Digital Reinvention

IBM Green2Grow – Moving towards a sustainable future

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IBM has been constantly committed to sustainable growth for its clients and we have taken several initiatives towards climate and environment. Though sustainability is on the mind of business leaders, the way we do business has put us on the brink of climate and environmental disaster. This is an urgent and existential challenge that enterprises need to address in collaboration with governments and the wider community. Becoming a sustainable enterprise without disrupting business objectives will be complex and difficult. However, these initiatives present new opportunities for the ones taking a bold and purposeful action.

In this introductory blog, we focus on the driving forces for enterprise sustainability. In our subsequent blogs, we commit to focus on the challenges faced by enterprises towards their sustainability initiatives and share some examples of how IBM is helping to overcome these challenges.

We incessantly speak about human activity and the daunting effect it had on environment and climate. The 1979 World Climate Conference conducted in Geneva called for immediate actions to address climate change. However, businesses function as usual without significant progress, despite global climate negotiations for over forty years. Yet, there has been a dramatic change recently. Sustainability has now grown from being a part of business strategy to top organizational priority. This was reinstated in a recent IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV) study, where we found that over 90% of business leaders surveyed see Sustainability as a key business priority, up from just over 30% in 2018.

So, what drives this change? There cannot be a single driver. A combination of several forces has brought us to a tipping point. Another IBV analysis titled “The Rise of the Sustainable Enterprise” examines this where we have outlined five key forces that converge to put Sustainability at the core of corporate agenda (See Figure 1). 

These forces have combined to create an unprecedented momentum to change. This momentum has been further accelerated by COVID, impacting individual priorities and in-turn organizational priorities to become largely purpose driven. Government-funded recovery packages across the world, directed towards sustainability themes, have also helped largely in recent times.

In June 2021, a Dutch court ordered Shell to implement tighter carbon emission standards – a landmark event demonstrating the inclination of authorities toward regulations. On the same day, Exxon Mobil’s board voted out two of its members over concerns of the company not being fast enough to act on climate change. During the same time, in our APAC region, Australian authorities announced about their intentions in tightening climate change reporting by financial institutions and listed companies. This pressure will further intensify across the world, building up to COP26 UN Climate Conference where the participating countries are expected to adopt stricter measures.

We have seen many enterprises prioritize complying with regulations, but this should not be their goal. The sustainability transition presents enterprises with huge opportunities to transform and re-examine their business models and practices to stay on the path of sustainable growth and profitability. One of our latest thought leadership publications – “The Virtual Enterprise”, and this is best illustrated by the work we are doing with Yara.

IBM has a long history of commitment to sustainability. We issued our first corporate policy on environmental affairs in 1971 and earlier this year, IBM announced that we will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to further our decades-long work to address the global climate crisis. On this day, we reiterate our commitment to working with our clients, our ecosystem partners, governments and the wider community in Asia-Pacific to achieve our collective sustainability goals by taking bold and purposeful action. For more details on how we can help enterprises in their Journey to Sustainability visit us at https://www.ibm.com/impact/sustainability

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