Press release

26 Jan 2021 Hong Kong SAR

EY announces ambition to be carbon negative in 2021

HONG KONG, 26 JANUARY 2021 - EY announces an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021, and providing solutions that help EY clients to achieve sustainable development.

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EY Greater China

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

  • Ambition to be “net zero” in 2025
  • Plans to reduce absolute emissions by 40%
  • Will launch new sustainable solutions focused on helping EY clients create value from sustainability

EY announces an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021, and providing solutions that help EY clients to achieve sustainable development.

EY set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but also 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.

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.

The announcement follows other actions EY has taken to reduce the organization’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. These include the recent initiatives in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative¹; 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.

Continuous efforts in national green finance and ESG

As one of the world’s leading professional services organizations, EY is committed to building a green and sustainable business world, and acting as a pioneer in global sustainable development.

Jack Chan, EY China Chairman and Greater China Regional Managing Partner, says, “As China steps up its role in addressing issues related to climate change and sustainable development, EY is committed to supporting the region’s sustainable development in various ways. Through the years, we have been recognized for our efforts and outstanding services for our clients. Along the sustainable development journey, we will continue to work with local authorities, financial institutions and the business community around policies in green finance, carbon trading and other initiatives, and at the same time, contribute to our governments’ efforts to achieving carbon neutrality and delivering long-term sustainable goals.”

In Greater China, the EY Financial Services Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) team is contributing its efforts in green finance and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) to keep expanding the depth and breadth of services. These include providing professional advice and participating in the formulation of a series of green finance policies and guidelines for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)’s China Securities Industry Association Green Securities Committee, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Key sustainability awards received by EY teams:

  • Asiamoney China Green Finance Awards for four consecutive years from 2017 to 2020
  • Asiamoney China Green Finance Awards 2019 “Most innovative in green finance”
  • International Finance Forum (IFF) "2020 Global Green Finance Innovation Award"
  • China Beijing Environment Exchange (CBEEX) “2019 Excellence in sustainable asset valuation award”
  • “Green Finance Management System on Regulatory Development of Green Credit” awarded by All-China Environment Federation (ACEF) Green Finance committee as a “Top Ten Green Finance Cases in 2019”

¹ Prince Charles urges businesses to appoint 'suitably empowered' CSOs | Greenbiz


Notes to Editors

About EY

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Definition of terms

Science-based target (SBT). A greenhouse gas reduction target to reduce an organization’s emissions in line with climate science and the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels.

Carbon neutral. The result of an organization removing and offsetting emissions equivalent to its carbon footprint each year. 

Carbon negative. The result of an organization both reducing its emissions in line with its 1.5˚C SBT and investing in nature-based solutions and carbon technologies to remove and offset more carbon than it emits each year. 

Net zero. The point at which an organization has achieved its 1.5˚C SBT and removed its residual emissions from the atmosphere. 

This news release is issued by the EY China practice, a part of the Ernst & Young global network.