The big four accounting firms continue to dominate the sustainability brands landscape

The Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC — continue to win the most mindshare with heads of sustainability worldwide when compared to other services firms according to a new global survey of 260 heads of sustainability.

The second annual survey conducted by independent research firm Verdantix finds that Deloitte ranks first in brand preference for both sustainability consulting and sustainability assurance worldwide.

According to the 260 sustainability leaders representing large corporations in 13 of the world’s biggest economies, KPMG achieves the second highest level of brand preference for sustainability consulting and EY the second highest for sustainability assurance. Across the Big Four, at least 87 per cent of respondents are familiar with their sustainability services.

“The positive results for the Big Four reflect the multi-million dollar investments they have made to develop the sustainability marketplace, shape standards like GRI and SASB and to educate corporate leaders on best practice,” commented Verdantix CEO, David Metcalfe. “The global brand awareness achieved by DNV GL, ERM, Schneider Electric, DuPont Sustainable Solutions and CH2M HILL for their sustainability services demonstrates their long-term commitment to an unpredictable market.”

Among environmental consultants, DNV GL and ERM achieve the highest brand preference scores achieving a global ranking of fifth and seventh for their sustainability consulting capabilities. McKinsey has retained its position from 2013 as the most preferred pure play management consultancy, ranked sixth overall.

Accenture, Schneider Electric and DuPont Sustainable Solutions also figure prominently with more than 20 per cent of respondents worldwide indicating a positive perception of their sustainability advisory capabilities. Up to 65 per cent of respondents are unfamiliar with the sustainability services of some engineering consulting and IT consulting firms in the market.

In the sustainability assurance market, KPMG matches Deloitte for overall brand awareness, with 91 per cent of respondents indicating their familiarity with the firms’ assurance services. Looking ahead to 2015, 23 per cent of respondents indicated they have a positive perception of Deloitte and might engage them.

Eighteen per cent of the heads of sustainability interviewed by Verdantix might engage KPMG next year and 12 per cent indicated the same for EY. DNV GL ranks fifth behind the Big Four for sustainability assurance as 19 per cent of respondents state that the firm has strong capabilities for sustainability assurance. Bureau Veritas and BSI also rank in the top ten globally for brand preference. Compared to the 2013 survey data, Deloitte, DNV GL and KPMG have seen significant increases in brand preference.

For more information attend the Verdantix webinar “10 Hot Sustainability Trends for 2015”.

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