Anthesis Emerges As A Serious Contender In The Global Sustainability Consulting Market

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Anthesis Emerges As A Serious Contender In The Global Sustainability Consulting Market

Despite being founded just eight years ago, through a string of 13 acquisitions and a recent investment from Palatine private equity, Anthesis Group has now earned the right to position itself as a genuine contender in the global climate change and sustainability consulting market. The firm has more than 600 employees located in 25 offices across 16 countries including Brazil, China, Columbia and United Arab Emirates. Anthesis now has the organizational resources, financial backing, digital expertise and project track record to compete with the likes of Deloitte, ERM and McKinsey.

The transformation of Anthesis into a global player with scale has accelerated in the last two years. Firstly, the firm merged with Barcelona-headquartered Lavola which approximately doubled the size of the business as it added 200 employees to the combined entity. Secondly, with the March 2021 investment from Palatine’s Buyout Fund Anthesis provided a liquidity event in the range of £10 million to £30 million for some shareholders of firms it had acquired in the past. At the end of 2019, 70% of share capital was owned by Anthesis employees. For growth, Palatine’s Impact Fund also made a multi-million-pound investment – in the £5 million to £10 million range – in Anthesis. The Anthesis team chose Palatine over other private equity firms due to its exclusive focus on ‘businesses that can create a clear positive impact on society or the environment’. Anthesis reported net revenues of £27.7 million for the year ending December 31, 2019. The third element of Anthesis’ transition over the last two years has been the expansion of its portfolio of digital tools. The portfolio includes SCATTER which provides city-wide GHG emissions reporting, Vastum which is a digital waste tracking tool and RiskHorizon used in due diligence to identify ESG risks.

As financial markets participants continue to push climate change and ESG issues up the corporate agenda, Anthesis is well-positioned to benefit from a wave of investment in sustainability initiatives. The firm’s ability to operationalize ESG and sustainability plans – the ‘sustainability activator’ role as Anthesis CEO Stuart McLachlan describes it – with digital tools and implementation services will be a key ingredient in the firm’s future success. The mission-driven impact strategy and recent B-Corp Certification enhance the firm’s positioning with like-minded clients. There is no doubt that the climate change and sustainability consulting market is a hot space. In November 2020, Willis Towers Watson acquired Acclimatise and in March 2021, McKinsey acquired Vivid Economics and Planetrics to enhance its sustainability and climate change expertise.

David Metcalfe


David is the CEO of Verdantix and co-founded the firm in 2008. Based on his 20 years of experience in technology strategy and research roles he provides guidance on digital strategies to C-level executives at technology providers, partners at private equity firms and function heads at large corporations. His current focus is on helping clients understand their market opportunity tied to ESG investment trends and their impact on corporate sustainability strategies. During his 12 years running Verdantix – including 4 leading the New York office – he has helped dozens of clients grow their businesses through fund raising, acquisitions and international growth. David was previously SVP Research at Forrester and Head of Analysis & Forecasting at BT. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University and also worked as a Research Associate at the Harvard Business School.