- EY is one of the first professional service organizations to achieve carbon negativity, says carbon neutrality isn’t enough
- EY becomes carbon negative by reducing absolute emissions and offsetting and removing more carbon than it emits
The EY organization has become carbon negative, a major and significant step toward achieving the EY carbon ambition of becoming net zero by 2025. Becoming carbon negative means the EY organization is now reducing its total emissions and offsetting and removing more carbon than it emits.
To achieve this carbon ambition, the EY organization has set an aggressive target to significantly reduce its emissions by 40% by 2025 through seven key actions. This represents one of the most ambitious decarbonization plans not just in professional services, but across global industry. There has been a continued EY investment in a carbon offset portfolio.
Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:
“I am proud that EY is leading the way in sustainable business by achieving carbon negative status. Businesses need to take the lead and the reality is that carbon neutrality simply isn’t enough if we are to deliver a sustainable planet for future generations. Today’s announcement will make a real difference as the world transitions toward a low-carbon future and EY will continue to take actions that create long-term value for EY people, clients and communities around the globe.”
A continued reduction in EY absolute emissions
EY global FY21 emissions (394k tons of CO2e) reduced by 60% compared to FY20 (976k tons of CO2e), achieved through a significant reduction in business travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing delivery of the EY seven-point carbon action plan. This also represents a 71% decrease from the 1,354k tons of CO2e emitted in the FY19 baseline year.
As the EY organization resumes business travel and returns to offices and clients, EY teams will continue to keep emissions below the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)-validated 1.5°C pathway in FY22 and beyond. EY will remain carbon negative as it works toward net zero in 2025.
Investment in a carbon offset portfolio
The EY organization has invested in a carbon offset portfolio with South Pole, a leading global climate solutions provider, which includes multiple projects that offset or remove carbon through reforestation, regenerative agriculture, biochar and forest conservation. Six new projects, invested in through South Pole, including the Qianbei Afforestation Project in China, contribute to removing or offsetting a total of 528k tons of CO2e, meaning the EY organization is removing an additional 34% of the EY FY21 carbon footprint, making EY carbon negative.
Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability, says:
“As governments work to forge greater consensus on action and keeping 1.5°C alive, the critical role of business is becoming more urgent. After EY became carbon neutral in 2020, the organization looked at the latest climate data and decided it could, and should, do more. The reality is that becoming carbon neutral is a good first step but it isn’t enough on its own, and those - like EY - who have the ability to go further and faster must do so now. EY is proud to be one of those organizations setting the standard on carbon negativity and we urge others to do the same.”
“I am very proud that the Qianbei Afforestation Project in China has contributed to reducing EY’s total carbon footprint and our achievement of carbon negative,” says Jack Chan, China Chairman and Greater China Regional Managing Partner of EY. “China has pledged to halt the rise of its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. At the same time, EY is committed to accelerating the Greater China Region’s sustainable development with multiple measures. We will continue to promote green finance and put forth our best efforts to support companies to tap into the opportunities in green finance, explore green innovation and technology as well as to build an ecosystem with sustainable advantages.
“As businesses look for ways to enhance their competitiveness in green development, EY is ready to navigate with them on this sustainable journey and assist them in creating significant economic benefits and social impact,” Jack adds.
By achieving carbon negative status, the EY organization demonstrates a commitment toward accelerated climate action and empowering its people to serve EY clients as they also seek to decarbonize.
Alongside the work the organization is undertaking to become more sustainable, EY teams have developed a new set of global sustainability services for EY clients aimed at helping them on their own sustainability journeys. The solutions are focused on 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 the EY carbon negative ambition.
Today’s announcement follows a number of actions the EY organization has taken to reduce the organization’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. These include two 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 has also joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, which is committed to shifting financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes.
The EY organization also recently reported for the first time against the WEF-IBC stakeholder capitalism metrics - a set of 21 ESG disclosures, against which companies and organizations can report, spanning four key areas; Principles of Governance, Planet, People and Prosperity aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Notes to editors
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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.