Jon Ragatz Consulting Since 1999  
  GREEN & SUSTAINABLE CONNECTIONS  
 
   

Please note that the following links are no longer being regularly updated. Click on the links below for:

Going Green in Your Home

Green Building/Eco Dwelling

Health and Natural Living

ISO 14001 and the Global Reporting Initiative

Natural and Organic Consumer Products

Natural and Renewable Energy

Social Investing

Sustainable Media

Sustainable Education

Sustainable Consumers and Consumption

Sustainability Calculators

Other Sustainable Businesses, Organizations and Topics

 

Going Green in Your Home

This site offers some good suggestions on greening your home, practical things you can do at little or no cost that will make you feel better and help the environment, too. Thanks to Jamie for suggesting this link as part of her Science Fair Project for school: www.bbcleaningservice.com/get-clean-go-green.html

Guide to Home Energy Efficiency from HomeIntelligence provides helpful tips on saving home energy and buying greener homes. homeintelligence.ca/2013/04/03/guide-to-home-energy-efficiency/

Home Advisor offers these suggestions for reducing your home's energy consumption, thus reducing the stress on society and the environment. Thanks to the Girl Scouts at Lexington Middle School (who just earned their "Go Green" badges) for suggesting this lwww.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Going-Green-in-Your-Home.17326.html

Natural, Organic and Fair Trade Consumer Products

Alter Eco USA (San Francisco, CA) Alter Eco sells Fair Trade packaged food products throughout the world. Their mission statement says: We believe that Fair Trade is a viable and successful alternative to conventional commerce. This business model will gradually close the gap between rich and poor, so-called developing countries and industrialized countries. www.alterecofoods.com

Amy's Kitchen (Santa Rosa, CA) is a family business named after the founders' daughter, Amy. They are totally committed to producing truly delicious, easily prepared vegetarian meals made with natural and organic ingredients. Their products include pizza, frozen entrees, pasta sauces and soups. www.amyskitchen.com

Annie's Homegrown is the second-largest brand of macaroni and cheese in the U.S. with a natural and organic product line that includes 13 different varieties of totally natural macaroni and cheese, five tasty pasta meals, four canned macs, and a microwave macaroni and cheese that's simply fast and simply delicious. www.annies.com

Aveda is a natural cosmetics, health and beauty aid brand. Aveda believes in conducting business in a manner that protects the Earth, conserves resources and does not compromise the ability of future generations to sustain themselves. Their mission positions Aveda as a catalyst for awareness and change at individual and collective levels. Aveda is quietly owned by Estee Lauder. www.aveda.com/home.asp

Balance Bars (owned by Kraft) are based on the 40-30-30 nutritional philosophy - a diet high in protein with moderate carbs. www.balance.com

Barbara's Bakery (Petaluma, CA) makes all-natural cereals and snacks that not only taste good, they're made from the finest natural ingredients like organic grains and expeller-pressed high-oleic oils. Barbara's never uses artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, refined white sugar or hydrogenated oils. Barbara's is owned by an English company that makes Wheetabix cereal. Their products are yummy! www.barbarasbakery.com

Celestial Seasonings is the largest manufacturer and marketer of specialty hot teas in the United States, now part of The Hain Celestial Group (and partially owned by Heinz). www.celestialseasonings.com

Ecomall.com lets you shop on-line for earth-friendly products and has many useful links. ww.ecomall.com

The Endangered Species Chocolate Company - "where your deepest chocolate cravings and your environmental conscience can be satisfied in a single bite". This is a truly delicious product line (now the leading natural chocolate in the US), developed by a remarkable, understated entrepreneur (founder Jon Stocking, who in 2005 sold the company to The Raintree Group LLC of Indianapolis, IN) with a simple goal: to use chocolate as a medium to spread a positive environmental message. Under Jon's guidance, 10% of their profits were donated to environmental organizations that protect endangered animals and their habitats. Try these chocolates! www.chocolatebar.com

