implement sustainability successfully?

The Challenges

Making The Business Case - Many sustainability practices are associated with increased costs and swept under the CSR umbrella. Research, however, has shown that sustainable enterprises tend to be profitable enterprises, too. Organisations that pay attention to business sustainability profit from greater efficiency, stronger supply chains and decreased costs.

Performance Metrics - Although the perils of ignoring sustainability are well documented, there is no real metric to assess the viability and effectiveness of any sustainable initiatives. In order to justify sustainable initiatives, organisations must monitor closely any changes, with a view to the triple bottom line.

Engaging Management and Colleagues - Encouraging employee buy-in can be incredibly difficult, but it can be addressed through unilateral communication across the company, or even incentives to those that participate in new programs.

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