The Next Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
The global environmental goods and services (EGS) sector has been estimated to reach in 2010 a staggering $635 billion, representing an impressive growth of 45 percent over the past five years. By 2020, it could reach the one trillion dollar mark. Consultancy related to EGS contributes some 5 percent to the total, good for $32.7 billion today, ranging from advise on renewable energy, waste minimization, eco-design, carbon trading and undertaking Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies. The market is expected to growth to $45 billion by 2015 representing a huge opportunity for employment and entrepreneurship. At present the EU, US and Japan are estimated to account for 94 percent of the global market. Whereas the UK companies seem to have a strong position amongst the EU players, the Scandinavian consultancies thrive on their decades of their countries' pioneering environmental policies and a broad demand for technological innovations.
French law prescribes that effective 2011, all products sold in France must have an environmental product declaration (EPD), spurring further turnover in environmental consultancies, especially on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA consultancy offers a comprehensive way to calculate environmental impact. This supports purchasing decisions and permits the consumers to link ecological results with their intention to buy. It is expected that more members of the EU will pursue the same strategy as France. This will stimulate an even stronger growth in the development of consultancy companies.
Enterprises like ERM, RPS, Environ and WSP emerged over the past decade with +1,000 experts each on the payroll, and dozens of offices spread around the world. The UK alone lists +600 companies that offer environmental consultancy services, and at least 75 have branch offices outside the British Isles. The UK – one of the few countries to gather detailed statistics on this growing business – estimates that in 2009 its companies were involved in more than 242,000 global contracts, with +60 percent originating from outside the UK.