Emissions reductions and offsetting enable EY to reach carbon-negative status

The organisation's emissions fell by 60% last year

EY has a target in place to reach net-zero emissions by 2025. The company has this week announced that it has reached carbon-negative status. The company said in a statement that reducing emissions and investing in offsetting now meant that it removed more carbon than it emitted.

EY’s chief executive Carmine Di Sibio said: “I am proud that EY is leading the way in sustainable business by achieving carbon negative status. Businesses need to take the lead and the reality is that carbon neutrality simply isn’t enough if we are to deliver a sustainable planet for future generations.

“Today’s announcement will make a real difference as the world transitions toward a low-carbon future and EY will continue to take actions that create long-term value for EY people, clients and communities around the globe.”

After achieving an ambition to become carbon neutral in 2020 by upping investments in carbon offsetting, EY has committed to remove and offset more carbon than it emits globally back in January.

The firm, regarded as one of the ‘Big Four’ professional services giants, announced last January 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.

The organisation is targeting a 40% reduction in emissions by 2025 and has outlined seven key actions that will enable decarbonisation. These include investing in nature-based solutions and required 75% of key suppliers to set science-based targets.

For the latest financial year, EY emitted 394,000 tonnes of CO2e, which was a reduction of 60% compared to the previous financial year. This was attributed to reductions in business travel due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing delivery of its climate action plan. This also represents a 71% decrease compared to the 2019 financial baseline year.

EY is working with South Pole on its offsetting portfolio. The company is targeting 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 528,000 tons of CO2e. This will account for 34% of the company’s carbon footprint for this year.

EY will remain carbon negative as it works toward net-zero in 2025.

Earlier this year, edie spoke with EY’s global vice chair for sustainability, Steve Varley on the company’s mission to reach net-zero emissions.

In the episode, edie’s senior reporter Sarah George dials EY’s global vice-chair for sustainability, Steve Varley, after the professional services giant announced plans to become carbon negative in 2021.

Varley discusses how EY achieved carbon neutrality for its global business in 2020 and how it will go further in the years to come, decreasing its reliance on offsetting by reducing emissions in line with science-based targets. 

Watch the episode here.

Matt Mace

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