EY pledges ambitious net zero target by 2025

By Kate Birch
The professional services giant announces commitment to new and improved sustainability goals: carbon negativity in 2021 and net zero achievement by 202...

 EY has announced its ambition to be carbon negative by 2021 setting targets to significantly reduce its absolute emissions and removing and offsetting more carbon than it emits. 

This announcement follows the firm’s sustainable success last year when it achieved its goal of becoming carbon neutral. At the start of 2020, the Big Four accounting and advisory firm announced that it would invest in offsets equivalent to its global Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions while also increasing investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Following the successful meeting of this target at the end of last year, the global professional services giant, which has teams across 150 countries, has now announced its eco intentions for 2021 and beyond

In a statement, EY stated its intention to not only become carbon negative in 2021, but to reduce total emissions by 40% and achieve net zero in 2025. The company claims that this pledge is consistent with current science-based targets, in line with 1.5C and will be seeking certification from the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

“We are deeply concerned about the science and what that means for our planet,” Steve Varley, Global VC for Sustainability at EY said in a statement. “We believe that becoming carbon negative in 2021 and net zero in 2025, reducing our emissions in line with a science-based target, is the right ambition to have.”

2021 plan targets seven key components

This new ambition underscores the company’s commitment to the environment and to driving long-term sustainable growth. 

As part of the announcement, EY set out the seven key components of the plan:

  • Reduce business travel emissions by 35% by FY25 against a FY19 baseline.
  • Reduce overall office electricity usage and procure 100% renewable energy for remaining EY needs, earning membership to the RE100, a group of influential organisations committed to renewable power, by FY25.
  • Structure electricity supply contracts, through virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs), to introduce more electricity than EY consumes into national grids.
  • Provide EY teams with tools that enable them to calculate, then work to reduce, the amount of carbon emitted when carrying out EY client work.
  • Use nature-based solutions and carbon-reduction technologies to remove from the atmosphere or offset more carbon than EY emits, every year.
  • Invest in services and solutions that help EY clients profitably decarbonise their businesses and provide solutions to other sustainability challenges and opportunities.
  • Require 75% of EY suppliers, by spend, to set science-based targets by no later than FY25.

According to Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, “EY people are passionate about tackling big challenges and with the power of 300,000 of them, we will not only transform EY to become a leader in sustainability, but also help EY clients do the same”. 

Helping EY clients reach sustainable goals

Acknowledging that becoming carbon negative and ultimately net zero is different for every company and can be more difficult for certain industries, EY teams are developing new global sustainability solutions for EY clients too. “That is why there are also investments in new solutions and services,” states Varley, “to help EY clients protect and create value from becoming more sustainable too”. 

These client solutions are centered around value-led sustainability, helping EY clients capture the business opportunities from sustainability and decarbonsation while protecting and creating value. 

Building on sustainable success

These new plans and goals follow EY’s continued action to reduce the organisation’s environmental impact and drive sustainable growth. 

More recently, the company has undertaken two intiatives in collaboreation with HRH The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative . Firstly, the S30, a group of 30 of the world’s leading C-suite sustainability leaders focused on accelerating business action on sustabinatility; and secondly, joining the Terra Carta – a charter that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector.

EY is also playing a leading role in the world Economic Forum’s International Business Council, which has developed a core set of common metrics and disclosures on non-financial factors for investors and other stakeholders.


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