In a world that’s changing faster than ever, the EY purpose – Building a better working world – has been a guide, providing the context and meaning for the work that EY people do every day. This purpose is an integral part of NextWave, the EY global ambition and strategy, which expands on the already established goal of creating financial value, to also include a focus on creating value for EY people, clients, and society.

EPIC framework redefines how companies measure value

The EY focus on long-term value creation drove the EY organization to help lead the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism (EPIC) – a collaboration of over 30 companies, with FCLT Global leadership on the advisory board, helping redefine how companies measure value.  Shortly after the initiative concluded in 2018, the resulting EPIC framework was integrated into the EY NextWave strategy. A purpose-led growth strategy has helped EY advance innovation, catalyze a transformation agenda and develop the solutions EY clients need to deliver better outcomes for their own stakeholders. This includes, for example, using blockchain technology to increase trust in supply chains and helping organizations become more resilient and better prepared for the future.

Collaboration identifies metrics for measuring long-term value creation across industries and geographies

The EY organization has also overcome competitive pressures to push the measurement of long-term value creation further alongside counterparts from across the Big 4, Bank of America and the World Economic Forum International Business Council (WEF-IBC). Over the course of two years, EY teams helped to identify a set of industry-agnostic environment, social and governance (ESG) metrics that allow businesses to measure long-term value creation across four pillars: people, planet, prosperity, and principles of governance.  FCLT Global was critical in attaining investor feedback as the initiative progressed.

Integrating ESG into strategy and realizing value

The EY annual report published these WEF-IBC metrics this year, as did over 50 other companies, and the results are a testament to the EY commitment to create and protect long-term value and deliver on a purpose-led strategy. For example, in the 2021 financial year EY teams delivered over 18 million hours of learning to help EY people develop future-focused skills. Additionally, 36% of partners promoted were women – the highest percentage of women promotes across the organization to date. The EY organization also reached a major environmental milestone, becoming carbon negative, an important step on the journey to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2025.

What’s next – Integrating of ESG in business operations and increased transparency will shift capital to the long-term

Moving forward, it would be great to see the creation of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation and mainstreaming of ESG reporting lead to increased accountability, and ultimately shifting of capital to long-term, sustainable growth.  Businesses everywhere will need to back up their rhetoric with action, integrate ESG into strategy and realize value by creating a better future for all their stakeholders.

Ultimately, it is critical to ‘walk the talk’, and the commitment to Building a better working world has to be reflected in the EY strategy, operations and long-term goals. While the EY organization needs to be financially successful, this success came—and will continue to come—because EY is focused on creating long-term, sustainable value for all of those individuals whom EY impacts day to day, whether they are EY people, clients, or communities.