Environmental sustainability: greening our operations around the globe
A healthy environment is important to our people and to our business. Ernst & Young’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice helps our clients and our communities move to a low-carbon way of operating and lower their costs in the process. Because we believe that any commitment to a greener world has to start at home, we’re also challenging ourselves to work in an environmentally responsible manner and to find new ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
We have adopted five initiatives to improve our impact on the environment worldwide:
- Measuring our own carbon footprint by collecting and analyzing data on energy consumption in our offices and business travel.
- Setting goals for Ernst & Young’s internal operations to promote environmentally sustainable business practices.
- Putting in place an environmentally responsible travel policy around the globe.
- Establishing leading practices/guidelines around waste management for our offices around the world.
- Making our meetings more environmentally friendly where ever they take place.
Below are several examples of the efforts we’re making to reduce our impact on the environment.
Improving energy efficiency in our offices
A key component of the firm’s energy conservation strategy focuses on making the buildings occupied by Ernst & Young more energy efficient. Actions include:
- Installing energy-efficient lighting at the US firm headquarters office in New York. This is one of New York City’s largest lighting retrofits and will cut the building’s annual energy use by approximately 2.9 million kilowatt-hours and reduce its CO2 emissions by approximately 2 million pounds.
- Reducing energy consumption at the global data center located in New Jersey. In 2011, Ernst & Young LLP was the first accounting and professional services firm to earn the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating for a data center, resulting in savings of approximately 1.5 million kilowatt-hours per year.
- Expanding our LEED footprint. Current LEED office space includes our locations in Chicago, Dallas, Irvine, Washington DC and more. The US firm aims to have 50% of employees in LEED certified spaces by 2013.
- Utilizing open work concepts like hoteling. Responding to the work requirements of our people has resulted in more flexible space that enhances collaboration and reduces our overall physical footprint, thereby decreasing demand for energy.
This network of 1,000+ passionate Ernst & Young volunteers constantly finds new ways to make us greener. In a survey, 85% of our people said that our commitment to the environment was important to them. Some examples of ways EcoCare is helping to mobilize our environmental commitment:
- In Los Angeles, EcoCare leaders invited people in the office to be part of a reforestation project in the Angeles National Forest, where forest fires and Bark Beetle infestation had diminished the tree population.
- In Chicago, the EcoCare team created a directory of all the public transportation modes in the region to provide our people with greener and less costly transportation options when they travel to other cities.
- In the Southwest, an EcoCare blog on Earth Day captured hundreds of ways that our people are becoming more environmentally responsible in their daily lives.
- Across the US, EcoCare led recycling drives and educational programs to help bring attention to environmental concerns and engage our people in making Ernst & Young greener.
Greening America’s schools
The US Green Buildings Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the US through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Ernst & Young is teaming with the organization on its Green Schools campaign, with the goal of greening all US schools within a generation.
Earthwatch — Ernst & Young Global Ambassadors Expedition (Americas)
Through our relationship with Earthwatch® Institute, Ernst & Young professionals have opportunities to broaden their professional experience by participating in skills-based volunteer sustainability projects. On a recent expedition, volunteers in Brazil worked with researchers to help measure the diameter of trees, weigh stingless beehives and identify leaf samples. They then used what they learned from the field research to provide recommendations on the cash flow, organizational structure and sales & marketing for the local honey farm in an effort to help them grow their business. Watch this video of Ernst & Young volunteers, whom we call ‘Ambassadors’ of environmental sustainability, on a recent expedition.
Please note: Ernst & Young does not accept unsolicited requests for funding or volunteer engagements.