EY pledges ambitious net zero target by 2025
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.
Four CPG giants to fund sustainable accelerator programme
Breakthrough ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. That’s the premise behind the coming together of The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive in the funding and support of world-leading brewer AB InBev’s 100+ Accelerator program.
These four consumer packaged goods multinationals will leverage both their size and resources to fast-track a shift toward sustainable solutions by mobilising some of the world’s sharpest thinkers to solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
The aim of this collaboration is to “supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding the accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable”, says Tony Milkin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer at AB InBev.
“Sustainable business is smart business, and we are working to solve huge problems that no one company can handle alone. With our combined global reach, we can accelerate progress towards a more sustainable future.”
What is the 100+ Accelerator program?
Originally launched in 2018, 100+ Accelerator is a global incubator program that aims to solve key supply chain challenges across water stewardship, circular economy, sustainable agriculture and climate action.
It offers size and scale to passionate entrepreneurs to help bring their solutions to market faster, and the program’s first two cohorts have already piloted 36 innovations in 16 countries, with participating startups raising more than US$200m to help them scale globally.
Among the established innovators are those already creating huge impact on sustainability, with projects including the first solar thermal plant in Africa, recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity in China, and upcycling saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the US.
- The implementation of green cleaning solutions to reduce water and energy use in brewing operations in Colombia
- Solutions delivering traceability and insurance for smallholder farmers in Africa and South America
- The collection of more than 1,000 tons of glass waste in Brazil
- Piloting returnable packaging in the United States
- Recycled electric vehicle batteries that store renewable electricity in China
- The ability to upcycle saved grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods in the United States
- The first solar thermal system to be installed at an AB InBev plant
How will the new program work?
So, how does it work? Applications are invited from entrepreneurs or small businesses (deadline for cohort 3 is May 31 2021) and the partners will choose 20-25 ideas which are then provided with funding.
Project aligned with goals of the CPG multinationals
The participation by all three consumer packaged goods giants is in line with each of their own sustainability goals, with each passionate about transforming global supply chains towards a greener future, and knowledgeable that “we can achieve our purpose faster and more effectively with equally committed partners”, says Patricia Verduin, CTO of Colgate.
Since launching its World Without Waste sustainable packaging platform, Coca-Cola has actively engaged the startup community for inspiration and innovation and is an inaugural investor in Circulate Capital, a fund launched in 2019 focused on ventures, infrastructure and innovations preventing the flow of plastic into oceans.
The program’s social inequality component is also aligned with Unilever’s values. “This year, we made commitments to ensure that everyone who directly provides us with goods and services receives a living wage by 2030,” says Marc Engel, chief supply chain officer of Unilever. But that’s not all. “We’re increasing our spend with suppliers from underrepresented groups and committed to train 10 million young people.”