Professional services giant Ernst & Young (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 organisation 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 recognize 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 a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take immediate action to create sustainable, inclusive growth for generations to come.”
Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability-elect and EY UK Chairman, added: “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.”
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.