EY has announced an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021 by setting targets to significantly reduce its absolute emissions and removing and offsetting more carbon than it emits. In a new statement on sustainability, EY set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but to reduce total emissions by 40% – consistent with a science-based target – and achieve net zero in 2025.
The EY commitment to sustainability is an integral part of its NextWave strategy and ambition to create long-term value for all stakeholders. Launched in FY20, the NextWave strategy supports the EY purpose of building a better working world.
This new ambition builds on the global organization’s achievement of carbon neutrality in December 2020 and underscores the EY commitment to the environment and to driving long-term, sustainable growth. Key elements of the ambition include:
- Reducing business travel emissions by 35% by FY25 against a FY19 baseline.
- Reducing overall office electricity usage and procuring 100% renewable energy for remaining EY needs, earning membership to the RE100, a group of influential organizations committed to renewable power, by FY25.
- Structuring electricity supply contracts, through virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs), to introduce more electricity than EY consumes into national grids.
- Providing EY teams with tools that enable them to calculate, then work to reduce, the amount of carbon emitted when carrying out EY client work.
- Using nature-based solutions and carbon-reduction technologies to remove from the atmosphere or offset more carbon than EY emits, every year.
- Investing in services and solutions that help EY clients profitably decarbonize their businesses and provide solutions to other sustainability challenges and opportunities.
- Requiring 75% of EY suppliers, by spend, to set science-based targets by no later than FY25.
Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:
“We believe that combatting climate change is a vital element of building a better working world. While this challenge is unique and different for each organization, we are inspired by those that are setting ambitious targets despite the difficulties they face. EY people are passionate about tackling big challenges and with the power of 300,000 of them, we will not only transform EY to become a leader in sustainability, but also help EY clients do the same.”
New sustainable solutions to help EY clients reach their goals
Alongside the work it is undertaking to become more sustainable, EY teams are developing a new set of global sustainability solutions for EY clients aimed at helping them on their own sustainability journeys. The solutions will be focused around value-led sustainability, helping EY clients capture the business opportunities from sustainability and decarbonization, while also protecting and creating value. This follows the approach EY teams have taken to achieve these sustainability targets and carbon negative ambition.
Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability, says:
“EY has set this ambition because it is increasingly clear that, collectively, we need to do even more to help avert a climate change disaster. EY people are proud that we met our ambition to become carbon neutral in 2020. Inspired by them and others undertaking major steps, we challenged ourselves to go further, faster. We are deeply concerned about the science and what that means for our planet. We believe that becoming carbon negative in 2021 and net zero in 2025, reducing our emissions in line with a science-based target, is the right ambition to have. We realize that these challenges are different and more difficult for certain industries. That is why there are also investments in new solutions and services to help EY clients protect and create value from becoming more sustainable too.”
EY is continuing to invest in technology and transform its business, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that many of the changes that have been implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will help EY achieve its sustainability ambitions by helping EY teams learn and implement new ways of working, and EY will continue to innovate and utilize the best of these. For example, during the pandemic EY teams worked with both clients and EY organizations to help implement workplace changes, including flexible working and increased use of remote working technologies, which are expected to contribute to reductions in business travel. EY is also working closely with airline and hospitality clients to achieve this goal and find innovative solutions.
This announcement follows other actions EY has taken to reduce the organization’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. These include two recent initiatives in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative; The S30, a group of 30 of the world’s leading C-suite sustainability leaders focused on accelerating business action on sustainability and joining the “Terra Carta” – a charter that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector. The EY organization is also playing a leading role in the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, which has developed a core set of common metrics and disclosures on non-financial factors for investors and other stakeholders.