13 Sep 2018

Driving sustainable and inclusive growth

13 Sep 2018
Related topics Global review

At EY, we strongly believe that the things we do every day go a long way toward fulfilling our purpose of building a better working world. 

EY people also make positive contributions to the public interest by playing important roles across business and through their communities as members of professional associations, of trainers, by working with standard setters and participating on boards. 

An important part of the answer lies in demonstrating that business can be an important part of the solution by driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth, to which everyone can contribute and from which everyone can benefit.

So we’re using our influence to create positive change across the business world in a number of ways:

  1. Amplifying our social impact through our new corporate responsibility platform, EY Ripples
  2. Building trust through more transparent corporate reporting
  3. Supporting entrepreneurs: who are significant drivers of social and economic impact
  4. Operating responsibly across our organization

We believe business can and must do more to foster the kind of economic growth that benefits everyone, not just a few. More than doing business responsibly, that means applying the knowledge, skills and experience we use in our business every day to help address society’s toughest challenges.

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Amplifying our social impact through our new corporate responsibility platform, EY Ripples

This year, EY invested US$112 million in projects dedicated to strengthening our communities and our people contributed over 739,000 hours to hundreds of initiatives across the world. In addition, EY partners and people make significant personal donations to a variety of community initiatives.

To further amplify our social impact, we are bringing greater focus, scale and cohesion to our efforts by better aligning them with the knowledge, skills and experience of our people. We will launch a new global initiative in FY19, EY Ripples, to focus on two areas of social impact:

  • Working with impact entrepreneurs to help scale businesses that purposefully and successfully target progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Helping young people to develop the mindsets and transferable skills they need most to find and sustain meaningful work in this transformative age

Impact entrepreneurs build businesses that tackle the causes and symptoms of social inequality and empower people to change their lives. Their enterprises create an outsized impact on the lives and livelihoods of people in their communities by accelerating creation of quality jobs; providing avenues for women, young people and other underrepresented groups to actively participate in the economy; advancing equitable access to vital goods and services; and/or by innovating products and services that help protect and restore the environment.

By making EY knowledge, skills and experience available to these businesses on a not-for-profit basis, we help improve their resilience, productivity and capacity for sustainable growth.

Hywel Ball — Building trust

EY has a long and proud history of supporting young people by creating pathways to education and employment. But today’s transformative age poses challenges that access to education alone can’t solve. We know this because global youth unemployment figures remain unchanged over recent years, despite more young people successfully completing secondary and tertiary education. When many school children today will end up in jobs that don’t even exist yet – and when many of the jobs that do may disappear because of automation – we need to think differently.

This is why we’re sharpening the focus of our support for the next generation, placing greater emphasis on the development of mindsets and transferable skills such as initiative and self-reliance, creativity and innovation, and critical reasoning and complex problem-solving.

Community investment

  FY16 FY17 FY18
Hours invested in community initiatives worldwide by EY people (000’s) 700 700 739
Value of time contributions (US$m) 44 47 51
Cash investments (US$m) 57 58 61
Total 101 105 112

Our focus areas let us use our distinctive knowledge, skills and experience and, our existing social impact initiatives, to tackle some of the biggest challenges affecting our world. They allow us to create a powerful ripple effect, not only on our people and our business, but also on communities and economies – a ripple that brings to life how the knowledge, skills and experience we use, and the actions we take, can build a better working world for all.

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Building trust through more transparent corporate reporting

In recent years, there has been much conversation about corporate reporting and whether current methods are still fit for purpose.

Business, the media, governments and regulators, and academics have all been involved. The growing consensus is that if businesses want to build trust then they must tell a more complete story of how they are creating value for all of their stakeholders. This story must go beyond presenting a narrow range of financial metrics to encompassing a broader range of both financial and nonfinancial metrics that provide a more transparent view of an organization’s purpose, strategy and execution.

Different groups have suggested different principles and practices, and EY has been involved in several efforts, including with the International Integrated Reporting Council and the United Nations Global Compact. For the past year, we’ve been working on an initiative called The Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism, in an effort to produce a common framework to measure foundational elements of long-term value creation. This will help companies better demonstrate how they create value for a full range of stakeholders, including employees, supply chains, communities and society at large – promoting more inclusive and sustainable growth.

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Supporting entrepreneurs: who are significant drivers of social and economic impact

Entrepreneurs make a difference. They not only have great ideas, but also the drive to make them a reality. They use their fresh thinking and hard work to create positive social change – bringing new concepts and products to market, and creating jobs and wealth.

We have long recognized the potential of entrepreneurs. For more than three decades, we have been working with entrepreneurs, adapting our experience, industry capabilities and resources to work for entrepreneurial, fast-growth companies. We work with a range of businesses, from those receiving their first venture funding through to large mid-cap companies, whose value may be measured in billions of dollars. Our commitment to entrepreneurial companies, in both emerging and developed economies around the world, helps ensure that we’re working with more of tomorrow’s global leaders, today.

