5 ways to manage climate risk to drive sustainability

Weather impacts every business, every day. Taking the right action for your business at the right time requires more than just weather data.

By | 5 minute read | May 5, 2021

Woman in greenhouse holding a box of fresh produce

In a year defined primarily by the global pandemic, 2020 was also marred by more weather and climate disasters than ever before, escalating in frequency and severity. There were 22 separate billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. alone, shattering the previous record. So, it comes as no surprise that for the fifth year in a row, the World Economic Forum cited extreme weather as the number one global risk in terms of likelihood to happen, with failure to adapt to climate change just behind at number two. To give you a sense of the urgency, cybersecurity comes in at number nine.

Weather impacts every business, every day, requiring industry leaders to plan for and respond to immediate disruptions and longer-term trends. And taking the right action for your business at the right time requires more than just weather data. You need to employ advanced analytics and intelligent workflows to reimagine processes and better predict how weather will impact your assets, employees and customers. In the process, you can also meet new requirements for sustainability and do right by the planet.

How you can find your path forward

The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite has a long history of helping companies forge their own unique paths to environmental resilience and sustainability. Our suite of applications brings together your proprietary and third-party geospatial and weather data, with geospatial analytics, custom weather alerts and dashboard visualizations. Industry add-ons, including renewable energy forecasting, agribusiness, airports, vegetation management and outage predictions, provide even deeper insights so you can plan and adjust to changing conditions.

Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, IBM experts are here to help. With our deep domain and industry expertise, we can work with you to develop and implement the right strategies, operating models, intelligent workflows and technology innovation to achieve your sustainability goals.

How other companies balance climate risk with profitability

Here are just a few examples of how we are helping companies manage climate risk while driving profitability and sustainability.

  1. Yara: The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2020, putting unprecedented strain on food production. Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers, is partnering with IBM to build the world’s leading digital farming platform. The cloud-agnostic solution provides holistic digital services, including weather and crop yield data, and instant agronomic advice to farmers across the globe to increase food production on existing land and ultimately avoid deforestation.
  2. Omega Energia: By 2050, 56% of the world’s electricity will be generated from wind and solar, so accurate and reliable renewable energy forecasts are critical. Fully committed to sustainability, Brazil’s renewable energy leader, Omega Energia, teamed with IBM to build a cost-effective, scalable, cloud-based wind forecasting platform. High-accuracy forecasts using best-in-class weather data and advanced analytics, including AI and machine learning, are powering benefits in maintenance planning, generation forecasting and strategic planning to help Omega meet growing demand and deliver service reliably – today, next month and for years to come.
  3. Norfolk Southern: To avoid service interruptions due to ice and snow, railroads often activate propane melters in a given area. For transportation provider Norfolk Southern, manually running 4,500 melters at 1,500 locations, with melters sometimes running when not needed, quickly drove up operational costs. With smarter railroad technology using hyper-localized weather data and AI-assisted insights from IBM, they automated the operation of propane melters for greater efficiency, which reduces snow abatement costs by 70% while reducing carbon footprint.
  4. Pedernales Electric Cooperative: Proper asset management is always essential, but even more critical when assets include powerlines that can be threatened by vegetation overgrowth. Unfortunately, traditional techniques rely on scheduled trimming regimens, which can miss overgrowth and cut other areas unnecessarily. Spending close to $10 million annually on vegetation management, electricity provider Pedernales Electric Cooperative turned to IBM for a game-changing approach that combines satellite imagery, AI and advanced analytics. Using IBM’s Vegetation Management solution and IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite, Pedernales Electric Co-op was able to reduce overall management costs while improving service reliability. What’s more, by relying on technology instead of in-person surveys as well as only going to and treating areas that need to be addressed, the company is mitigating environmental impact.
  5. E. & J. Gallo Winery: Having farmed in drought-plagued California for more than 80 years, E.& J. Gallo Winery knows no resource is more precious than water. For decades water management has been a top priority. Working with IBM to use weather reports and remote sensor data that measures soil moisture levels, they are delivering precise amounts of water to each 30 x 30 meter block of vines. When weather changes, the irrigation methods react to ensure vines only receive water when needed, reducing water usage by 25%while also optimizing growth and improving the quality of its wine.

More innovations are coming soon to support your sustainability programs and environment intelligence, including an engine to help you track and reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, and another to assess and mitigate the impact of climate risks such as wildfire and flooding to your business.

How the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite can help

Learn more about IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite solutions for climate risk management that are good for both your business and the planet.

You can also learn more about IBM sustainability solutions, and read the other blogs in our enterprise sustainability series:

Explore Think 2021 for more on sustainability

Think 2021 is IBM’s online-only, free conference. Register then use this guide to find sessions like these two events focused on IBM’s commitment to the environment, as well as a conversation on the big trends and directions:

CUBE Interview with Kareem Yusuf, PhD, IBM General Manager and Wayne S. Balta, IBM Chief Sustainability Officer. Tune in to this interview to learn more about IBM’s history of commitment to the environment, our vision for a more sustainable future, and how we’ll help clients achieve their sustainability goals.

Trends & Directions: Empowering a resilient, sustainable future: Sustainability is a business imperative. Climate change, dwindling natural resources, and other hazards are disrupting business in unexpected ways, compelling organizations to transform the way they operate. Join us to learn how to tackle the most important challenges to your business with AI-powered solutions, intelligent automated workflows and open platforms to accelerate your journey to a resilient, sustainable future.