Fantastic Foods (Napa, CA) is one of the nation’s leading natural foods companies, offering delicious and innovative vegetarian food choices to consumers across the country for over 25 years. Widely recognized for vegetarian, all-natural and convenient meal solutions, Fantastic Foods produces more than 90 products.
www.fantasticfoods.com

Fetzer Vineyards (Hopland, Mendocino County, CA) produces a wide range of wines produced in a sustainable manner, and is the largest grower of organic wine grapes in the United States. Their goal is to be 100% organic by 2010. www.fetzer.com Among their current organic wines is Bonterra, a brand committed to creating world-class wines that are a direct reflection of the organic vineyards in which they grow. Each varietal is a unique, individual expression of organically grown fruit and the winemaker's art. www.bonterra.com

Greenhome.com is a store that sells environmental products. They've got articles to help you go green, an online magazine, and a rigorous product approval policy about the environmentally friendly products they sell. www.greenhome.com

Horizon Organic (now part of Dean Foods, the largest dairy company in the US) provides delicious, wholesome, certified organic dairy products, produced without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, or dangerous pesticides. www.horizonorganic.com

Jason Natural Cosmetics (Los Angeles, CA) is a leading brand of "pure, natural and organic" health and beauty aid products. www.jason-natural.com

Leaf Cuisine Leaf Cuisine is a restaurant featuring raw, organic, vegan, Kosher foods in the Los Angeles area (two locations). www.leafcuisine.com

Maggie's Organics (Ypsilanti, MI ) Since 1992, Maggie's has found a way to make a living doing what they love; providing comfy, basic, durable clothing and accessories, making them affordable, and all the while supporting our beliefs and values in integrity, social responsibility, humility, sustainability and fun. Sellers of organic clothing including shirts, socks, camisoles, bedding and fabric. www.maggiesorganics.com

Organic Bouquet is the first national distributor of organic flowers. Their seasonal bouquets are available in natural and other quality food stores, such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe's...and online. organicbouquet.com

Organic Valley is the brand name for leading organic dairy products and meats marketed by the largest farmer's cooperative in North America. They began in 1988 as a small, organic farming cooperative, the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool (CROPP) and now have nationwide distribution. www.organicvalley.com

Redwood Hill Farm (Sebastopol, CA) is committed to producing the best tasting, least processed goat milk products available anywhere. As a family farm in Sonoma County, they utilize a natural approach to animal husbandry to produce fine farmstead goat cheese and delicious goat milk yogurt.www.redwoodhill.com

Republic of Tea (Novato, CA) states their "purpose is to enrich people's lives through the experience of fine tea and the Sip by Sip life - a life of health, balance and well-being. www.republicoftea.com

Seeds of Change (owned by Mars, the candy and pet food company) grows and sells seeds of all kinds, as well as various consumer packaged foods. "Goodness from the ground up". www.seedsofchange.com

Small Planet Foods (General Mills) sells "food that matters", with brands including Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen. www.cfarm.com

Spectrum Organic Products (Petaluma, CA) is the leader in organic and natural culinary and nutritional oils. They market Spectrum Naturals cooking oils, spreads, condiments and dressings, and Spectrum Essentials essential fatty acid (EFA) oils. Part of the Hain Celestial Group. www.spectrumnaturals.com

Straus Family Creamery (Marshall, CA) is a family-owned and operated organic creamery in Northern California dedicated to taking care of the land, their animals and reducing waste. They feature some of the highest quality dairy products on the market using the simplest and purest ingredients available. Their milk comes in traditional glass bottles and their newest product is delicious organic ice cream. www.strausmilk.com

Sunridge Farms (Santa Cruz, CA) manufactures and distributes bulk organic & natural foods, featuring the largest worldwide selection of bulk trail mixes, confections and snacks. www.sunridgefarms.com

Thai Kitchen (Emeryville, CA) was founded in 1989 when Seth Jacobson made his first trip to Asia. It was during this first trip to Thailand that he fell in love with the land, the people and the cuisine. Today, Thai Kitchen has over 45 products and is sold in 50 states, Canada and 9 countries in Europe. Thai Kitchen can be found on the shelves of gourmet food shops, natural food stores, green grocers, ethnic markets and grocery stores and is the number one imported brand of Thai food in the world. www.thaikitchen.com