EY started the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards program to celebrate successful entrepreneurs, so they could share their stories, inspire others and receive the recognition they deserve. Our first program took place in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Today, the program spans more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries, which together represent more than 90% of the global economy.

The 18th EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™, which ran from 13-17 June, 2018, saw 56 Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists descend on Monaco. We also convened some of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, game changers and government leaders to discuss the transformative age we’re living in. There were sessions on digital disruption, industry convergence and geopolitical uncertainty. This year’s winner was Rubens Menin from Brazil who grew his company, MRV Engenharia, into Latin America’s largest residential real estate developer out of a desire to provide affordable housing for families struggling to take their first step on the property ladder.

Spanning 65 countries and 430 participants, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program identifies high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale and provides them with ongoing support to help accelerate their growth. Now in its 11th year, the program targets savvy women founders who have built profitable small companies but have not yet found the essential tools needed to expand sustainably. EY gives the founders ongoing access to our vast resources, rich networks and know-how, helping to strengthen their abilities to become market leaders. At the same time, the program creates a vibrant global community of successful women entrepreneurs and inspiring peer role models.

Recognizing the ever-growing importance of entrepreneurial startup companies in driving innovation, EY has established a global digital resource known as EY Velocity. It’s designed to help these companies connect with peers, established entrepreneurs and EY professionals; focus on relevant hot topics and the 7 Drivers of Growth; and act to identify key actions to be addressed. In FY19, the next release of EY Velocity will also help these companies to identify much-needed sources of capital.

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Operating responsibly across our organization

To credibly engage others in driving sustainable, inclusive growth, we must lead by example.

We want to embed principles of responsibility, sustainability and inclusive growth more deeply in everything we do, and improve our ability to show that we meet the highest standards of ethical business. This includes galvanizing further effort across our global organization to minimize the negative impacts of EY operations on the environment.

We have clear global polices ranging that include our Global Code of Conduct, our Supplier Code of Conduct and our Data Privacy Policy that set out how we operate responsibly. We are a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and we are guided by our values and our purpose.

Minimizing our environmental impact

Individual Regions have already made far-reaching commitments to environmental sustainability – up to and including becoming carbon and water neutral – and are taking action on specific issues such as plastics pollution as well. In the UK, for example, we are switching all offices away from disposable cups and catering consumables, which will reduce consumption of single-use plastic items by nearly 8 million pieces and almost 60 tons a year.

We’ve also made positive strides in using technology – especially high-end video conferencing to reduce our air miles and on-demand printing to dramatically reduce paper waste – and this has helped reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from 5.23 tons per person to 4.89 tons this past year. But we recognize we need to do much more, particularly to reduce business travel, which makes up around 80% of our emissions.

Our priority now is to establish a global framework that helps accelerate leading practices across the whole of our global organization. That’s why, in FY19, we will implement a new Global Environmental Statement to help drive further action to improve environmental performance across our businesses and supply chain.

It will also stress the power every EY professional has to drive positive change. Everyday choices we each make about things like when and how we travel, and how we manage our waste, can feel small and insignificant. But when more than 260,000 of our people make the same smart choices, the ripple effect can create a huge difference.

Greenhouse gas emissions, metric tons CO2 (estimated)*

  FY15 FY16 FY17
Total emissions 986,000 1,185,000 1,190,000
Emissions per employee (FTE) 5.15 5.23 4.89
Scope 1/2 GHG protocol 204,000 209,000 189,000
Scope 3 GHG protocol 782,000 976,000 1,001,000
* The carbon footprint of our global organization is calculated in line with the EY global carbon footprint methodology. This is based on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol developed by the Word Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), using its “location-based” approach to reporting.
Emissions calculations use 2017 conversion factors published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in the UJ, or locally published factors where appropriate. The conversion factors used to calculate emissions from air travel include the impact of “radiative forcing.”
For further details, please refer to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2017

Driving sustainable growth through our supply chain

Our commitment to promoting principles of inclusiveness, sustainability and responsibility extends beyond our own organization. It also includes our continued efforts to promote high business standards within our supply chain, and to maintain and grow a diverse supplier base that reflects the markets, clients and communities we serve.

Just as the EY Global Code of Conduct sets out the standards expected of every EY person, the Global Supplier Code of Conduct does the same for our suppliers. We view their performance as an integral part of the EY value chain and expect all suppliers to meet high legal, ethical, environmental and employment-related standards.

Identifying, developing and doing business with diverse suppliers is a key component of our strategic sourcing and procurement activities. Through our D&I procurement initiative, we actively encourage small and minority-owned businesses to become registered suppliers and support them to achieve their full potential. EY has committed to sourcing US$100 million of products and services from women-owned businesses by 2020.


We believe business can and must do more to foster the kind of economic growth that benefits everyone, not just a few. More than doing business responsibly, that means applying the knowledge, skills and experience we use in our business every day to help address society’s toughest challenges.

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Related topics Global review