Life as a sustainability consultant is like being in a constant state of romantic courtship as we look for new ways to partner with organizations on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) work. Sometimes it’s a match made in heaven — consultants and brands coalesce and amazing solutions bloom from the partnership. But securing these coveted relationships isn’t always easy. Often, organizations are already in serious relationships with other consultants, or lack the resources to commit to a long-term thing and only want a single project fling.
Yet sustainability consulting remains rewarding work where we can advance ESG efforts across industries. Having lived many lives in my corporate sustainability career — from journalist, to in-house communications lead, to consultant — I know the wooing process, occasional rejection, and triumphant acceptance all too well.
So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day here’s a sonnet I wrote lamenting life as a sustainability consultant, inspired by McDonald’s former VP of Sustainability, Bob Langert’s “Ode to the Sustainability Profession” poem published in GreenBiz late last year. To all my fellow sustainability consultants out there, this one’s for you. Enjoy, and happy Valentine’s Day!
Shall I tell thee of what it is like to be,
Someone beloved yet more often scorned,
A red-headed stepchild of ESG?
An umpteenth email ignored leaves us forlorn.
To work by your side is all that we ask,
Making your life’s work easier to bear,
Stories and strategies no matter the task,
You lack budget, we get it, there’s no need to swear.
Yet when you need us the tables may turn.
Though we’d like to play hard to get,
To win your RFP many hours we may burn.
One day you’ll become us we’re willing to bet,
Lest you forget this always to be true,
Sustainability consultants are people too.