A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity expressed as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Greenhouse gas emissions have been on the rise since industrialisation. From 1970 to 2011, CO2 emissions have increased about 90%, with emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011.
Carbon emissions contribute to climate change which is damaging mother earth. Thus, the United Nations, scientists and relevant organisations among others have called for urgent action to protect earth’s biodiversity.
In 2017, Bhutan has stepped onto the international stage as the first country to become carbon negative. Following this, more and more countries and companies are pledging to be carbon negative; China pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060; Japan and the Republic of Korea have committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050; The European Union has pledged to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050; Microsoft pledges to be ‘carbon negative’ by 2030 while Nippon Steel by 2050.
The latest to join the list is Ernst & Young Global Ltd (EY), the global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. EY recently announced its ambition to be carbon negative in 2021 by setting targets to significantly reduce its absolute emissions and removing and offsetting more carbon than it emits.
“We set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but to reduce total emissions by 40% – consistent with a science-based target – and achieve net zero in 2025,” EY said in a new published statement on sustainability
Meanwhile, the EY commitment to sustainability is an integral part of its NextWave strategy and ambition to create long-term value for all stakeholders. The NextWave strategy was launched in FY2020 and it supports EY’s purpose of building a better working world.
This new ambition builds on the global organization’s achievement of carbon neutrality in Dec 2020 and underscores the EY commitment to the environment and to driving long- term, sustainable growth.
Key elements of the ambition include:
- Reducing business travel emissions by 35% by FY25 against a FY19 baseline.
- Reducing overall office electricity usage and procuring 100% renewable energy for remaining EY needs, earning membership to the RE100, a group of influential organizations committed to renewable power, by FY25.
- Structuring electricity supply contracts, through virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs), to introduce more electricity than EY consumes into national grids.
- Providing EY teams with tools that enable them to calculate, then work to reduce, the amount of carbon emitted when carrying out EY client work.
- Using nature-based solutions and carbon-reduction technologies to remove from the atmosphere or offset more carbon than EY emits, every year.
- Investing in services and solutions that help EY clients profitably decarbonize their businesses and provide solutions to other sustainability challenges and opportunities.
“We believe that combatting climate change is a vital element of building a better working world. While this challenge is unique and different for each organisation, we are inspired by those that are setting ambitious targets despite the difficulties they face,” EY Global’s chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio pointed out. – Jan 28, 2021