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What do Environmental Consulting Firms do?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2016
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Environmental consulting firms advise clients about social responsibility and sustainability as it relates to the operations of a business. The more of a focus that the world places on themes such as sustainability, which is caring for the environment in such a way that the needs of future generations will be met, the more important the role of environmental consulting firms becomes. Concerns about the amount of carbon emissions that are emitted into the environment, for instance, introduces a need for an environmental consulting specialist to advise on ways to reduce pollutants. Whether the advice surrounds emissions, water pollution, or nuclear waste, the purpose of an environmental consulting firm is to promote sustainability.

There are various industries where the services of environmental consulting firms become valuable, including real estate. Depending on the region, there are often environmental regulations associated with commercial property. For instance, the soil, ground water, and indoor-air circulation are all subject to standards established by laws in that region. If a business is considering a piece of land for expansion or acquisition, an environmental consultant might assist in the site-selection process. The benefit is that by preparing a piece of land to meet environmental standards from the beginning, a business can save time and money in the long run.

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In regions where nuclear power is used to generate energy, safety will be of the utmost importance. Leaks or spills at a nuclear site may spread radioactive elements into the environment. Consulting firms can be brought on in nuclear-related situations to perform testing and surveying of material, land, and equipment. A consultant will sample soil and water and test it to determine the hazard level. If there is contamination, an environmental consulting specialist will advise on how to remove harmful materials.

Environmental consulting firms are devoted to helping organizations reduce their carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that an entity releases. These pollutants are said to contribute to climate change. A consultant might perform an energy audit and hunt for ways in which individuals and organizations can reduce their carbon footprint.

The use of fossil fuels, for instance, including oil and gas for electricity, would likely be recognized as an inefficiency. Environmental consulting firms might steer organizations towards migrating to renewable forms of energy, including solar and geothermal. Even office supplies can contribute to a carbon footprint if the packaging does not break down efficiently once discarded, and this is another area where a consultant might advise changes.

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