Sustainability: core of your business strategy

The key to a successful sustainability strategy is balancing the environmental drivers with market demands.

By | 3 minute read | May 5, 2021

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 the core of their business strategy.

The World Economic Forum has contended 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:

  • Created IBM Food Trust for 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 consultants deliver value quickly by applying deep domain expertise, industry platforms, exponential technologies and proven solution capabilities.

Our approach to sustainability allows us to work with you to envision the art of the possible through our Sustainability Garage or implement industry-specific solutions that offer immediate benefits.

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 futureSustainability 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.