Tackling social inequality also requires working to avert the worst effects of climate change. Wherever they occur around the world, climate shocks hit the poorest in society hardest. The World Bank has estimated that, if global temperature rises continue unabated, it could result in 100 million more people living in extreme poverty by 2030.
EY remains committed to driving purposeful action that minimizes the negative impacts of businesses’ activities on the environment. EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services teams help clients understand and act on the risks and opportunities arising from climate change, innovating in areas such as climate resilience, the circular economy, renewable energy, water accounting and alternative waste treatment. Working with clients to understand the sustainability issues that matter most to their businesses, we evaluate supply chains, conduct materiality assessments, create sustainability strategies, and more – ultimately helping clients reduce costs while unlock sustainable business opportunities.
We also challenge ourselves to operate the EY organization in a more environmentally sustainable way. We’ve made positive strides in reducing our environment impacts, for example through the award-winning efforts of the UK member firm to reduce consumption of single-use plastics. In April, the US member firm entered into a renewable energy Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) to initiate the construction of two large-scale Texas-based wind farms. These wind farms will generate enough zero-carbon electricity to offset the absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the US firm, setting it up to be powered by 100% renewable energy from 2020.
While we have succeeded in continuing to reduce our direct emissions from office energy consumption by 15% over the last three years, our indirect emissions from business travel have increased. We are committed to bringing the best of EY from around the world to our clients, and we recognize the need to meet this commitment in innovative ways that can reduce travel and decouple our growth from environmental impact.
Following announcement of a new global environmental statement (pdf) last year, we’ve developed and are implementing detailed member firm plans to prioritize action around business travel, office energy consumption, waste and water use, and sustainable procurement. In 2020, EY will finalize and announce environmental commitments that will move us another step toward being a more sustainable and responsible business.
We understand the importance of committing to actions that will tackle the interconnected challenges of climate change and inequality. By adding an environmental sustainability focus to the EY Ripples program, we are bringing the power of the collective knowledge and experience of EY, as well as the breadth and depth of the EY network, to this critical task. Together, we can work toward a more sustainable future and the achievement of the UN SDGs.