Traditional Medicinals (Sebastopol, CA) was the first marketer of medicinal herb teas in the US and has been offering consumers healthful choices for almost 30 years. www.traditionalmedicinals.com

Wallaby Yogurt Company (American Canyon, Napa, CA) produces a premium organic lowfat yogurt styled after European and Australian yogurts. They start with the best natural ingredients: Fresh organic BST-free milk and loads of quality organic fruit. www.wallabyyogurt.com

Whole Foods Market is the leading natural products retailer in the US. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Natural and Renewable Energy

Greening Schools provides a list of alternative energy sources along with projects and links provided by the EPA and the Waste Management and Research Center. It is a good source for teachers and students in particular- http://istc013.istc.illinois.edu/resources/view_cat_admin.cfm?id=2

Cooperative Community Energy (CCEnergy) is a northern California based buyer's cooperative providing quality renewable energy equipment and service to our members at reasonable prices. They are doing this through: Aggregating the buying power of people and communities;
Harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of existing renewable energy consumers and businesses; Providing the means to gather and share information for everyone's benefit;
Mobilizing solar industry and consumer political power. www.cooperativecommunityenergy.com

The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. www.dsireusa.org

Mr Solar is a complete, on-line source for solar power products and advice. This map of the US shows how much solar power can be generated in each area. www.mrsolar.com/faq/insol/usa.htm

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is a collaboration of utilities, energy service providers and the photovoltaic industry working together to create and encourage commercial use of new solar electric power business models. SEPA helps to establish standards for fotovoltaic systems and their interconnection to the utility grid, hosts cross-industry workshops, and manages educational and outreach campaigns.
www.solarelectricpower.org

The Solar Living Institute is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes sustainable living through inspirational environmental education www.solarliving.org

 

ISO 14001 and the Global Reporting Initiative

ISO 14001 is an international standard that specifies a process for controlling and improving a company's environmental performance. Google and other search engines provide lots of valuable links. One is BSI: www.bsiamericas.com/Environment/Overview/WhatisISO14001.xalter

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a multi-stakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. www.globalreporting.org

Green Building/Eco Dwelling

 

 

"Green" Hotels are properties whose managers are eager to institute programs that save water, save energy and reduce solid waste--while saving money--to help PROTECT OUR ONE AND ONLY EARTH! www.greenhotels

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Members of the U.S. Green Building Council representing all segments of the building industry developed LEED and continue to contribute to its evolution. www.usgbc.org/leed/leed_main.asp

The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. www.usgbc.org/

Health and Natural Living

Gaiam for information on health and "natural living", see www.gaiam.com

Healthwell.com is a source of health information. They also publish Delicious Living magazine which is distributed free by many retailers like Whole Foods.

 

Social Investing

Parnassus Investments serves the growing community of investors who believe their assets should be chosen with a conscience as well as financial savvy. Before they invest, they diligently research all aspects of a company's operations to determine whether they meet their social investment criteria (listed on the site) and have good prospects for future earnings. This unique approach to investing coupled with the solid performance of their funds prompted the media to dub Parnassus "the mutual fund company that does well by doing good."www.parnassus.com

Rocky Mountain Institute is an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization that fosters the efficient and restorative use of natural, human and other capital to make the world more secure, just, prosperous, and life sustaining. We do this by inspiring business, civil society, and government to design integrative solutions that create true wealth. www.rmi.org

The Social Investment Forum site offers comprehensive information, contacts & resources on socially responsible investing. www.socialinvest.org

SocialFunds.com features over 10,000 pages of information on SRI mutual funds, community investments, corporate research, shareowner actions, and daily social investment news.
Socially Responsible Investing is the act of making investment decisions to achieve social as well as a financial return. Together a social and financial return are often described as a "double bottom line." The three main strategies of socially responsible investing (SRI) include screening, community investing, and shareholder activism. www.socialfunds.com

