EY launches Net Zero Centre to support decarbonisation efforts

16 February 2022 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

Responding to growing market demand, Big Four firm EY has launched a new sustainability centre to support businesses in Australia and New Zealand with their journeys to net-zero by 2050.

Professional services firm Ernst & Young has launched a new Net Zero Centre in Australia to be led by EY Port Jackson Partners partner Blair Comley, former head of the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

The new centre aims to support regional businesses in their decarbonisation efforts and transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, and will be staffed by a number of leading experts in sustainability.

EY launches Net Zero Centre to support decarbonisation efforts

“Decarbonisation is the innovation opportunity of a lifetime. It will transform our economy and either directly or indirectly impact the future of every company. It will disrupt existing business models, amplifying complexity and uncertainty, while presenting opportunities to unlock economic potential,” said Comley, who served as Secretary of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet prior to joining the strategy consultancy in 2018.

The centre will combine insights on topics relating to net-zero with an end-to-end offering, including in areas such as gap analysis and scenario planning through to strategy and execution. The firm said the centre has been established in response to growing market demand, citing its own research that found 80 percent of CEOs believe it’s likely companies will take significant steps to mitigate their environmental impacts over the next five years.

EY also noted the push towards action as being in part driven by the investor community, with its survey of institutional investors revealing that almost three quarters are now more likely to divest based on poor ESG performance than they were prior to the advent of Covid-19. According to a report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance from last year, more than a third of all investment assets are now broadly considered as sustainable.

Further reading: 8 charts on the private sector's growing backing of clean energy.

“For the past two decades EY has been the largest and strongest Oceania advisor on climate change and sustainability strategy,” said Mathew Nelson, last year appointed as EY’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. “The Net Zero Centre is a key initiative within EY’s sustainability strategy and aims to build our legacy further, bringing the best of our deep expertise in climate change and energy transition with the firm’s strength in organisational strategy.”

In addition to Comley and Nelson, the Net Zero Centre’s senior team will include EY partner Emma Herd and EY Port Jackson Partners associate principal Steve Hatfield-Dodds, recruited respectively last year from their roles as CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change and as the executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services Director Pip Best is also a senior member.