Ernst & Young Cuts Americas Carbon Footprint 15%

by | Sep 14, 2010

Ernst & Young has achieved a 15 percent reduction in the overall carbon footprint of its member firms in the Americas from 2008 to 2009 fiscal year. The company also reported a 12 percent reduction in intensity, or carbon footprint per person, for the 41, 487 employees in the Americas.

The total carbon footprint for the Ernst & Young Americas firms in fiscal year 2009 was 187,610 metric tons of CO2 with Scope 2 emissions, related to office energy consumption, accounting for 38 percent of its total emissions. Scope 3 emissions, related to business travel, account for 62 percent of the total. Ernst & Young has minimal Scope 1 or direct emissions.

Thanks in part to engaging employees to be more environmentally-conscious in terms of travel, energy use and other office activities, the Americas firms have reduced Scope 2 emissions by 13 percent and Scope 3 emissions by 16 percent.

As an example, in the U.S., air mileage has fallen by 18 percent (approximately 75 million miles) and office energy consumption has decreased by 22 million kilowatt hours, says the company. In addition, 1,453 servers have been consolidated down to fewer than 215 servers in centralized data centers.

Here are other environmental highlights in the Americas. Since 2009, 100 percent of comprehensive RFPs (over $250,000) have included questions to Ernst & Young’s U.S. suppliers about their environmental impact and ‘green’ initiatives. The Americas firms also have cut their disposable cup consumption by 54 percent and paper purchases by 107 million sheets since 2007, while paper recycling programs have saved more than 26,000 trees annually.

Member firms also have developed a formal set of standards to help large group meetings, such as the International Intern Leadership Conference, be more eco-friendly. This includes pooling transportation, eliminating bottled water, reducing hand-outs and signage, and encouraging on-site recycling. They have also implemented new environmental volunteer initiatives.

Looking ahead, Ernst & Young has set a goal to have at least 30 percent of its square footage in the US. certfied as U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) buildings by 2012.

The company also has energy-efficient projects underway such as pursuing LEED certification for the Secaucus, NJ, office and retrofitting 15,000 lighting fixtures to be more energy efficient at the company’s 5 Times Square headquarters in New York City, which are two of the largest facilities in the Ernst & Young network.

Once completed, the Times Square retrofit is expected to save over five million pounds of C02 annually. Click here for more information about the company’s sustainability efforts.

A recent report from Ernst & Young indicated that a large number of U.S. companies are lagging behind in carbon emissions reporting.

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