Trillium Asset Management Corporation has been the leader in socially responsible investing for over 20 years. They are guided by a belief that active investing can offer good returns to the investor, while also promoting social and economic justice. Trillium Asset Management is an independent employee-owned firm, dedicated to professional, high quality, individualized service for their valued clients.
www.trilliuminvest.com

Sustainable Media

Delicious Living Magazine www.healthwell.com

Greenjournal.com is a free environmental news report www.greenjournal.com

Green Living Magazine (formerly Green Shopping Magazine) provides many on-line articles on topics of interest. www.ecomall.com/greenshopping

Health magazine www.health.com

Hightower Lowdown website has a daily outpouring of "Hightowerisms" from Jim Hightower (radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author), including his commentary of the day. Many helpful and informative links are also available. www.jimhightower.com

KPFA radio, founded in 1949, was the first community supported radio station in the US. It broadcasts on 94.1 FM and KPFB 89.3 FM, Berkeley, and KFCF 88.1 FM, Fresno, CA, reaching one third of the state. www.kpfa.org

Mambo Sprouts provides co-op direct mail and in-store couponing programs (for example, at Whole Foods) for health and natural products. It is a great way to reach natural products consumers. Also see their on-line newsletter. www.mambosprouts.com

Mother Jones, founded in 1976, is an independent, nonprofit magazine whose roots lie in a commitment to social justice, with a 2003 circulation of 175,000 www.motherjones.com

NPR, national public radio, serves a growing audience of 21 million Americans each week via more than 730 public radio stations and the Internet and in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable. In its 30 years on the air, NPR has won virtually every major journalism award for its news and cultural programming. www.npr.org

New Hope, publishers of Natural Food Merchandiser and other magazines: www.newhope.com

Natural Products Industry Insider is a publisher of trade magazines, a producer of trade shows, and a source of industry news and information. www.naturalproductsinsider.com

Real Simple Magazine helps simplify life and lives. www.realsimple.com

Self Magazine www.self.com

Shape Magazine www.shape.com

Terrain.org is an on-line journal of the Built & Natural Environments updated twice yearly searching for that interface—the integration—among the built and natural environments, that might be called the soul of place www.terrain.org

UTNE Magazine, founded in 1984 by Eric Utne, reprints the best articles from over 2,000 alternative media sources bringing you the latest ideas and trends emerging in our culture... Provocative writing from diverse perspectives... Insightful analysis of art and media... Down-to-earth news and resources you can use... In-depth coverage of compelling people and issues that affect your life... The best of the alternative media. www.utne.com

Whole Foods Magazine has product information and news emphasis of particular interest to natural products retailers, with in-depth coverage each month of the products sold in this industry. www.wfcinc.com

Yoga Journal Magazine www.yogajournal.com

 

Sustainable Education

 

Dominican University of California in San Rafael, offers the nation’s first accredited Green MBA program for pioneering adults with strong environmental and social values who want to be effective change agents. The program integrates rigorous business skills courses with eco-literacy, ecology of business, critical thinking and leadership skills training, designed to create new leaders who will transform business to be a vehicle for social change. www.greenmba.com and www.dominican.edu

The Graduation Pledge Alliance. "I,_____ , pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work." Contains an jobs and internship link. www.graduationpledge.org

Environmental Science Degree Accredited Programs and information: http://www.environmentalsciencedegree.com/

 

Sustainable Consumers and Consumption

This website is by, for and about the Cultural Creatives. This "group" cares deeply about: ecology and saving the planet; relationships, peace, social justice; and self actualization, spirituality and self-expression. As of the year 2000, there were 50 million adults in the United States and 80-90 million adults in the European Union who have the worldview, values and lifestyle of the Cultural Creatives. This site provides detailed demographic and psychographic information about Cultural Creatives and a link for buying Paul Ray's book. www.culturalcreatives.org

A basic review of environmentally friendly cars, from hybrids to biodiesel to natural gas powered vehicles. http://www.cheapcarinsurance.net/the-environmentally-friendly-car/

