EY becomes carbon negative, says carbon neutrality ‘isn’t enough’

21 Oct 2021

Image: © Araki Illustrations/Stock.adobe.com

The company’s carbon negative status comes after it became carbon neutral last year. It hopes to reach net zero by 2025.

Professional services giant EY has revealed its newly achieved carbon negative status, saying that it now offsets or removes more carbon than it emits.

This is part of the company’s plan to become net zero by 2025. By then, the company aims to have fully removed its residual emissions from the atmosphere.

Stephen Prendiville, EY Ireland’s head of sustainability, said the company had “identified, supported and invested in 12 carbon removal and offset projects” over the past number of years.

“From agriculture soil revitalisation projects, to forest protection and development, EY investments also support innovation and development in every global region. Our ambition is to remain carbon negative into the future, as our teams also work to reduce our absolute emissions by 40pc and achieve our science-based target of net zero by 2025,” he added.

EY has invested in a carbon offset portfolio with Swiss carbon finance consultancy South Pole. The portfolio includes multiple projects that offset or remove carbon through reforestation, regenerative agriculture, biochar and forest conservation.

Taking climate action

In March of this year, EY Ireland joined more than 60 companies in Ireland that signed up to a Low Carbon Pledge to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets no later than 2024.

It was signed by companies from a broad range of sectors including Accenture, Arup, BT Ireland, Cisco, EirGrid, AbbVie, Janssen, PwC, RTÉ, Three Ireland, Irish Water, Verizon and William Fry. In agreeing to the terms of the pledge, the companies have committed to reducing emissions and publicly reporting on their progress annually.

Recently, EY Ireland surveyed 250 Irish businesses about their attitudes to the climate crisis and what actions they were taking to reduce emissions. Two-thirds of companies surveyed said they did not think they could achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030.

EY achieved carbon neutrality last year, but according to Carmine Di Sibio, EY global chair and CEO, that “simply isn’t enough” to deliver a sustainable planet for future generations.

Frank O’Keeffe, managing partner at EY Ireland, echoed these comments.

“After EY became carbon neutral in 2020, we looked at the latest climate data and knew we could and should do more. Companies that can move faster on climate action have an obligation to do so. We are proud to have achieved this carbon negative standard and we are passionate about helping our clients expedite their own sustainability journeys. The time for bold action is now.

“As both Governments on the island of Ireland work to drive action and momentum to tackle climate change, the critical role of Irish business leaders is becoming even more urgent,” O’Keeffe added.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson said it was moving to 100pc renewable electricity across its Irish operations, sourcing electricity from two windfarms located in Clare and Kerry. By 2030, the company aims to achieve carbon neutrality.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.