May 5, 2021 By Sanjay Tugnait 3 min read

Multiple forces are driving businesses to craft a pathway to a sustainable future. The world needs industry champions to lead the way and drive real transformation, powered by exponential technologies and ecosystem collaboration.

The 2020s are shaping up to be the decade of concrete actions on sustainability. With the global pandemic, more stringent regulations, growing public opinion and investor activism, it is incumbent upon business leaders to reframe sustainability as a core element of their business strategy.

The World Economic Forum reported that the top five business risks are related to the environment. In addition:

  • 62% of CXOs say sustainability is essential to remain competitive.
  • 54% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable.
  • 68% of employees prefer companies that have sustainable business practices.
  • 59% of investors will choose companies that are environmentally sustainable.

Bringing the stakeholders together for a better sustainability strategy

This convergence of expectations from governments, investors, employees and customers worldwide, and the combination of a pandemic and a record-setting year of extreme weather events has reminded leaders in every industry that the health of our people, our global economy and the environment are inextricably linked.

Sustainability is now a business imperative, crucial to driving the resilience and agility enterprises need in a world where change is constant.

Early leaders in enterprise sustainability are applying digital technologies, like AI, IoT, blockchain and hybrid cloud, to help operationalize sustainability at scale. In the process, many are uncovering opportunities to increase efficiencies and embrace innovative business models while creating more motivated and inspired employees, and more satisfied, loyal customers.

Balancing the environment with the market

The key to a successful sustainability strategy is to balance environmental drivers with key differentiators and market demands. At IBM, we have successfully co-created market leading sustainability platforms with our global clients across industries:

  • IBM Food Trust provides timely provenance and traceability of products across producers, suppliers and retailers to create a safer and sustainable food system.
  • With Plastic Bank we use blockchain to help clean up the oceans, create circular economies and combat poverty by tracking waste collection and re-use.
  • At Yara we developed the leading Digital Farming platform with AI, IoT and blockchain to provide farmers with insights to improve crop yields.
  • We joined forces with Shell to create OREN, the first B2B marketplace for the mining and industrial sectors to accelerate digital and sustainability transformation.

Let IBM partner with you on your sustainability journey

IBM is helping these clients and others embed sustainability into the fabric of their business to increase operational efficiencies, expose innovation opportunities and drive competitive differentiation. Our approach to sustainability allows us to work with you to implement industry-specific solutions that offer immediate benefits and envision the art of the possible through our IBM Garage for Sustainability.

Often, it’s difficult to break down the largest opportunities and problems to address sustainability across an organization. IBM Garage can help you identify the right set of prioritized actions to take, make progress quickly, and measure the impact against both sustainability and business goals.

Our proven Garage model will help you deliver on the promise of becoming a more sustainable enterprise. Together, we’ll refine and focus ideas, and quantify the value of initiatives on measures of business, environmental and social impact, so you realize results in weeks, not months or years.

Learn more about IBM sustainability solutions, and read the other blogs in our enterprise sustainability series:

Was this article helpful?

More from Sustainability

Best of all worlds: Building a sustainable, profitable future with enterprise asset lifecycle management solutions from IBM 

4 min read - Global warming has reached a tipping point. According to the United Nations, the world is on course to breach the 1.5°C warming threshold by 2035 (link resides outside and climb at least another 1°C higher by 2100.  To avert the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the new environmental imperatives, it’s crucial for enterprises to act now to implement effective sustainability strategies. Roughly 50% of CEOs and their executive teams now tie compensation to sustainability goals. However,…

Global effort produces first-ever decline in harmful HCFC levels

3 min read - As much of the world’s nations struggle to make sufficient progress on reducing carbon emissions, new research has emerged showing that global collaboration can in fact reverse some of the harmful effects of human activity. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change documented the first significant drop in atmospheric levels of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), harmful gases known to deplete the planet’s ozone layer. The study from researchers at the University of Bristol found a 1% drop in HCFC emissions…

10 ways artificial intelligence is transforming operations management 

5 min read - Operations management is about finding ways to do things more efficiently, precisely and smoothly. It includes a broad range of activities, such as planning, organizing, inventory and supply chain management, production scheduling, quality control, logistics and the effective running of processes and asset maintenance. Today, these functions share a common thread: they’re ripe for improvement through artificial intelligence (AI).  AI, the technology that enables computers and machines to simulate human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities, is transforming industries. In fact, 94%…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters