Investing in our planet and Creating a Better Earth

By | 4 minute read | April 21, 2022

For more than half a century, IBM has been committed to environmental and social leadership. We have been working to be at the forefront of sustainability efforts with both concrete goals and demonstrable results from our operations to supporting clients. After many decades, we are still committed and working to Create a Better Earth using our resources and innovative minds across the globe.

From an environmental perspective, although there is no doubt that we are facing a climate emergency, there is still a chance to make a big difference. Mr. Priyadarshi Shukla, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) co-chair, said: “Having the right policies, infrastructure, and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behavior can result in a 40-70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential.”

And that is what IBM is doing: applying technologies that tap into that significant potential.

Our investments – in action

The figures of the most recent UN IPCC’s study are staggering: 3.3 to 3.6 billion people globally are living in settings that are “highly vulnerable” to climate change[1]. That is close to half of the world’s population. Even if we take the appropriate measures, climate change mitigation strategies will be necessary for the near future and technology will be key to delivering those strategies. With that in mind, we are investing in our planet by enabling others to also become part of the solution. Nobody can tackle this challenge alone.

  • Envizi – Our new data-focused solution to help clients accelerate sustainability initiatives and achieve their environmental and social goals: This acquisition builds on IBM’s growing AI-powered software investments including Maximo, Sterling, and the Environmental Intelligence Suite to help organizations create more resilient and sustainable operations and supply chains. Envizi plus IBM’s broader AI-powered software helps companies operationalize and scale their sustainability efforts by automating the feedback generated between their corporate sustainability and ESG initiatives and the operational endpoints used in daily business operations.
  • IBM Sustainability Accelerator – a global pro bono sustainability program for non-profits: we need to go beyond our business, and this program aims for that. The IBM Sustainability Accelerator, launched in February this year, is a social impact program that applies IBM technologies together with an ecosystem of experts to enhance and scale non-profit organizations, focused on populations vulnerable to environmental threats. The program provides support to each selected organization for two years following a two-phased approach: ideation and deployment. Heifer International, The Nature Conservancy India, and Plan21 Foundation for Sustainable Human Development were the first partners to join the program, and we recently issued our first RFP focused on clean energy.

Showing impact with clients

This last year, we have also engaged with many clients in projects that have shown our collaborative, driven business culture, looking for solutions that protect our planet. From energy efficiency to recycled paper quality, these are some of our most recent stories with partners:

  • DS Smith: We established a partnership to develop a visual recognition solution on IBM Cloud that improves recycled paper quality.
  • BBVA: A study carried out by BBVA concluded that the installation of the new IBM z15 central processing equipment allowed the use of 50% less energy, and in a period of five years, reducing the emission of carbon gases in half.
  • ABB/Worley: we signed an MOU to help energy companies build and operate green hydrogen facilities more efficiently and at scale. IBM will provide systems integration services, as well as data framework and management solutions.
  • Sundt & Baelt: Through implementing IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure, Sun & Baelt has extended the expected life span of the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark from 100 to 200 years, reducing the carbon footprint by 750,000 tons of Co2.

Our achievements

We have also received third-party recognitions that confirm we are on the right track. In January, IBM was ranked #1 in JUST Capital’s list of Computer Services companies and #19 overall in JUST Capital’s list of 954 companies based on attracting work, community service, privacy for customers, and efforts toward sustainability.

More recently, IBM was recognized by TIME for applying our AI expertise to help companies navigate the climate crisis with the sustainability information they need to impact day-to-day operations. The TIME100 list highlighted IBM’s Envizi acquisition to measure environmental impact across supply chains, and how the Environmental Intelligence Suite offers AI-powered dashboards, maps, and alerts that help companies in industries like agriculture and aviation prepare for storms or measure their own emissions. 

Our culture

IBM’s efforts to invest in our planet start at home. We walk the talk. From the 21 goals for environmental sustainability we set in 2021, to our ESG framework IBM Impact, IBM’s focus on making a lasting, positive impact has never been stronger.

For more than 50 years, IBM has been integrating environmental impact throughout the fabric of our business, and the environmental component of our ESG framework is designed to create better pathways to conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and minimize climate-related risks.

Investing in our planet today means transforming your business to protect our home and help others to do so. Therefore, we have established solid goals that allow us to push ourselves and enable our partners:

  • Achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030
  • Divert 90% of non-hazardous waste from landfills and incineration by 2025
  • Initiate 100 client engagements or research projects by 2025 with environmental benefits

These are some examples of how IBM is investing in our planet today. You can learn more about our sustainability efforts and initiatives at ibm.com/impact.

[1] https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/