Ernst & Young Firms Continue to Decrease Americas Carbon Footprint with 7% Reduction of GHG Emissions From Previous Year and 20% Reduction From 2008 Baseline

Dec 7, 2011 9:00 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) New York, NY - December 7, 2011 - Ernst & Young announced today that its Americas firms have achieved a 7% reduction in their Americas carbon footprint, from 187, 610  metric tons of CO2 in the previous fiscal year (FY09) to 174,200 metric tons of CO2 in fiscal year (FY10). This is a 20% reduction compared with the 2008 fiscal year (FY08) baseline of 217,100 metric tons of CO2. The reduction is largely attributed to reducing emissions in the US firm’s data center, more energy efficient office management and decreased emissions from operations due to a reduction in employee travel. 

Ernst & Young firms normalize their emissions data to account for fluctuations in company growth with the intensity metric of CO2 metric tons per employee. When compared to the previous year (FY09), intensity reduced by 0.10 metric tons CO2 per person (from 4.45 to 4.35). This equates to a 2% reduction in intensity per employee. When compared to the FY08 baseline, intensity decreased by 14%.   “We are very pleased with the progress we’ve made to reduce our Americas carbon footprint, but there is always more work to be done and more opportunity for cost savings,” explained Leisha John, Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability. “None of this progress would be possible without the collaborative efforts of so many people throughout the organization, including facilities managers, our real estate teams, the IT teams and our corps of employee volunteers, EcoCare.”    Data center energy savings   In FY10, purchased electricity accounted for 36% of the Ernst & Young firms’ total emissions in the Americas. Ernst & Young LLP's data center in the US is a considerable contributor to the Americas carbon footprint due to its high consumption of electricity. In response, Ernst & Young LLP put significant focus into reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from data center operations over the last three years through server virtualization and improved design of equipment layout and air flow. The result is a savings of approximately 1.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) each month. This is equivalent to annual GHG emissions from 2,434 passenger vehicles.   Reducing carbon emissions in day-to-day operations   Ernst & Young continues to focus on greening its in-office operations. Currently, the US firm is working on an LED lighting retrofit and recently purchased 100 % green power in the form of renewable energy certificates for its headquarters building in Times Square, New York City. Additionally, one-third of the firm’s US office space portfolio is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified –- in compliance with Ernst & Young’s criteria for selecting energy efficient office space and for building out high-performance interiors that are healthy and productive places to work.   The largest portion of the Americas firms’ carbon emissions, 63%, comes from business travel. Ernst & Young’s FY10 carbon footprint reduction in the Americas was largely attributed to a decrease in CO2 emissions associated with travel, which has fallen from year to year. Travel in FY08 accounted for 139,400 metric tons. It then fell to 116,707 metric tons in FY09 and 109,781 metric tons in FY10. This reduction is in part attributed to initiatives aimed to control discretionary spending in a slower economy, and providing enhanced video conferencing systems as an alternative to in-person meetings.     Looking forward, Ernst & Young plans to continue to reduce its environmental footprint through conserving other resources, such as paper, and further energy efficiency measures.   Engaging and educating its people   Additionally, realizing that employee awareness and engagement are critical to long-term reduction of environmental impact, Ernst & Young continues to expand its efforts to inform and motivate employees around sustainability issues. Many Ernst & Young LLP offices across the US offered environmentally-focused volunteer activities to their employees on EY Connect Day where Ernst & Young’s people have the opportunity to come together for a day of service to their communities and in celebration. One popular skills-based employee volunteer program involves a collaboration with Earthwatch Institute to research climate change and assist small entrepreneurial businesses in Brazil and Costa Rica.    Note to editors: Ernst & Young’s Americas Carbon Footprint initiative was designed to collect, aggregate and assess GHG emissions. This information is used to measure the carbon footprint of Ernst & Young firms in the Americas, illustrate progress against the baseline carbon footprint from fiscal year 2008, and communicate results, including through the Carbon Disclosure Project. Ernst & Young uses the methodology and criteria of the “World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Green House Gas Protocol: A Corporate Reporting and Accounting Standard,” or WRI GHG protocol. The Americas area includes North, Central and South America, as well as Israel.   About Ernst & Young Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.   For more information, please visit   Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.   This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a US client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.