Creating a responsible and sustainable business

Our environmental impact

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The biggest impact we can have on contributing to minimising the negative effects of climate change is by supporting our clients and the market move towards a low carbon economy. EY's Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice helps our clients operate more sustainably and, frequently, lower their costs in the process.

Because we believe that any commitment to a more environmentally sustainable 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.

Nearly all of our carbon output comes from two sources: office energy consumption and business travel. We’re implementing measurable actions to increase energy efficiency in our offices, be smarter and greener about business travel, we also seek to reduce waste and work in our communities to promote responsible treatment of the environment.

Below are several examples of the efforts we’re making to reduce our impact on the environment.

Earthwatch: EY Global Ambassadors Expedition (Americas)

Through our relationship with Earthwatch® Institute, EY 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 EY volunteers, whom we call "Ambassadors" of environmental sustainability, on a recent expedition.

EcoCare

This network of more than 850 passionate volunteers from EY member firms in the Americas 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 include:

  • 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 EY greener.

Greening America’s schools

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the U.S. through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. EY is teaming with the organization on its Green Schools campaign, with the goal of greening all US schools within a generation.

Reducing our carbon footprint

EY has reduced its carbon footprint in the Americas by 7.5% since our baseline measurement was conducted in 2008. The 2012 carbon footprint was 203,535 metric tons of CO2.

Improving energy efficiency in our offices

A key component of the organzation's energy conservation strategy focuses on making the buildings occupied by EY firms 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 Ernst & Young LLP locations in Chicago, Dallas, Irvine, Washington, DC and more. The US firm aims to have 50% of employees in LEED-certified spaces by the end of 2013.
  • Utilizing open-work concepts such as 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.

When less is more: seven steps to a greener office and a blacker bottom line

EY's Atlanta office introduced centralized waste collection and significantly improved office participation, saving money and reducing EY's environmental footprint. This case study shares the seven steps the team followed to achieve these results.

Please note: EY does not accept unsolicited requests for funding or volunteer engagements.