Since 2009, Earthwatch has collaborated with EY to engage high-performing early-career professionals with the opportunity to participate in one-week expeditions to help solve environmental challenges and assist local businesses in meeting their sustainability goals.
EY was looking for a way to reward their high-performing employees that would build their leadership potential and further invest them in the company’s sustainability mission. EY wanted a unique, unforgettable opportunity that would be of high value to their employees and would encourage a sustainable mindset. By rewarding employees with an environmentally-focused opportunity, they could engage their employees while at the same time furthering their environmental and sustainability missions.
Over the course of a week, EY employees travel to rural communities across the Americas to work alongside a leading scientist on an Earthwatch research expedition and provide skills-based services to local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits. From the wetlands of Xochimilco in Mexico to the Amazon rainforest of Peru to the Serra do Itajai National Park in Brazil to the coffee highlands of Costa Rica, EY employees have supported critical environmental science by collecting essential data. While on the expedition, employees have hiked, kayaked, and collected environmental samples to help researchers understand how climate change, land use, and pollution are affecting vulnerable areas.
They also worked to impact the sustainability of the locations they were visiting by lending their expertise to locals. The EY ambassadors were able to exercise their skills in a variety of ways, including by supporting the strategic planning of an eco-friendly hotel, surveying wildlife to develop conservation strategies, helping farmers achieve financial sustainability, and helping local businesses grow by identifying new markets.
The Americas Earthwatch Ambassadors Program has benefits for our people, for Earthwatch, and for the communities where we volunteer. We feel great about supporting sustainability research and assisting local business people. And our employees come back having practiced, implemented, and enhanced their business skills in a truly global setting.
— Deborah K. Holmes, Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility at EY.
Since the start of the program in 2009, more than 320 high-performing, early-career EY professionals from more than 70 cities across the Americas have participated in the EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program. These ambassadors have contributed more than 25,400 hours to supporting local businesses and collecting critical environmental data.
The Earthwatch and EY partnership provides EY’s employees with the opportunity to broaden their mindset, extend their global network, strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills, and bolster their professional and personal growth. Participants consistently return to their home offices integrating their experiences into their daily behaviors and careers, whether sharing their Earthwatch experience with colleagues, training colleagues on business practices, or becoming involved in the organization’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services work.
Earthwatch is an international nonprofit organization that connects people with scientists worldwide to conduct environmental research and empowers them with the knowledge they need to conserve the planet. Since its founding in 1971, Earthwatch has been taking action to address global change through a time-tested model of citizen science and community engagement. By pairing citizen science volunteers from all sectors of society with researchers around the world, Earthwatch teams have helped to safeguard critical habitats, conserve biodiversity, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources. For more information, visit Earthwatch.org.