EnviroCitizen.org strives to deliver everything you could possibly want that's green along with tons of information, complemented by a strong sense of community. They hope you will check EnviroCitizen.org first when searching for anything green. http://www.envirocitizen.org/

Green Automotive Alternatives Eco-friendly transportation is gaining in popularity, with hybrids, electric, and plug-in cars becoming more readily available than ever. Alternative fuels are also gaining ground-ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas, and biodiesel are all viable options. This site, from Automotive Touch-up (car painting specialists), and contributed by the Creative Girls Adventure Book Club, outlines some of the basic alternatives and may help you learn about a better alternative for you and your family. http://www.automotivetouchup.com/touch-up-paint/green-is-more-than-a-paint-color-for-cars

Green Furniture Guide helps shoppers looking for eco-friendly furniture. http://www.sofasandsectionals.com/green-furniture-guide

Thegreenoffice.com promotes "business as usual, naturally". Founded by a graduate of the Green MBA program, it is a company designed to promote sustainability in the workplace. Their products are labeled and ranked by greenness, taking the research out of responsible shopping. You'll find a range of tools, services, tips and information making office greening easy and cost effective. Customers enjoy great low prices, free shipping over $49, and next day delivery on orders placed before 3:00 p.m.www.thegreenoffice.com

GreenerPrinter.com provides environmentally friendly printing services, featuring New Leaf Paper and Climate Cool shipping. GreenerPrinter.com printing services are provided by TulipXPress, a 15-year-old printing company based in Berkeley, California, with a strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Tulip's state-of-the-art digital facilities have been certified as a Green Business by the Association of Bay Area Governments. And GreenerPrinter.com customers can take comfort in knowing that the climate impact of shipping finished print jobs is offset 100% through investments in WindBuilders and Green Tags and is certified as Climate Cool™ by the Climate Neutral Network as having a net-zero impact on the earth’s climate. With every print job you can receive an Environmental Benefits Statement, detailing the environmental savings of your printing as a result of using New Leaf Paper. www.greenerprinter.com/grp/welcome.do

Recycling 101 is a website that helps you find recylcing centers near where you live and provides basic information on recycling by type of material. http://earth911.com/recycling/

 

 

 

Sustainability Calculators

40mpg.org is working to make 40 miles per gallon the standard for all automobiles in the United States. The benefits are obvious: we reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil, making us more secure; we lower the carbon emissions into the atmosphere that contribute to global warming; and we put America's technology community to work on these important problems, creating jobs, ensuring that the U.S. leads in the development and sale of new technologies. Their site is updated weekly and contains a fuel and hydrocarbon savings calculator you can use to estimate the savings you'd get vs. your present vehicle, if it could get 40 and 50 mpg. www.40mpg.org

 

 

Other Sustainable Businesses, Organizations and Topics

Bioneers An educational nonprofit that strengthens and expands networks of practical visionaries working on behalf of the environment and people. They spread solutions-oriented stories — including both ecological models and social strategies — for restoring the earth. They hold an annual conference in October (2003 is in Marin County, CA) open to members and non-members. www.bioneers.org

bluesign® standard sets new standards for a successful textile industry. The declared objective of the independent bluesign® standard is to put a reliable and proactive tool at the disposal of the entire textile production chain – from raw material and component suppliers who manufacture e.g. yarns, dyes and additives, to textile manufacturers, to retailer and brand companies, to consumers. www.bluesign.com

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) is a global organization that helps member companies achieve success in ways that respect ethical values, people, communities and the environment. BSR provides information, tools, training and advisory services to make corporate social responsibility an integral part of business operations and strategies. A nonprofit organization, BSR promotes cross sector collaboration and contributes to global efforts to advance the field of corporate social responsibility. www.bsr.org

CERES is the leading U.S. coalition of environmental, investor, and advocacy groups working together for a sustainable future. It includes companies that have committed to continuous environmental improvement by endorsing the CERES Principles, a ten-point code of environmental conduct. It provides a common ground where groups with widely different backgrounds, assumptions, and visions find concrete solutions to today's environmental challenges. www.ceres.org

