EY has announced plans to be carbon neutral by the end of 2020, by both reducing and offsetting its carbon emissions. The commitment reflects the EY focus toward becoming a more sustainable by improving environmental performance and driving long-term, sustainable growth
To achieve carbon neutrality, EY will focus on areas including reducing travel emissions, sustainable procurement practices and purchasing more renewable energy to power EY offices, for example wind or solar energy. It will also purchase carbon credits to offset the EY carbon footprint and invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere, for example reforestation projects.
In addition to the work it is undertaking to achieve carbon neutrality, EY is also expanding its global sustainability strategy which will focus on helping clients innovate and use technology to reduce their own carbon emissions, while driving sustainable economic growth.
Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO says, "Protecting the planet for future generations is an important issue for EY people and becoming carbon neutral this year is a real step forward on the EY sustainability journey. As an organisation that spans more than 150 countries, with varying views and ambitions on climate change, we recognise this is no easy feat. However, with over 284,000 EY people who are dedicated to our purpose of building a better working world, EY has an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take immediate action to create sustainable, inclusive growth for generations to come."
The announcement elevates action that EY has already taken to reduce its environmental impact including:
Designed its environmental strategy in alignment with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) environmental principles, including measurement and reporting of the EY carbon footprint over the past 10 years.
Issued a global environmental statement in financial year (FY) 18, setting the expectation that the global EY network bears a collective responsibility to minimise its environmental impact.
Between FY17 – FY19, EY decreased office energy emissions by over 11% while continuing to grow its business, resulting in a 25% reduction in energy emissions per full-time employee (FTE).
Over the past 15 years, its market-leading EY Climate Change and Sustainability Practice has supported EY clients' decarbonisation and sustainability journeys by helping them implement a range of solutions crossing sustainability, supply chains and reporting.
Played a leading role in the World Economic Forum's International Business Council and developed a core set of common metrics and disclosures on non-financial factors to their investors and other stakeholders.
Introduced a global supplier code of conduct and procurement environmental criteria to improve the sustainability of products and services.
Collaborated with hotel suppliers to reduce waste, emissions and water use from EY people.
EY people have dedicated time and skills to accelerate environmental sustainability through the EY Ripples program and helped scale nearly 100 impact enterprises focused on critical socio-environmental issues.
Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability-elect and EY UK Chairman says, "EY has the potential to become a world leader in sustainable business and becoming carbon neutral is an important step toward making that a reality. By supporting a culture of disruptive innovation, EY can find creative solutions that address global environmental challenges and drive growth that is truly sustainable. EY people are a driving force behind our focus on the environment and have sent a clear message that we must work together to build a more sustainable and better working world for EY clients and communities."
In addition, EY around the world is already focused on sustainable solutions. EY US entered into a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) to finance and construct two large scale Texas wind farms to become 100% renewable in 2020. Meanwhile, EY UK is currently in the process of contracting directly with a solar farm developer and seeking to sign a 10-year agreement for 100% of its UK power demand. EY in India has planted 1 million trees since 2010 and in a number of countries, including in Costa Rica, EY has already achieved carbon neutrality. Through EY Ripples, EY people have worked with impact entrepreneurs to help scale a variety of environmental enterprises around the world including bringing clean, affordable energy to off-grid families in Sierra Leone and providing solar power for communities in Kenya.