A healthy environment is important to all Canadians. That’s why we continue to challenge ourselves to work in an environmentally responsible manner and encourage our clients to do the same.
As part of our commitment, CFO Alan Smith is the Executive Champion of Environmental Sustainability for Ernst & Young in Canada. In this role, Alan leads our Environmental Sustainability Advisory Panel, which provides strategic guidance and oversees the implementation of new programs and initiatives to help guide our environmental efforts in Canada.
In our ongoing effort to “green” our firm, we have begun to measure our carbon footprint, set goals for improvement in our internal operations, and establish leading practices and guidelines for waste management in our offices across Canada and around the world. We’re reducing energy consumption, reducing travel, consuming less paper and reducing our real estate footprint.
Every page counts
Like many companies these days, we’ve implemented a firm-wide policy to reduce paper usage and ensure discarded paper is properly recycled.
According to industry estimates, in addition to saving trees and reducing landfill impact, every ton of recycled paper uses 64% less energy, 50% less water and causes 74% less air pollution than the same quantity of paper created from virgin wood pulp.
In addition to our efforts to use less paper, our Canadian team made sure more than 216,000 kg of paper was fully recycled, saving nearly 4,100 trees and reducing water, gas, oil and electricity consumption.
EcoCare: people-driven change
Our sustainability commitment is driven in part by our people, especially our EcoCare team. This Americas-wide network of eco-minded employees organizes environment-focused volunteer activities and special initiatives in our offices and our communities.
Here are just some of the many EcoCare activities that took place across Canada in 2010 and 2011:
- Our downtown Toronto office launched a five-week Zero Waste pilot project, which diverted 80% of our waste from landfill through at-desk recycling and organics composting, among other tactics. The program is now being implemented across all our Greater Toronto Area locations.
- The Vancouver team conducted an “eco audit” and identified helpful recommendations for reducing our paper and electricity usage, phantom power loads and more. The team also restocked the office kitchen with donated cutlery and other household items to reduce unnecessary waste.
- Our Calgary team continues to be a leader in a local green initiative competition. For the fourth time in six years, one of our Calgary employees won the contest, which rewards ecologically responsible choices and activities.
- Across the country, our staff took part in a wide range of successful Earth Day initiatives, from carbon-footprint reduction activities, to cycling promotions, to recycling drives to collect clothing and household items for reuse, and more.
Earthwatch: building our environmental knowledge trust
Climate Change and Sustainability
Ernst & Young, Vancouver
Beyond our own operations, our staff are looking for ways to expand our leadership in the field of environmental sustainability. We take part in the Earthwatch Ambassador Program to help them do just that.
Through the program, staff at the manager or assistant director level can apply to be part of week-long sustainability expeditions to learn about the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and how to design best practices to effectively address them. Our Earthwatch Ambassadors are not only making an impact globally — they’re also bringing back knowledge and best practices to Canada and sharing them with our staff, clients and communities across the country.
In 2011, 20 Earthwatch Ambassadors participated in the program, as teams travelled to Tarrazú, Costa Rica, and the Rio Cachoeria Reserve in Brazil.