IBM Consulting with EY

Sustainability Award

MCA Awards Finalist 2024

Organisations are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions and realise net-zero goals. Business travel is often seen as a ‘quick win’ to reduce emissions, especially in returning to a ‘new normal’ following Covid-19, which demonstrated that businesses can still succeed with less travel. EY approached the market to find a solution which goes beyond retrospectively tackling the impact of travel through carbon offsetting for example, but rather targeting human decision-making to visualise the environmental impact of the user’s choice, therefore creating a shift in mindset when deciding how, and whether it is necessary to travel.

At IBM, we champion sustainability ambition. Our Global Sustainability Centre-of-Competence offers research-based expertise and data-driven solutions enabling clients to translate ambition into action and drive positive outcomes to achieve sustainability goals.

In FY19, 70% of EY’s carbon footprint came from business travel emissions. We embarked on a journey to redefine EY’s global mobility approach, leading the initiative to decarbonise corporate travel. Sustainable Travel Approval Tool (STAT) is an intelligent, pre-booking tool developed as part of IBM’s commitment to achieving a greener business. STAT is designed to empower employees to book more sustainable travel choices by providing greater visibility throughout the user journey to both the financial and environmental impact of business travel. 

Together with EY, we strengthened our value proposition by involving end-users throughout. IBM’s designers created a visually-driven solution, applying behavioural psychology in the form of ‘smart nudges’ which guide the user through a travel selection process intuitively highlighting the carbon footprint reduction benefits of potential options; helping determine the option with the least climate impact. Continuous user acceptance testing revealed positive feedback, with 80% of users endorsing STAT.

Within 7 months, STAT was implemented in over 40 countries, initiating a significant and ongoing positive impact. Presently, it operates in over 50 countries, leading to a reduction of 558 metric tonnes of GHG emissions, equivalent to the impact of 4000+ flights from London to Paris. Notably, same-day trips have halved, with a noticeable shift towards lower emissions-intensive travel such as rail. One-day travel has decreased from 18% to 4% of total trips, while train bookings have increased from 10% to 34% in countries where rail is viable. EY-STAT has not only guided users to more sustainable ways to manage travel, but has helped IBM build a richer understanding of how to drive further value through enhancement and training support enabled by the tool.

This engagement defines our commitment to sustainability across supply chains. In partnership, we are building new, green landscapes to reshape industries of the future. Following the success of STAT’s implementation, as of March 2024, IBM and EY have announced a joint venture providing Environmental, Social and Governance solutions to help companies accelerate, manage and report on sustainability-related business initiatives. We are proud to not only be making positive impact on the planet, but partnering with transformation leaders who share our joint values of purpose, innovation, and using our power to leave our planet a better place than we found it.

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