NEW YORK, June 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program, a collaboration between EY and the Earthwatch Institute, a non-profit organization that engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education in sustainable environments, provided more than 13,000 hours of pro bono consulting and environmental research in Latin America. Ambassadors were chosen from EY member firms across North, South and Central America to participate in the highly selective week-long program.
The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program launched seven years ago in 2009 with the objective of sending some of EY's most qualified early-career professionals to Latin America to expand their global mindset, skills and network through a dynamic international mobility program. Since the program's inception, more than 160 EY professionals have participated. This year, 30 EY professionals participated in Earthwatch expeditions to Brazil and Mexico, with 10 volunteers on three week-long trips in May.
"The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program is a fantastic opportunity for our employees across a broad range of practices and geographies to be able to apply their business skills in non-traditional and impactful ways," said Deborah K. Holmes, EY Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility. "We think it's important that our people are given real world opportunities that draw on EY's entrepreneurial culture, make them more well-rounded leaders and teammates, and provide work experience in an emerging market."
EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors benefit from an expanded global network, with participants routinely returning to their local offices with a greater understanding of the geographic and professional breadth of EY, as well as a heightened appreciation for the intersection between entrepreneurship, community engagement and environmental sustainability. Ambassadors are encouraged to apply the learnings from their expeditions to their daily lives and careers; many ambassadors later become involved in EY's Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) work. Ambassadors are also often active in their local communities, volunteering with local nonprofit organizations.
"The program helped me develop a global mindset and a stronger commitment towards my community and the environment," said Paula Rabello, an Advisory staff based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. "As a young professional, it was meaningful to experience EY's investment in my career through this international leadership opportunity. The program is intrinsically aligned with EY's purpose to build a better working world by developing its people as its most valuable asset to provide sustainable growth and exceptional service."
2015 Expedition Highlights
For the first time, EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors traveled to Serra do Itajai National Park in Brazil to leverage their professional skills to support the strategic planning of a local eco-friendly hotel and an environmental consultancy company. They also supported scientists to assess the richness, abundance and density of birds in the Atlantic Forest. The Ambassadors' data will help map biodiversity and various ecosystem services in the area. While this was the first year Ambassadors worked in Serra do Itajai National Park, the program has now been in Brazil for five years.
For the second year in a row, EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors visited Mexico, where they supported local farmers in assessing the viability of sustainable farming methods and associated costs, production and sales figures. The team also assisted Earthwatch scientists in collecting data on water quality with agro-ecosystem production in the Xochimilco wetlands, outside of Mexico City. Their findings will be used to increase local and governmental awareness of the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices, and subsequently to improve the health of the region's ecosystem.
"The EY-Earthwatch Ambassadors Program is a great testament to the tangible impacts that a field research and skills-based volunteering partnership can have on the ground," said Earthwatch CEO Larry Mason. "We are very proud of the dossier this innovative model has generated since its inception seven years ago."
To learn more about the program and view a video of this year's expedition, go to: ey.com/environment. To see social media posts about the expedition go to: storify.com/Kgold126/ey-earthwatch-ambassadors-program
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