Digital Hive a website developmentcompany. www.digitalhive.biz

Earthsite.net is a design collective consisting of several design and technology professionals. They work with nonprofit organizations and sustainable businesses to make strategic use of communications and web technologies. www.earthsite.net

EcoHost Marketing is an Internet Service Provider which aims to help sustainable businesses and nonprofit organizations realize their web marketing goals. EcoHost Marketing provides web marketing, search engine/usability optimization, and web hosting services to companies, organizations and individuals that are making a difference in the world. www.ecohost.org

EcoISP is an Internet Service Provider which targets eco consumers and donates 50% of the profits from your subscriber fees to an environmental group of your choice. Their home page has current environmental news and helpful direct link. www.ecoisp.com

The Foundation for Global Community is a nonprofit educational organization, dedicated to reconnecting people, the planet, and prosperity. Recognizing that natural, social, and economic systems are all parts of a single interconnected whole, the Foundation has been promoting cultural change, facilitating personal development, and strengthening community connections for over 50 years.www.globalcommunity.org

Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize global warming and ozone depletion. Green Seal has no financial interest in the products that it certifies or recommends nor in any manufacturer or company. Green Seal's evaluations are based on state-of-the-art science and information using internationally recognized methods and procedures. Thus, Green Seal provides credible, objective, and unbiased information whose only purpose is to direct the purchaser to environmentally responsible products and services. www.greenseal.org

Green America, See their on-line "green pages" for better shopping choices www.greenpages.org and the green festivals they organize in several places around the country www.greenfestivals.com

Gauger + Associates (San Francisco) is a very good advertising, promotions and branding agency that specializes in natural products. Visit their site for an impressive list of clients and samples of their award-winning, market-proven work. www.gauger-associates.com

Greenbiz.com bills itself as a resource center on business, the environment and the bottom line. Links to helpful articles, businesses, and jobs. www.greenbiz.com

Oasis Sales and Marketing (Sebastapol, CA) lets smaller manufacturers outsource sales and marketing of natural and organic food products. Larger companies like Blue Diamond also turn to OS&M for assistance with sales to this channel. www.oasissalesandmarketing.com

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America. OTA's mission is to encourage global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade.
www.ota.com/index.html

The Sonoma Green Business Program began as a voluntary compliance program for the automotive industry. It now includes the Graphic Arts Industries and Wineries. Currently there are approximately 150 businesses in Sonoma County who participate in this program.www.sonoma-county.org/eservice/green.htm

The Sustainable Careers Information Gateway is a wide-ranging library and collection of links on work ethics and options, education, and career counseling to create a society that is more democratic, just, humane and ecologically sustainable. www.sustainablecareers.com

The Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to bringing about increased understanding of, and commitment to, the concept of sustainability within business and communities worldwide. SBI was founded in 1994 by business leaders who recognize sustainability as a strategic driver for enhanced competitiveness and profitability. SBI continues to serve today's most influential decision-makers, corporate executives and future leaders with conferences, seminars, media and education initiatives and user group programs.www.sustainablebusiness.org

Vestergaard-Frandsen are creators of innovative, lifesaving products like the amazing Lifestraw, Permanet, and Zero-fly. www.vestergaard-frandsen.com

ViewCraft specializes in Information CartographySM and its applications to navigating complex systems. Simply defined, it is a method through which complex systems are visually rendered to facilitate comprehension. In this world of accelerated change, organizations and communities increasingly need ways for finding direction, creating paths towards sustainability and communicating the journey with clear understanding. www.viewcraft.com

The World Business Academy is founded on the understanding that business is the dominant institution in society today and the one most capable of responding to rapid change. As such, business must adopt a new tradition of responsibility for the whole. It must do this by defining business interests within the wider perspective of society in order to create a positive and sustainable future. www.worldbusiness.org


 

 
   
RETURN
 
 

Contact me

2000-2017 Jon Ragatz Consulting