EY to invest £100mn in net zero consultancy division

EY Carbon’s remit is to advise and support businesses as they prepare their net zero plans ahead of independent scrutiny and verification

EY has launched a new sustainability consultancy service – EY Carbon – which is being backed by a £100mn investment.

EY Carbon’s remit is to advise and support businesses as they prepare their net zero plans ahead of independent scrutiny and verification, and the company said it is dedicated to helping them "develop robust, ambitious plans, while building longer-term sustainability strategies".

Recognising the huge challenge that these new regulations will place on UK businesses, EY aims to recruit more than 1,300 professionals over the next three years. The team has also recently launched EY Carbon Hub - a net zero transformation progress tracker designed to help businesses plan, measure and execute on their transition to net zero.

Leading EY Carbon is EY’s newly appointed Managing Partner for Sustainability, Rob Doepel, who will lead a team of 250 dedicated sustainability professionals in the UK, including 12 partners, that has recently been recognised by research and advisory firm, Verdantix, as a leader for ESG and sustainability consulting services globally.

Having previously held the position of EY’s Market Segment Leader for Energy, he has over 15 years’ experience focused on the power and utilities industry, helping clients navigate an ever-changing consumer, regulatory and political environment across transmission, distribution and retail energy.

“Sustainability is one of the defining issues of our generation and EY has a significant contribution to make in addressing today’s environmental challenges by supporting our clients and our communities," he said.

“While we have seen a number of large, medium and small businesses sign up to net zero targets, the new requirement for UK listed businesses to publish their plans by 2023 is a significant shift. It is an extremely positive step in the fight against climate change but means that businesses will need to move from purpose statements and pledges, to the detailed transition plans that will lead to positive action being taken."

EY Carbon Hub to identify corporate challenges and unlock net zero business opportunities​​​​​​​

Doepel added that new regulations also include tracking Scope 3 Emissions; addition to the emissions a business produces from its own operations, a listed business must track indirect emissions that occur across its supply chain. Accurately tracking and recording these will present a real and significant challenge for businesses as we move towards the 2023 deadline.”

Alison Kay, EY’s Managing Partner for Client Service, added that decarbonisation is critical to tackling climate change and requires more than just financial data and reporting –  impacting everything from taxation and operating models, to supply chains, data and products.

"Investors, employees and communities are increasingly holding businesses to account over their sustainability credentials, and inaction is simply not an option," she said. "Businesses that will thrive in a net-zero economy must lead on this agenda with transparency and pace."

Hywel Ball, EY UK Chair, said transitioning to a net-zero economy will take a collective effort, from across the private and public sectors – sustainability is everybody’s business and we all need to play our part. Innovative thinking, transformational business models and rapid action are what’s needed to fast track the UK to a more sustainable future.

It is also vital for businesses to have robust controls and assurance in place to mitigate the  potential for greenwashing, enabling them to demonstrate the genuine strides they are making to minimise their impact on the environment, he said.

“The significant investments we are making in EY Carbon will help support our clients to not only adapt their own operations but also identify and unlock the business opportunities created by decarbonisation – ultimately helping to protect and create long-term value for all their stakeholders."

EY became carbon negative in 2021 and is on track to reach net zero by 2025.

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