Press release

EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program celebrates 10th anniversary

New York, 18 July 2018

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To date, EY employees have donated more than 22,300 hours supporting local communities across the Americas

The EY organization celebrates the 10th anniversary of the EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors program, which has empowered EY people to support local entrepreneurs and contribute to the health of local ecosystems in developing and emerging markets. The program began in 2009 as a collaboration between Ernst & Young LLP and the Earthwatch Institute, a non-profit organization that engages people worldwide in scientific field research and in education in sustainable environments. To date, almost 300 EY professionals have donated more than 22,300 hours to local, community-based entrepreneurial projects.

Since its inception, the program has experienced significant growth, creating opportunities for an increasing number of EY people to leverage their knowledge and professional skills to assist local entrepreneurs in an effort to improve business practices and conduct dynamic field research. What began with nine Ambassadors partaking in one expedition to Costa Rica in 2009 has grown to 40 participants annually embarking on expeditions in locations that have included Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru.

“With 10 years under its belt, this program continues to evolve and expand, and our people return to their day-to-day work at EY member firms with a greater sense of purpose and engagement,” said Deborah K. Holmes, EY Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility.

Over the past decade, the program has made a significant impact across a variety of projects that have helped to bolster local communities and businesses. During one trip, Ambassadors traveled to Peru to develop and implement operational recommendations for AmazonEco, a research expedition business that creates a sustainable financial strategy for holistic conservation efforts in western Amazonia. During a separate trip to Brazil, another EY team visited Serra do Itajai National Park where they provided strategic planning services for a local eco-friendly hotel and an environmental consultancy company.

2018 Expedition Highlights

Already in 2018, 40 EY people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets have traveled to Xochimilco, Mexico, and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru, to support local entrepreneurs. In Mexico, 20 Ambassadors helped a local farm cooperative by improving its operations through the creation of a pricing strategy and the identification of new revenue streams with agritourism. The other half of the EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors traveled to Peru to help evaluate the expansion of solar-power energy systems to indigenous communities, which included creating a cost estimator tool.

“Whether increasing governmental awareness of sustainable agricultural practices in Brazil or utilizing data to map biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest, the EY-Earthwatch Ambassador program has continued to be an incredible testament to the impact that our diverse teams can have on the long-term sustainability of local communities,” said Leisha John, EY Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability. “Serving as a board member of the Earthwatch Institute has deepened my appreciation of the overall impact that the EY organization brings in terms of much-needed skillsets to the entrepreneurs and communities we serve.”

EY Employee Testimonials

“During the 2017 EY-Earthwatch Ambassador program, I joined my ten teammates from five different countries on a journey to the Peruvian Amazon. There, we worked with climate researcher Dr. Bodmer in gathering data on flooded rainforest biodiversity, while providing business advice for a company running riverboat research expeditions. I encourage all types of professionals to embrace their skillsets and explore opportunities within their firms, such as the EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors program, which allow an individual the opportunity to explore their dreams without sacrificing their career trajectory.” – Jack Walsh, Senior, Assurance, Ernst & Young LLP.

“I completed this journey with a deep appreciation for the farmers of Xochimilco, Mexico, and a compelling desire to educate others on the importance of preserving our planet. The skills-based project helped advance my adaptability in working with global teams in an unfamiliar setting. The expedition also enhanced my business acumen, which has allowed me to engage more strategically among my teams and peers. I am thankful for this amazing opportunity and will never forget the individuals whom I now call lifelong friends.” – Tara Servais, Supervising Associate, Global Account Manager, Ernst & Young LLP.

“Between my two Earthwatch trips in 2015 (as a participant) and 2016 (as a returning team leader), I was joined by team members from across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Israel, Nicaragua and Guatemala with backgrounds in each of the EY business lines. The diversity of our teams was critical in not only completing the project on time, but also delivering creative, robust solutions that would immediately help entrepreneurs. By embracing diversity, we were able to leverage individual strengths and realize synergies as a team that we otherwise may not have been able to.” – Joe Raupp, Senior Manager, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP.

To read more stories from EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors, visit our EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors 10 years, 280+ career journeys site.

About EY

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member firm of EY serving clients in the US.