The power of the partnership ecosystem

Purpose-led businesses are the driving force behind sustainable innovation

By | 2 minute read | July 23, 2021

Consumers today factor more into their decision-making than just the cost or quality of a product. A recent study found that 93% of global respondents said that COVID-19 impacted their views on environmental sustainability.  Further, respondents who said environmental responsibility factored greatly into how they choose a brand increased 22% from 2019. In the era of consumer awareness and engagement, the way you conduct your business is just as important as the end result.

IBM’s focus on corporate social responsibility has been essential to its success for more than a century.  We are proud of our strong heritage in sustainable leadership and development in managing waste, conserving energy, using renewable electricity and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Our strategy is built on the belief that corporate responsibility drives long-term value—not just in our business, but for clients, shareholders, employees and the communities we operate in. We are continually pursuing new ways to support sustainability in our business, like our commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and our support for the Climate Leadership Council’s bipartisan plan to reduce carbon-based emissions through the implementation of a carbon tax and dividend.

Of course, large societal challenges can’t be overcome by any single industry, sector or public entity. Sustainability is a team sport, which is why a core component of our strategy lies in strategic partnerships. A strong example of this idea in action is IBM’s contribution to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Our shared vision is simple: for purpose-led companies to become the driving force behind societal innovation, working together to address the world’s most pressing sustainability issues at scale.

The first step toward reducing carbon emissions is the ability to account for and share emissions data. And with most greenhouse gas emissions sitting in the middle of production and consumption of products and services, the ability to understand and track scope 3 emissions is essential. With the WBCSD, we are collaborating with clients and ecosystem partners like SAP and Microsoft as part of the recently announced Carbon Transparency Partnership. The partnership provides an essential forum for developing a standardized approach to how we calculate and exchange carbon emissions data across value chains and industries.

The partner ecosystem is a powerful thing. Studies show that partnership has become an imperative for most organizations to find value, both business and societal, focusing on fewer, deeper ecosystem combinations to build out their growth agendas. Connecting with a network of forward-thinking businesses and working side-by-side with strategic partners across a variety of sectors gives demonstrable value to the word “ecosystem.” It is with this kind of radical collaboration that we will work with the WBCSD and other member companies—Aptar, BASF, Chevron, CircularTree, Dow, Ecovadis, Engie, iPoint Systems, Microsoft, Nestle, SAP, Shell, Solvay, Unilever and others—to collectively enable the exchange of data across value chains, industry silos and technology solutions to accelerate decarbonization efforts.