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Responsible citizenship

The desire to build a better working world extends far beyond our day jobs. We see societal challenges everywhere and feel a responsibility to help address them and demonstrate that business is part of the solution. In our view, a global company like EY can only be successful if we proactively participate in the societies in which we are present. We embrace this responsibility as an employer, a knowledge institution, a high-end client service provider and a good neighbor in the urban communities where our offices are located. In consultation with our stakeholders we have set goals that reflect our ambition of responsible citizenship.
  • We want to maintain and establish positive and strong relationships with all our stakeholders.
  • We aim to strengthen our position in the public debate.
  • We strive to transfer and leverage our intellectual capital to society at large and add value to the world around us by our community investment program.
  • We continuously minimize our own environmental impact across operations (see section Sustainability in operations).
Stakeholder engagement
We are committed to forging positive and strong bonds with our stakeholders. We believe that bringing the right business and policy insights to the table and asking the right purpose-driven questions is just as important as being connected, responsive and insightful.

We make an active contribution to the public debate and are eager to learn what is happening in our communities, which issues are important and what challenges have to be addressed. We initiate discussion and actively engage in dialogue to gain insights into specific problems and seek solutions. We recognize the importance of creating added value by sharing our expert knowledge and our understanding of trends and their drivers.

We plan and structure a large part of our stakeholder engagement through our Stakeholder Dialogue Steering Committee. Our annual stakeholder engagement plan identifies the groups we approach, the participants from EY and the themes we will discuss. We organized several roundtables and events to discuss current issues in FY 2015/2016. Examples include:
  • Our Board members were involved in roundtables with investors and analysts during the year to discuss reporting and auditing in 2025 and major developments in the past year, such as the impact of mandatory audit firm rotation, the segregation of audit and non-audit work and the consequences of introducing a Supervisory Board for EY’s auditors. The outcomes of these roundtables have been summarized in a white paper.
  • With Eumedion (independent representative of institutional investors) we held a roundtable discussion about the new auditor’s opinion and communication with the auditor.
  • A debate with students, in the context of our EYXperience business course, to learn what they thought of the audit profession and what questions or considerations they had regarding the public debate around auditing.
  • Regular roundtables with Supervisory Board members. These are an important feature of our stakeholder engagement. In 2015 we organized six roundtables for 56 supervisory directors of large corporates to discuss various themes that concern us at EY and that we encounter in our professional practice, not only at Assurance but also at Tax and Advisory. These included the internal audit function, executive pay and the role of Supervisory Boards in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The outcomes of these roundtables have been summarized in a white paper.
  • Several roundtables with Supervisory Board members in specific sectors such as Health and Finance and with board members of smaller companies.
  • Talks with tax administrators, government officials and other stakeholders about specific tax issues and the impact of policy decisions. At the request of the House of Representatives, for example, we advised it on new proposals to reform the tax regime in 2017.
  • Roundtable with politicians to discuss capital gains tax, and the issue of tax policy in meetings with tax directors and at boardroom level.
Kids Counsel thinks about the future of EY
EY established Kids Counsel in November in alliance with the Missing Chapter Foundation (MCF) and UNICEF Nederland. Its mission is to give children a say in their own future and to stimulate decisionmakers with the fresh perspectives of their young stakeholders to arrive at new, more sustainable solutions. EY’s Board of Directors entered into discussion with junior school pupils from Rotterdam. The children were asked to tell us how they thought auditors could regain public trust. After visiting our offices and talking with our people, they presented their findings to the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board. One of their recommendations was that auditors should admit to their errors and apologize. As one of the pupils said, ’If you say you’re sorry, you’ll be respected because at least you’re being honest.’
For a more detailed overview of our engagement with stakeholders, see GRI G4 Content Index 2015/2016.

Stakeholder engagement score
We foster solid relationships with our stakeholders. In April 2015 we asked them to rate the quality of our stakeholder engagement in terms of its frequency, quality and outcomes. This first-time measurement of our performance yielded a stakeholder score of ’Average’. We will repeat the exercise every two years. We will ask stakeholders to rate us again next year and we aim to improve on this score going forward to ’Good’.

Community investments
Our goal is to add value to the world around us. We make our most significant impact on society by concentrating our efforts on the areas where society’s needs intersect with our business strategy and the distinctive skills, services and experience of our people. Our community investment programs also stimulate the personal development of our employees, and allow them to gain new and valuable experiences.

EY has taken global megatrends and existing Corporate Responsibility (CR) priorities into account to renew its community investment strategy and focus on three pillars: youth employment, inclusiveness, and sustainable energy. Our overriding goal is to support organizations that enable us to have a positive societal impact in the urban environment. Our employees make a difference by taking up a variety of roles, ranging from local ambassadors to coaches of young entrepreneurs. With our renewed focus and ambition, we engage in strategic partnerships that benefit EY and the partner organizations equally and mutually.

