Today marks Earth Day, an annual event that brings together millions of people from around the world in support of the environment. This provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on our actions as individuals and organisations - and to announce an exciting new initiative.
Earlier this year, I described how proud I was of EY’s global commitment to achieve net-zero by 2025. Yet, whilst this represents a big step for EY, it is clearly a small one in the wider context of global climate change. More needs to be done and this will require unprecedented levels of urgent action by both businesses and the government. This is where we can leverage our position as a convenor, bringing together our people, skills, clients and contacts to enable and support change.
I am therefore pleased to announce that we are taking a major step in this direction by designing and hosting the Climate Business Forum (CBF). This brings business and young people together to help turn the UK Government’s ambition for a green industrial revolution into action.
By doing do so we can not only play our part, but also help others to do the same. And what better time to create and support new ways of addressing climate change than in the year when the UK hosts and chairs the UN Climate Change Conference COP26? It will be pivotal to how we address climate change in the UK and across the world.
The power of purpose
Before telling you more about the initiative, I want to take a moment to explain why climate change, as well as other non-financial issues such as social inequality, diversity and inclusion are important to me as an individual and to EY.
The answer is simple. It relates directly to our purpose. Building a better working world means more to us than just helping individual businesses respond to disruptive forces. It also means acting to make the world as a whole work better. Clearly, this cannot happen without concerted action on climate change.
It is also vital to our clients. Many businesses now recognise that, rather than a trade-off between doing good and making a good return, the two actually align, with long-term value the common aim. Or, to put it more simply, leaders are increasingly seeing that there is no such thing as a long-term investment on an unsustainable planet.