EY Planet - Our pledge to protect biodiversity, strengthen communities, and reduce carbon
Building a resilient and biodiverse world through reforestation, investment in research, and carbon reduction
- Conserving, Restoring & Growing, Enabling
- This pledge will take place from
- 2020 to 2030
As a global organization, we see that action is urgently needed to limit global carbon emissions, preserve biodiversity and enhance nature’s resiliency around the globe. EY’s purpose of building a better working world compels us to go further, faster. That is why EY is becoming carbon negative in 2021 and has committed to net zero by 2025 through comprehensive projects that reduce our impact on the environment and enable our people globally to tackle environmental challenges we all see every day.
And now, inspired by the United Nations (UN) Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, EY is announcing a biodiversity initiative this fall in collaboration with South Pole and others to help preserve and restore key habitats by 2030. This will simultaneously help achieve goal #4 of our carbon negative strategy to utilize nature-based solutions and carbon-reduction technologies to remove from the atmosphere or offset more carbon than we emit and also start addressing key environmental degradation challenges in our communities.
Connecting people and planet
We believe that when organizations align their aims with society’s, they will be more valuable and viable in the long-term, and we will all be closer to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges. That’s why we commit to:
- Building up capacity, celebrating leadership and supporting the next generation in local communities by engaging in projects that collaborate with and are led by communities on the ground.
We will further bring our commitment to life through EY Ripples, our global corporate responsibility program. EY contributions through South Pole will help to preserve vital natural environments aligned with our global carbon footprint and contribute to renewable energy projects, through:
- Kariba Forest Protection in Zimbabwe, which prevents more than 3.5 million tones of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere annually by preserving more than 780,000 hectares of forest;
- Guanare Forest Restoration in Uruguay, where the reforestation of degraded grasslands is improving soil quality and biodiversity.
EY has set an ambitious goal to positively impact 1B lives by 2030 and offers opportunities for all 300,000 EY people globally to accelerate environmental sustainability through driving adoption of behaviors, technologies and business models that protect and regenerate the environment while unlocking economic opportunity. We commit to continuing to scale-up targeted initiatives that will focus on geographically native restoration and empowering our communities as environmental stewards through activities such as Climate Ideation Clinics and our collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute.
Our role as an innovative convener
The power of EY lies in our ability to convene large cohorts of diverse experts around the world to work on some of the most complex issues of our time using the best tools available. In leveraging the EY network to help empower a movement in biodiversity restoration across our stakeholders, we commit to:
- Investing in the latest science-based research and shifting behaviors through our EY Ripples volunteer programs and client engagements. We will also assess where we can support restoration through financing and other resources (in alignment with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration principles 5 and 6).
Through a combination of science-based client projects, community engagement and high-level participation in international organizations, EY is contributing to transforming the way we measure value and prosperity through resilient biodiversity preservation. We have started contributing to important work with the Taskforce on Nature-related financial Disclosures (TNFD) and working with our clients to help understand how they can reimagine their impact in Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and other local communities. We will continue to build out opportunities in this area to share EY expertise and technology with our alliances over the coming months and years.
In our own biodiversity assessments, we found that most EY offices (99%) are not in or adjacent to any KBAs. While our direct impact in KBAs may not be significant, we have committed to incorporating land use management action plans into our broader EY Planet commitments to further reduce impacts and support the resilience of local communities in which we operate. As part of this commitment, we also recently updated EY’s process for selecting offices to incorporate additional biodiversity criteria.
In addition, we’re providing opportunities to all EY people to learn more about sustainability through the EY Badges Program and other upcoming education initiatives to be announced soon. The EY Badge on Climate Change currently has 5,000 students in process and has been completed by almost 2,000 to date. We have also just launched new badges around the circular economy, impact entrepreneurship, responsible business, the sustainable finance transformation and building the business case for sustainability. As we continue to expand on our EY Planet – Biodiversity and other EY Planet pledges we will provide more opportunities for our people to be educated on individual actions they can take to drive ecosystem restoration.
Actions in this pledge
Conserving trees and forest landscapes
- Permanent conservation
- Secure a forest through acquisition or legal agreement to avoid planned or unplanned deforestation or degradation, and/or ensure permanent conservation of land
We will provide more details publicly in the coming months.
Restoring and growing trees and forest landscapes
- Assisted natural regeneration
- Actions that support natural regeneration without tree planting, such as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, forest soil remediation, exotic species control, disease prevention, and wildfire protection
- Re-establishment of forest through planting and/or deliberate seeding on land classified as forest, that has been degraded or where trees are unlikely to regenerate naturally
We will continue to scale-up targeted initiatives that will focus on geographically native restoration and empowering our communities as environmental stewards through activities such as Climate Ideation Clinics and our collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute.
Restoring & Growing
Enabling activities for trees and forest landscapes
- Sustainable forest management
- Activities that support the stewardship and use of forests (including by local communities and indigenous peoples), to maintain their biological diversity, productivity, and regeneration capacity, as well as their potential to fulfil relevant ecological economic and social functions
- Education and capacity building
- Forest / tree species conservation and restoration education programmes, targeted educational and behaviour change campaigns, training and capacity building, including promotion of local and traditional knowledge and practices
- Community mobilisation
- Community mobilisation and engagement activities for conservation, restoration and reforestation, including enabling systems of community governance, etc.
- Youth engagement
- Engagement of young people and/or youth networks to catalyse a restoration generation
- Data collection, management and technological tools
- Activities that provide data and/or technological tools to support conservation and restoration (e.g. monitoring etc.)
- Financial innovation
- Activities that create additional financial opportunities and incentives for conservation, restoration and reforestation (e.g. blended financing vehicles, etc.)
We have started building capacity by supporting projects that collaborate with and are led by local communities on the ground through our tree reforestation initiatives in India, China, Hungary, Poland, among others, by planting more than 1M trees since 2010 (in alignment with the UN Decade principles for ecosystem restoration principles 4, 7 and 9).
Through EY Ripples, our global corporate responsibility program, we are working to accelerate environmental sustainability through driving adoption of behaviors, technologies and business models that protect and regenerate the environment while unlocking economic opportunity.
There are a variety of annual sustainability events and programs that EY is proud to offer for employees. Here are just a few examples:
- EY Connect Days – A series of Days of Service available to all ~90k Americas-based EY people;
- Volunteer days – various other volunteer leave policies and days across EY member firms, including in our EMEIA and APAC areas;
- EY Eco-Innovators – Opportunity for EY people to join a global community focused on empowering our people, improving EY operations, supporting our clients, and building our brand.
Our ecologically and socially responsible approach
EY is committed to ecologically and socially responsible implementation, by using and investing in science-based approaches, and engaging with local communities to protect and regenerate the environment while unlocking economic opportunities.
We aim to align with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration principles, as well as other frameworks as appropriate.
Many collaborative partners, including South Pole and Life Terra
Our implementation progress
Pledge implementation progress reporting is managed in collaboration with IUCN’s Restoration Barometer, and is required annually from the year following pledge publication.