We prioritized a sharp increase in community investment hours. We worked closely with both existing and new partnerships on this and set up multiple employee engagement programs to encourage our people to participate.

As a result we leveraged our intellectual capital and invested 7,372 hours of pro bono advisory, skills-based volunteering and corporate responsibility staff hours in FY 2015/2016. We support social organizations that contribute to a better urban environment with initiatives in the areas of Youth Employment, Inclusiveness and Sustainable Energy.

De Nederlandse Uitdaging contributes to Inclusiveness by fostering cooperation between business, civil initiatives and the government to drive social change. One of our strategic partnerships in this area, De Normaalste Zaak, is building a network of employers that aim to make the job market more accessible and transparent to people who are at a distance from it.

Increasing youth employment by boosting confidence through role play
Together with other professionals from the business community, our colleagues at EY taught students from ROC Amsterdam and ROC Amsterdam Zuidoost the ins and outs of applying for a job in about 75 minutes. Their aim was to prepare the students to find the right work placement or job. Some of the students wrote job application letters as a source of inspiration for the role plays and their classmates could watch them perform. Students were eager to learn and really got in the game! According to one of the students, ”this was the best class of the whole year”. Another student was so excited about the fact that his letter of motivation was approved that ”I’ll send it to the company
straight away!”
EY is one of the founding partners of the Social Impact Factory, a platform that connects social entrepreneurs with partners in the public and private sector to co-create solutions to societal challenges. EY employees proactively contribute their time and knowledge to the activities of the Social Impact Factory and scale up the impact.

Aiming for a fast transition to a sustainable society with a circular economy, Urgenda’s mission clearly matches our Sustainable Energy pillar. Moreover, we entered our sixth year of partnering the Business in Development Network (BID), as it strives to increase economic development in emerging markets by providing small and medium-sized enterprises with access to capital and knowledge.

Olympic legacy volunteer program
EY professionals from the Americas, Belgium and the Netherlands also supported and advised six non-governmental organizations in Brazil on a pro bono basis for three months. The program began with a preliminary project in which EY teams worked in virtual space with the NGOs. During the Games, the professionals went to Rio to work with the NGOs and visit the Games.
EY is using these Olympic sponsorships to help create a legacy for Brazil and a better world for future generations. www.ey.nl/Olvp
Sport sponsorship also plays a prominent role in our community engagement. Passion for sport is in our genes and complements what we stand for: supporting our staff and clients in their development so that they realize their full potential. Our sports sponsorship goes beyond a financial relationship. Since 1997 EY has been one the Partners in Sport of NOC*NSF. We also contribute our advice and let our employees and customers benefit from the experience of coaches. In FY 2015/2016 we spent €1.7 million on sponsoring sport.

Thought leadership
We invest not only in the professional know-how and quality of our people but also in market-leading intelligence. Our global organization gives us a strong competitive edge, enabling us to draw on a rich international vein of expertise, any time, any place. We actively stimulate sustainable entrepreneurship. By integrating corporate responsibility into our services, we extend the scope of financial results to the added value that businesses create. We are a partner of, for example, De Groene Zaak, the platform for leaders in sustainable business.

We conduct many national and international studies and publish newsletters, reports and white papers on a variety of issues. We actively share our knowledge with our clients and other stakeholders, in part by issuing thought leadership publications and organizing seminars, courses, lunch meetings and workshops. We also play a role in research and education with a view to developing and disseminating knowledge. We encourage our staff to affiliate themselves to a university or higher education college and are closely involved in a number of graduate and postgraduate programs such as those offered by Erasmus University Rotterdam, Nyenrode Business University, Tilburg University and the University of Groningen.

We believe it is crucial that students combine their academic knowledge with practical experience, and welcome students as interns and trainees on an ongoing basis. In FY 2015/2016 a total of seven EY partners/managers held chairs at universities in the Netherlands and abroad in the fields of assurance, tax and corporate finance.

As a global organization, EY engages with a number of groups and initiatives at global, regional and local levels, including:

International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN)
EY is active member of the ICGN. Member firms participate in a number of investor groups in different countries.
  United Nations Women’s Empowerment (WEP)
EY is a signatory of UN WEP.
International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)
EY is among a select group of organizations supporting the IIRC by participating in the Board, the Council, working groups and secondments (with an EY professional serving as deputy to the CEO).
  World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI)
EY is a signatory to PACI, the leading anti-corruption initiative in the world. EY’s Global Chairman and CEO is a member of the PACI Board.
Transparency International
EY participates in and contributes funding to Global Corporations for Transparency international initiatives.
  World Economic Forum (WEF)
EY has been a strategic supporter of the WEF for 15 years. Its involvement in the WEF enables EY to help shape future economic development and share its insights with the world’s most influential business leaders, politicians, academics and the global media.
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
EY is a proud member of the UNGC. At a global level, EY annually communicates its progress on upholding the UNGC’s Ten Principles.