Embracing innovation and sustainability: the future of the TIC industry

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability are no longer buzzwords; they have become integral to corporate identity.

Sustainability and ESG consulting have been born out of companies’ need for guidance on how to address concerns that are outside their usual scope of work, around climate change, diversity, governance, and human rights.

Both large TICC companies and consultancy firms play a crucial role helping to advice and verify ESG practices.

We see that the TICC market is active in validating ESG practices, which is crucial as it demonstrates that company practices are compliant with the requirements of a particular certification program or an industry standard. Social responsibility (including diversity, philanthropy, ethical labor practices, politics, and public pressure) becomes more and more important. Incorporating good practices in the company policies, such as ‘giving back to society’, becomes the norm. Besides the social aspect, environmental practices are crucial in today’s world as global warming is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Responsible handling and optimization of ESG practices help to improve the reputation and brand of a company.

As each generation becomes more engaged with the issues that will determine the future of the planet, companies are facing growing pressure to address these topics from a range of stakeholders – including employees, consumers, and investors. Regulation is also catching up, requiring increasing levels of cooperation and disclosure from businesses.

Institutional investors are shifting more towards investments in ESG focused companies. Research from PWC expects that ESG-focused institutional investments will rise by 84% reaching $33.9 trillion in 2026, making up 21.5% of all assets under management. In addition, more regulation is expected year over year and with compliance obligations emerging it is crucial for companies to have an active ESG focus.

Within ESG advisory, we see that the last couple of years the number of transactions is increasing. The two buyer groups that are most active are big consultancy firms and TICC companies. Where TICC companies are acquiring targets to offer end-to-end solutions for their customers including ESG advisory. The total M&A activity is high in the TICC market, with 1000 + deals completed over the past 5 years, and the focus on ESG advisory is increasing.

Two noticeable recent transactions conducted by TICC buyers are:

  • The acquisition of Spinnaker Group, a US-based energy efficiency and sustainability consulting firm and respected leader in the green-building movement by Socotec. Strengthening Socotec’s energy and sustainability consulting services, adding to its existing expertise in the field and further promoting its commitment to sustainable development.
  • Blonk, a Dutch-based leading international expert in food system sustainability acquired by Mérieux NutriSciences. Further strengthening and accelerating Merieux’s contribution to the sustainability of food systems.

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