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EY announces achievement of carbon negative status

26/10/2021 13:08

EY is one of the first professional service organizations to achieve carbon negativity, says carbon neutrality isn’t enough
EY becomes carbon negative by reducing absolute emissions and offsetting and removing more carbon than it emits

The EY organization has become carbon negative, a major and significant step toward achieving the EY carbon ambition of becoming net zero by 2025. Becoming carbon negative means the EY organization is now reducing its total emissions and offsetting and removing more carbon than it emits.

To achieve this carbon ambition, the EY organization has set an aggressive target to significantly reduce its emissions by 40% by 2025 through seven key actions. This represents one of the most ambitious decarbonization plans not just in professional services, but across global industry. There has been a continued EY investment in a carbon offset portfolio.

A continued reduction in EY absolute emissions

EY global FY21 emissions (394k tons of CO2e) reduced by 60% compared to FY20 (976k tons of CO2e), achieved through a significant reduction in business travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing delivery of the EY seven-point carbon action plan. This also represents a 71% decrease from the 1,354k tons of CO2e emitted in the FY19 baseline year.

As the EY organization resumes business travel and returns to offices and clients, EY teams will continue to keep emissions below the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)-validated 1.5°C pathway in FY22 and beyond. EY will remain carbon negative as it works toward net zero in 2025.

Investment in a carbon offset portfolio

The EY organization has invested in a carbon offset portfolio with South Pole, a leading global climate solutions provider, which includes multiple projects that offset or remove carbon through reforestation, regenerative agriculture, biochar and forest conservation. Six new projects, invested in through South Pole, including the QianBei Afforestation Project in China, contribute to removing or offsetting a total of 528k tons of CO2e, meaning the EY organization is removing an additional 34% of the EY FY21 carbon footprint, making EY carbon negative.

By achieving carbon negative status, the EY organization demonstrates a commitment toward accelerated climate action and empowering its people to serve EY clients as they also seek to decarbonize.

Stavros Violaris, Associate Partner and Sustainability Leader of EY Cyprus, commented: “All of us at EY have taken the challenge of reversing climate change very seriously. Achieving carbon negativity is a major step forward, but our responsibility at EY goes beyond that. As a professional services organization, we build on our global experience to encourage and support our clients in Cyprus and throughout the world to pursue their own ambitious sustainability targets. It is a matter of urgency that, like EY, those who can go faster and farther do so now.”     

Alongside the work the organization is undertaking to become more sustainable, EY teams have developed a new set of global sustainability services for EY clients aimed at helping them on their own sustainability journeys. The solutions are focused on value-led sustainability, helping EY clients capture the business opportunities from sustainability and decarbonization, while also protecting and creating value. This follows the approach EY teams have taken to achieve the EY carbon negative ambition.

This announcement follows a number of actions the EY organization has taken to reduce the organization’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. These include two initiatives in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative; 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 organization has also joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, which is committed to shifting financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes.

Commenting on the achievement of carbon negativity, Ronald Attard, Country Managing Partner of EY Cyprus, said: “We are all delighted and proud of achieving carbon negative status. This is a major accomplishment resulting from systematic efforts by all of us at EY, in line with our mission of helping build a better working world. It is now more than clear, that, if we want to transition to a low-carbon future, becoming carbon neutral is a good first step but it is not enough. Businesses need to take the lead and set the standard in the global effort to reverse climate change.”