Ernst & Young has announced its plans to acquire Netbalance, one of Australia’s most prominent Sustainability & CSR consulting houses, for an undisclosed amount. In an email release yesterday afternoon, Netbalance broke the news to its members stating that the proceedings would have little to no impact on the provision of its services. Netbalance has a prestigious client base, having worked for the likes of World Vision, Woolworths, Telstra, Bunnings, Insurance Australia Group, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, AGL, EnergyAustralia and Stockland.
Director Terence Jeyaretnam, started Netbalance in 2006 and over the last eight years has created an organisation with international reach, with offices across Australia and London. Excited by the move, Jeyaretnam explained that “it will present both our clients and our staff with significant opportunities especially as we look to expand into new markets and broaden the range of services, projects and initiatives we can offer”.
EY expects to fully integrate Netbalance into its Australian Assurance Practice, which will see all of Netbalance’s staff become part of the EY Climate Change & Sustainability Services team by the end of September. Mathew Nelson, EY’s Australian Climate Change & Sustainability Leader says that this acquisition will “further strengthen EY’s ability to service our clients across all areas of sustainability and climate change, particularly social, supply chain, energy and sustainability advisory services”. It will also see EY’s team grow to over 90 people, making it the leading sustainability advisory services practice in the country. Staff will be relocated from across Australia to offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, however the Netbalance Foundation will remain intact, as will ECO-Buy; a sustainable procurement advisory NFP acquired by Netbalance in December 2012.
This is a win/win situation for Netbalance and Ernst & Young, as it will improve EY’s ability to provide expert Sustainability & CSR services, and will give Netbalance employees the infrastructure and resources to have an even greater impact on Australian and international business. It is fantastic for one of the Big Four to be taking such a keen interest in this sector and will certainly give Ernst & Young Australia a competitive advantage over the other three big professional services firms Deloitte, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Ernst & Young is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and with this acquisition is adding a high profile B-Corp to its ranks. Although supporting growth of a sustainability & climate change advisory practice is just good business sense given the growing focus on these issues, it is fantastic to see a corporate giant investing in this area, it shows a real long term commitment to improving the way Australians do business at home and internationally.
You can read more about this acquisition here.