‘Big four’ accountancy firm EY has launched a new division to support listed companies preparing net zero plans ahead of next year’s deadline.
EY Carbon will advise and support businesses to develop robust, ambitious plans for axing their carbon footprint, while also building longer-term sustainability strategies.
The new venture is being backed by over £100 million by EY in the UK, with an ambition to recruit more than 1,300 professionals over the next three years.
During the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a mandate for all UK-listed firms and financial institutions to publish net zero plans by 2023.
EY Carbon’s remit is to advise and support these businesses as they prepare their blueprint ahead of independent scrutiny and verification.
EY’s managing partner for sustainability Rob Doepel has been chosen to lead the division, which will comprise 250 dedicated sustainability professionals in the UK, including 12 partners.
Having previously held the position of EY’s market segment leader for energy, Mr Doepel has over 15 years’ experience focused on the power and utilities industry.
He said: “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. I’m incredibly excited and proud to be leading this effort across EY.
“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.
“The new regulations also include tracking Scope 3 Emissions. In 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: “Decarbonisation is critical to tackling climate change and requires more than just financial data and reporting – it impacts everything from taxation, operating models, supply chains, data, products and much more. Investors, employees and communities are increasingly holding businesses to account over their sustainability credentials, and inaction is simply not an option. Businesses that will thrive in a net-zero economy must lead on this agenda with transparency and pace.
“Rob brings a wealth of knowledge to the role with a strong track record of delivering real change across the organisations he works with. His experience of working across the energy sector and with multidisciplinary teams will bring a dynamic and fresh perspective to the team and our clients.”
Hywel Ball, EY UK chairman, 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.
“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. We are also proud to have achieved some significant sustainability milestones in our own business – becoming carbon negative in 2021 and we are on track to reach net zero by 2025.”