Boardroom Insight

Consulting Sector News and Trends

EY acquires sustainability consulting firm denkstatt

EY denkstatt partner Christian Plas. Photo credit: EY

Professional services giant EY has acquired denkstatt, a Vienna-headquartered sustainability consultancy with high-profile clients such as SwissLife and Heineken. 

Founded in 1993, denkstatt employs about 170 professionals across five countries. The firm has rebranded to EY denkstatt in the wake of the acquisition. Christian Plas, its co-founder and managing partner, now holds the dual role of EY denkstatt partner and head of climate change and sustainability services at EY Austria.

Plas told Boardroom Insight that one focus of the acquisition is to enhance the services his team provides to clients. “The merger of EY and denkstatt aims at taking the quality and reach of sustainability consulting solutions to another level,” he detailed. “This alliance will provide expanded capabilities to meet the growing importance of sustainability issues. The synergy between the expertise of both companies also combines sector-specific experience with deep technical knowhow and comprehension of complex topics.”

Besides Vienna, EY denkstatt also maintains offices in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. This international presence is an important component of the firm’s value proposition that the merger with EY will help enhance, Plas explained. “Clients benefit not only from a broad network in the CEE region, but may be also served worldwide with local support,” the executive told Boardroom Insight. “The multi-perspective approach, made possible by the combined strengths of EY and denkstatt, offers solutions that cover all business areas and are precisely tailored to the complex needs of today.”

One way EY denkstatt plans to tailor its solutions for client needs is by fine-tuning the structure of the consulting teams it assigns to projects. Those teams will be “multidisciplinary and will be formed according to the specific needs of the client,” an official EY announcement explained. The plan is to draw on the expertise of not only EY denkstatt professionals but also experts from other parts of the Big Four firm including its tax, legal and IT consulting practices.

This multidisciplinary approach will enable EY to better address what Plas described as the increasingly cross-departmental, holistic nature of corporate sustainability initiatives. “The growing demand for sustainability consulting services cannot be overlooked,” he said. “Companies are increasingly embracing sustainability as a vital element of their business strategies, a shift largely influenced by the complex array of regulatory requirements. It is becoming clear that a holistic approach is required. From corporate strat­­egy and human resources to tax issues – sustainability is no longer viewed in isolation, but rather integrated into all areas of an enterprise. Particularly complex topics such as biodiversity and the circular economy as well as climate resilience measures are gaining greater significance.”

One of EY denkstatt’s focus areas is helping companies roll out internal decarbonization programs. According to its website, the firm’s consultants can help an organization set the objectives of a sustainability initiative, develop a roadmap for meeting those objectives and measure project progress. EY denkstatt also assists clients with the hands-on implementation tasks involved in such initiatives.

Companies’ decarbonization efforts increasingly extend beyond their immediate business operations to their supply chains. According to EY denkstatt, its work includes projects in which it helps organizations ensure their suppliers align with sustainability goals. The firm is also active in several adjacent areas including circular economy consulting, which emphasizes product recycling, and sustainable mobility.