10 minute read 25 Jan 2021
sustainable green building

EY Ireland announces ambition to be carbon negative in 2021

By Frank O’Keeffe

EY Ireland Managing Partner

Member of the EY UK&I Executive. Relentless focus on building a better working world for 3,000 EY people, valued EY clients, and our local communities.

10 minute read 25 Jan 2021
  • 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

Dublin, 25 JANUARY 2021. EY Ireland today announces an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021 by setting targets to significantly reduce its absolute emissions and removing and offsetting more carbon than it emits. In a new statement on sustainability, published today, EY set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but 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 organisation’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 organisations 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 globally.
  • 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 decarbonise 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 organisation, 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.”

Frank O’Keeffe, EY Ireland Managing Partner, says:

“EY Ireland is proud to sign up to these bold targets as part of our global climate ambition. We have set this ambition because it is increasingly clear that, collectively and individually, we all need to do more to help avert a climate change disaster. Our people are proud that we met our ambition to become carbon neutral in 2020. Inspired by them and others undertaking major steps, we challenged ourselves to go further, faster.

At EY Ireland we have already seen the benefits of adopting more sustainable habits in how we work, how we travel and how we manage our energy use and waste output. We look forward to building on our efforts to date as we work to become carbon negative. At EY our purpose of building a better working world guides everything we do. We will be setting out a range of ambitious sustainability initiatives for our island of Ireland business in 2021 based on the principle that businesses that can do more should do more as we face this defining challenge of our generation.”

Stephen Prendiville, EY Ireland Head of Sustainability says: “Last year, like many industries, we saw significant reductions in waste output, energy usage and emissions at EY Ireland. With this announcement we are committing to lock in and replicate this momentum going forward We signed a new energy supply contract which ensures that all power used across our business comes from renewable energy sources. Our sustainability journey is well underway. We know that we not only need to go further, faster, but to point the way ahead for our clients too.”

EY Ireland’s 2020 Sustainability Report shows a number of notable achievements during the year:

  • A reduction in overall waste output of circa 49% including the removal of all single use plastic items from our internal supply chain.
  • The percentage composition of overall recyclable waste increased from 67% to 77% during the year
  • New deal with electricity providers signed in April 2020 to ensure all electricity consumption is from renewable energy sources

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 decarbonisation, while also protecting and creating value. This follows the approach EY teams have taken to achieve these sustainability targets and carbon negative ambition.

Steve Varley, EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability, says:

“At EY we are deeply concerned about the science and what that means for our planet. We believe that becoming carbon negative in 2021 and net zero in 2025, reducing our emissions in line with a science-based target, is the right ambition to have. We realise that these challenges are different and more difficult for certain industries. That is why there are also investments in new solutions and services to help EY clients protect and create value from becoming more sustainable too.”

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.

Today’s announcement follows other actions EY has taken to reduce the organisation’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. These include; 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 organisation 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.

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Notes to Editors

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. 

Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. 

Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients. 

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.

Summary

In a new statement on sustainability, published today, EY set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but to reduce total emissions by 40% - consistent with a science-based target - and achieve net zero in 2025.

About this article

By Frank O’Keeffe

EY Ireland Managing Partner

Member of the EY UK&I Executive. Relentless focus on building a better working world for 3,000 EY people, valued EY clients, and our local communities.