Wind farm landscape

EY UK LLP carbon footprint

See a full data summary of our scopes 1, 2 & 3 emission data.

This report covers the total emissions of the UK firm of Ernst & Young LLP ('EY UK LLP'), which is a limited liability partnership incorporated under English Law with registered number OC300001 and is a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited. Registered office and principal place of business: 1 More London Place, London SE1 2AF.

Reporting period

The data in this report covers the period between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. Each reporting year corresponds with EY's financial year, which runs from 01 July to 30 June. FY2020 is the first year we have reported our emissions using the EY UK LLP financial scope. See 'Organisational boundary' section notes for further information.

Reasons for changes in emissions

NOTE: Since FY2020 is the first year in which we have aligned our emissions reporting to the organisational boundary of our financial disclosure (see 'Organisational boundary' below), exact year-on-year performance comparison is not possible. However, the analysis below provides an approximate guide to the overall trends seen and estimated changes in relevant metrics.

In FY2020, our total gross scope 1 + 2 + 3 emissions fell by approximately 28% compared to the previous year. The material influences on this performance were as follows:

  • Travel

    The majority of our organisation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (88%) come from scope 3 business travel — once considered an essential element in delivering our services to clients. In FY2020, total business travel emissions (tCO2e) decreased by approximately 30% compared to the previous reporting year, mainly as a result of the effects of COVID-19 and subsequent cessation of non-essential travel from March 2020 onwards (i.e. covering the last 3 months of reporting period). In response to this challenging business environment, the firm has taken the opportunity to fully embed a culture of remote and flexible working across all service lines. However, there is continued investment and development in online meeting and collaboration technologies, enabling EY to seamlessly deliver exceptional service quality to clients without the need for travel. We also continue to develop our travel booking processes, business travel dashboard data and employee guidance to include better awareness of ways to reduce the environmental impacts of travel and encouraging our people to 'travel smarter' through better journey planning and increased utilisation of flexible working practices and remote working technologies.

  • Energy

    In FY2020, our total scope 1 + 2 emissions fell by approximately 19% compared to the previous year. This was mainly as a result of the effects of COVID-19 and subsequent closure of all UK sites from March 2020 onwards (i.e. covering the last 3 months of reporting period). However, this is the first full reporting year in which EY has procured 100% biogas for its UK sites, and there was also a significant programme of capital investment in energy efficiency initiatives which are expected to deliver energy savings of approximately 1.6mn kWh per annum at a capital cost of circa £6mn:
    • All fluorescent lighting fittings replaced with low-energy LED lighting throughout our UK HQ building
    • Lighting controls replaced with a Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) based system to switch off lighting to non-occupied areas and dim down when natural lighting is available
    • A new trend-based building management system installed to provide refined control of the Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and operate systems to suit occupancy times
    • Fan coil units (FCUs) upgraded, fan motors changed to the EC type and automated speed control installed to operate the FCU’s on minimum speed when possible

    Even if / when occupancy levels in our buildings move closer to pre-COVID19 levels, we expect future reductions in energy intensity from continuing investment in upgrades to plant, equipment, lighting etc. in line with our ‘EY@Work’ refurbishment and workplace improvement strategy. Future initiatives will involve reviewing office space usage out of non-core office hours to reduce energy expended on heating, cooling and ventilation.

Quantification and reporting methodology

We have measured and reported our greenhouse gas emissions using the following guidelines, protocols, conversion factors and global warming potentials (GWPs):

  • HM Government, Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including streamlined energy and carbon reporting guidance, March 2019 (Updated Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2)
  • WRI / WBSCD The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Revised Edition), March 2004
  • WRI / WBSCD The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard, September 2011
  • UK Government Conversion Factors for Company Reporting (Year: 2020, Expiry: 01/06/2021, Version 1.0) - DBEIS / DEFRA
  • WRI / WBSCD The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Scope 2 Guidance, An amendment to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, 2015


Whilst we have used the GHG Protocol Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard (see iv above), we are not yet able to report on all relevant categories. However, we have reported on those which we believe to be most relevant and material to our overall environmental impacts and carbon footprint.

The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018 implement the government’s policy on Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR). EY is required to comply with mandatory greenhouse gas reporting requirements under the SECR policy, ensuring that all relevant emissions sources required under such legislation have been included in this report and that our reporting is consistent with the relevant requirements.

Organisational boundary

We have used the financial control approach to identify the GHG emissions for which we have responsibility. The boundaries of our reported emissions are aligned to those of the financial disclosure of EY UK LLP. This comprises all locations operating in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Channel Islands (except where noted as an exclusion).

This alignment is effective as of FY2020, instigated by the requirement to comply with The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018, specifically pertaining to annual energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and related information. These regulations implement the UK government’s policy on Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR), requiring large LLPs (as defined in sections 465 and 466 of the Companies Act 2006) to prepare and file energy and carbon information in accounts and reports via an ‘Energy and Carbon Report’. As such, emissions reporting is now aligned with that of our financial disclosures.

The emissions of Ernst & Young Global Services LLP are not included in the emissions totals since it is a separate legal entity and does not contribute to the financial disclosures of EY UK LLP. It also does not include any activities of the Republic of Ireland firm for the same reasons.

Operational scopes

We have measured our scope 1, 2 and significant scope 3 emissions.

Geographical breakdown

We report all locations outlined in the organisational boundary as a collective total and do not currently break down emissions by country.

