Why set up a consultancy?

by James Stuart, Founding Director of One Planet Consulting

It feels right to start with why, and for those of you familiar with Simon Sinek’s work he would certainly agree. The why – you may prefer to think of it as the purpose that underpins your business – is what drives you, what makes you leap out of bed and is the reason you’ll go above and beyond. In many ways it is the heart of your business; influencing decisions, becoming a big part of your employer brand and shaping your values.

Why: I want to live in a sustainable world.

The root of the why for me lies in the climate and nature emergencies. The world is set on a course of destruction, we overshoot the earth’s resources year on year and we continue to make choices that fail to account for the environment and society around us. What I find even more upsetting, is that the tools exist to address these challenges, to create wealth and to do so in a way that works for people and the planet.

The enormity of the challenge can feel overwhelming as an individual but to paraphrase Pericles “all that it take for evil to flourish is for good men to stand idly by”. I felt I had to do something about it, and more specifically I had to do something that has a scale of impact.

I have been involved in a few projects over the last year that have helped to precipitate my decision to set up One Planet Consulting. I’ve been part of the leadership group for the £1Bn Conservation Finance project, been supporting the refresh of the Scottish tourism strategy – Outlook 2030 – and have taken on a project to refresh the Marine Tourism strategy, launching Giant Strides in March.

I hugely enjoyed working with senior leaders and stakeholders to explore challenges, to connect agendas, to innovate, to unlock collective impact and to drive change and I loved the prospect of the scale of impact that the work could lead to.

So whilst the why has it roots in the climate and nature emergencies, the how lies in a reconciliation of my talents and passions set against a means to achieve scale of impact.

How: Supporting and informing senior leaders to develop sustainable sector and business strategies.

I have drawn my interests, talents and passions together by setting out to work with sector and industry leaders to drive change, to innovate and to help them to become truly sustainable. By focusing on industry sectors – like tourism – and businesses I can help to achieve scale of impact and by capturing and sharing lessons from these projects and collaborations I can support even greater change.

So it felt right to set up a consultancy, to accept the challenges of running your own business and to act rather than sit by and watch as the world continues on its current course. This decision was only the beginning. What was I going to call the company? What should the logo look like? And of course what will I offer to do?

What: A blend of strategic research and consultancy services.

In answering the what, I’ve chosen to focus on a few key areas of activity

  • Supporting strategic thinking and formal strategy development for sectors and businesses.
  • Strategic input and leadership to pilot projects where bigger lessons are being sought.
  • Strategic input and leadership to scaling pilot projects to drive bigger returns/impact.
  • Strategic input and leadership support to embedding change
  • Unlocking Collective Impact

These can be explored in much greater depth on the services and case studies pages of the website.

Picking a name and a Logo

The company name – One Planet Consulting – has been inspired by a simple concept; that we must develop business, sector, societal and economic models that are compatible with only one planet.

This is a core principle of Kate Raworth’s tremendous work on Doughnut Economics where an “ecological ceiling” is described along with a “social foundation”. The foundation must be sound and the ceiling – the replenishable resources of a single planet – cannot be exceed for us to operate in the “safe and just space for humanity”.

Our logo draws on these ideas with the three elements of sustainability and a triple bottom line being represented by the green (environment), the blue (society) and grey (economy) and being brought together within a one planet boundary inspired by doughnut economics.

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