Sustainability at EY

Patty Samit-Ampaipisarn and Sam McCarthy, UK

Earlier this year, our EMEIA Financial Services business came together to celebrate our annual Sustainability Day. It was a great success with activities running across our EMEIA region. We saw people cycling to work in Ireland and the Channel Islands, our incoming graduates in Belgium learning about sustainability, and an amazing client event held in London with the help of the Women in Technology network, inspiring young girls to get involved in STEM careers.

Why is sustainability important to EY?

Our teams are committed to being the living examples of building a better working world by integrating sustainability into every aspect of our services through our people, our communities and our clients. Our ambitionis to embed sustainability from inside-out.  We want to take care in deepening our relationships with our clients, through our service offerings and facilitate the right collaboration in the community to increase the dialogue of sustainability in financial services.  It’s also key that our people understand and feel part of our sustainability journey, and Sustainability Day gives us the chance to do this by raising awareness and increasing our knowledge across EY EMEIA FSO.

This includes raising awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted globally in 2015 in an effort to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. In our EMEIA Financial Services Sustainability Report this year, we highlighted five SDGs that we have a direct impact on through our daily lives and the work we do. These five are SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

So what happened?

It was great to see that so many people took part in the day, we had almost 500 people sign up to our webinar on why sustainability matters to our clients. We had a SDG Superpower quiz, linking to the UN SDGs with more than 200 colleagues finding out what their SDG Superpower is. As part of this we ran a photo competition — search the competition hashtag, #whatsyourSDG, to see the photos on social media.

We were delighted to see the enthusiasm across the day, whether it was from people asking questions on the webinar, the incredible photos, and most importantly, to hear the valuable discussions sparked on the back of the day’s activities.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the champions, volunteers and to everyone that took part to make this year’s Sustainability Day have real impact!

There were also some fantastic activities across Europe. You can find out more about of the activities that happened in some of our markets below.

Channel Islands

The Channel Islands had a Sustainability Week where they ran various activities. They hosted a walk or cycle to work challenge, held a Fairtrade market stall to raise awareness and invited two charity partners (Every child our future and Board Apprentice) to show how colleagues can get involved with their valuable work in the future.

Even more than that, they helped the composting project called Edible Guernsey move forward with their research to improve Guernsey’s ability to become self-sufficient. Volunteers gathered local waste in order to create clean compost and fertilisers that reduce the use and impact of imported chemical alternatives. Some other volunteers helped repaint the Jersey Youth Club to induce a more vibrant environment for them to be in!

Gibraltar

Gibraltar made a big change to their office by removing all plastic cups and replacing them with KeepCups for all people and introducing recycling bins in their main kitchen area. The recycling bins will allow them to recycle their drinks cans, glass and any plastic items (including milk cartons!). As part of the community initiative, Gibraltar will also be setting up a rota whereby our people will be taking responsibility for recycling the items on a weekly basis. They’ve also asked local students to get involved in the design process of posters for recycling awareness which will be placed all around the office.

Ireland

Ireland ran a walk, run or cycle to work initiative and a ‘think before you print’ campaign to encourage their colleagues to be aware that their actions can make a difference. It’s made a real difference to the office reducing the paper use considerably! They also held a sustainability quiz and prized the winners with an EY water bottle and a Fairtrade treat. Colleagues who had to drive into work helped out by raising money for the office charity ALONE, as did those not using a recyclable cup.

Luxembourg

Ireland ran a walk, run or cycle to work initiative and a ‘think before you print’ campaign to encourage their colleagues to be aware that their actions can make a difference. It’s made a real difference to the office reducing the paper use considerably! They also held a sustainability quiz and prized the winners with an EY water bottle and a Fairtrade treat. Colleagues who had to drive into work helped out by raising money for the office charity ALONE, as did those not using a recyclable cup.