Base year

We have re-set our base year to FY20 (previously FY2010). In order to comply with the regulatory requirements of the UK's SECR Guidelines, we have re-aligned the scope of our emissions reporting with that of the UK firm's financial disclosure. This has resulted in some significant changes to the scope of the data included in previous years' carbon footprints (e.g. the removal of all activities relating to the Republic of Ireland and Isle of Man entities, the inclusion of UK-related EY Global activities etc.).  As such FY20 provides a fixed base year from which we will measure both our absolute and normalised performance going forward.

We will recalculate all emissions from the base year to the reporting year in the event that either:

  • Changes occur which meet the recommended recalculation criteria outlined in Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including streamlined energy and carbon reporting guidance, March 2019', Chapter 1 - Step 5 - Action ii, or
  • Changes occur which equate to or exceed a 5% deviation (positive or negative) from previously calculated data

Targets

We set targets in each of our key areas of environmental impact, all of which are designed to reduce our overall GHG emissions intensity (i.e. scope 1, 2 & significant scope 3 emissions) and contribute to our global sustainability goals. Find out more

Lynn Rattigan (Chief Operating Officer) is the member of our UK&I Leadership Team responsible for achieving these targets.

Intensity measurement

NOTE: Since FY2020 is the first year in which we have aligned our emissions reporting to the organisational boundary of our financial disclosure (see 'Organisation boundary' above), exact year-on-year performance comparison is not possible. However, the analysis below provides an approximate guide to the overall trends seen and estimated changes in relevant metrics.

As a professional services firm, our products and services are intellectually based. Emissions arise as a result of our office locations and through business travel by our client teams. We use both a footprint emissions intensity metric (t CO2e per m2) and a headcount intensity metric (tCO2e per FTE) to normalise our data and provide meaningful performance indicators.

  • Scope 1 & 2 emissions

    For our buildings, the material source of emissions (scopes 1 + 2) is energy consumption, which is significantly influenced by the number of people occupying our office space (via cooling / heating demand, catering, media displays and on-desk power supplies etc.). Emissions intensity from energy consumption (tCO2e per m2) fell significantly in FY20 (by approx. 16%). Please refer to 'Reasons for changes in emissions' section above for explanatory factors.

  • Scope 3 emissions

    The vast majority of our scope 3 emissions are from business travel.  In FY2020, emissions intensity from business travel (tCO2e per FTE) fell by 28%. Please refer to 'Reasons for changes in emissions' section above for explanatory factors.

Assurance statement

Assurance specialists from our client-facing Climate Change & Sustainability Services (CaSS) team conduct an annual audit of our environmental data collation and calculation processes. They produce an assurance statement summarising the level of accuracy and inclusivity with recommendations for improvements, which we proactively seek to adopt. Find out more.

Carbon offsets

We have not offset any carbon emissions related to FY20 activities, instead focussing on ways to reduce GHG emissions generated by our business operations and invest in a variety of long-term sustainability measures. Examples include an extensive energy efficiency capital investment programme, the purchase of renewable energy (where consumed in EY controlled buildings and appropriate tariffs are available from our utility suppliers) as well as expanding our network of travel alternative technologies (e.g. video conferencing,  online collaboration / mobile technologies, remote and flexible working facilities). This approach is integrated into our overall business strategy and forms part of our environmental management system which is certified to ISO 14001. However, following EY's announcement in January 2020 to a commitment to become carbon neutral by the end of 2020 (i.e. Q2 FY21), it is anticipated that this may change in following years. Learn more.

Woodland Carbon Units

EY did not buy or retire any Woodland Carbon Units during the reporting period.

Electricity

  • Electricity purchase for own use or consumption: 19,066 MWh
  • Renewable electricity generated from owned or controlled sources: 0 MWh
  • Electricity exported to the grid: 0 MWh

Heat generation

With the exception of biogas combustion for heating in our own offices, we have not generated any heat.

Green tariffs

When reporting emissions related to our electricity consumption, the appropriate years' DEFRA / DECC UK electricity conversion factors have been applied to all electricity purchased, including those from renewable sources, non-renewable sources and those where the source is unknown e.g. landlord-supplied electricity.

However, since October 2007, EY has purchased renewable tariff electricity for all UK offices where we can control the energy supply and appropriate tariffs are available. In addition, since January 2018, we have purchased renewable biogas instead of fossil-fuel based natural gas. We buy renewable energy because we believe in supporting renewable energy markets by creating demand and in living our values by 'doing the right thing'. Hundred percent of the electricity and biogas we procure from our suppliers is backed by recognised certification schemes (i.e. Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGOs) and Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS)), which provide evidence that the energy is from appropriately accredited renewable sources.

We have accounted for the purchase of renewable electricity through our market-based reporting of emissions in line with the GHG Protocol's updated Scope 2 Guidance.

Market-based scope 2 emissions reporting

The above data is consistent with reporting methodologies used in previous years and uses a location-based approach for the calculation of scope 2 emissions. However, EY buys renewable electricity as part of its energy procurement strategy and as such also calculates scope 2 emissions using a market-based approach. These calculations have only been carried out for all years of electricity data.

EY has an electricity procurement contract in place in the UK for all half-hourly (HH) and non-half-hourly electricity, which is 100% renewables-backed. Our supplier guarantees that 100% of the electricity it supplies to EY's offices is generated from renewable sources. It has purchased this energy from renewable generators and allocated an equivalent number of REGO certificates to EY. REGO certificates are recognised by Ofgem to demonstrate that electricity has been produced from renewable sources within a defined period. Each certificate covers one MWh of energy generated.

Our scope 2 emissions using the market-based approach total 2,486 tonnes, compared with 5,483 tonnes using the location-based approach. In calculating these emissions, we have taken the conservative approach since there may or may not be other energy procured for EY offices that meets the criteria.