EY aims to become fully carbon neutral by year's end

11 February 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Global professional services giant EY has announced plans for the firm to become fully carbon neutral by the close of 2020. Carbon offsetting and the reduction of workplace emissions will see the company look to build sustainable growth in the future.

Sustainability has moved rapidly up the corporate agenda in the last 10 years. According to recent research, 81% of companies say that sustainability is more important today than it was five years ago, while 85% say that it will be more important still in another five years.

In a bid to keep pace with clients who increasingly value purpose alongside profit, members of the global management consulting industry have rapidly sought to render themselves carbon neutral. According to Bain & Company, the firm is one of the very few players at the top of the consultancy industry to operate completely 100% carbon neutral, while late in 2019, global management consultancy BearingPoint announced that the global travel of its consultants and staff is now CO2-neutral, following the launch of a massive carbon-offsetting initiative.

EY aims to become fully carbon neutral by year's end

In a bid to emulate these earlier examples, Big Four firm EY has announced an ambitious plan to make its global operations carbon neutral by the close of 2020. EY intends to do this by both reducing and offsetting its carbon emissions. The commitment reflects the company's focus toward becoming a more sustainable organisation in future by improving environmental performance and driving long-term, sustainable growth.

Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, said, “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 a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take immediate action to create sustainable, inclusive growth for generations to come.”

To achieve carbon neutrality, EY is set to 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 its carbon footprint and invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere (for example, reforestation projects). It 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.

The Big Four professional services firms of Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG are having to make a particularly concerted effort with regards to boosting their sustainability efforts. Following a number of accounting scandals like Carillion being linked to the quartet, as well as the Panama Papers having revealed their role in helping clients shift wealth to tax havens which foster damaging environmental policies – the firms are each having to take major steps to restore their reputations among clients. At the turn of the year, this also saw EY launch its Better Begins With You programme to promote community and sustainability work by its staff.