2014 Corporate Responsibility Report

Problem solving in communities

Leveraging IBM's technology and expertise to help the world work smarter

No single commercial or nonprofit entity or industry sector can solve the world's biggest challenges alone. It is only through essential partnerships that businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations are able to develop the perspectives they need to address the complexities of our changing world. Interrelated issues of environmental sustainability and resource management, global health and healthcare delivery, and education and economic development — to name a few — make “going it alone” ineffective in the pursuit of positive change. That is why IBM works with nations, cities and nonprofit organizations as a trusted partner. With global problem-solving expertise and the innovative technologies required to manage rapidly expanding volumes of data, IBM is uniquely positioned to help make the world a smarter place.

  • Inspired by the Peace Corps, IBM's Corporate Service Corps anchors our commitment to citizen diplomacy — deploying global teams of experts to work with governments and nonprofit organizations in emerging economies to solve their toughest problems.
  • By focusing the talents of 700 IBM experts to help 116 cities around the world since 2010, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge employs a global problem-solving perspective to help cities and urban regions regroup, revitalize and become better places for people to live, work and visit.
  • Enhancing the capabilities of nonprofit and educational organizations to serve their constituencies with greater agility and effectiveness, IBM Impact Grants facilitate delivery of our global operational expertise and innovative cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security technologies in more than 70 countries.

Corporate Service Corps: Creating leaders through citizen diplomacy

Launched in 2008, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) works with clients, partners, communities, and nations in emerging economies on projects that solve critical problems while providing employees of IBM and our partners with unique leadership development opportunities. Inspired by the Peace Corps, CSC delivers a triple benefit — communities have their problems solved, IBMers receive leadership training and development, and IBM develops new markets and global leaders. More than just fly-in/fly-out engagements, CSC projects embed global teams in-country for 30 days. During that time, expert consultants develop a deep appreciation for our nonprofit clients’ challenges and deliver solutions that are relevant and sustainable. The CSC experience also is a significant career milestone for participants — the overwhelming majority of whom rate it as among their best professional experiences, recommend it to their peers, and cite it as a factor in electing to continue their careers at IBM.

“IBM has been a leader in demonstrating the impact that the private sector can [have] in contributing talent and expertise to our communities. IBM invited us to join one [of] their Corporate Service Corps projects so that we could learn from their model, and the experience inspired us to create a similar program in Detroit. We’ve had great feedback from our nonprofit partners and our employees.”

Peter Scher, executive vice president and head of corporate responsibility, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2014, CSC garnered external recognition for its outstanding work from coverage in the Boston Globe, Guardian (United Kingdom), Huffington Post, Washington Post and local media in more than a dozen countries. The program also was honored with an AmeriCorps Corporate Champions Award in 2014, and was praised by authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in their book A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities.

Examples of 2014 CSC team projects include:

Protecting women’s health

Good health is essential to all human progress. Women’s health is a global issue because simply being female puts one’s health in jeopardy in many parts of the developing world. Sociocultural biases and unequal power relationships subject women to discriminations and exclusions that drive increased morbidity and mortality among them and their children. Inadequate access to quality health services — either alone or in combination with the effects of poverty, violence, and lack of control over sexual and reproductive health — condemns many women and their children to lives of unnecessary misery and brevity.

  • Ghana

    Although as many as 80 percent of pregnant women in Ghana seek prenatal care, HIV testing often is deferred because of lack of public awareness, limited access to diagnostic tests, and cultural stigma. As a result, the HIV transmission rate from affected pregnant women to their newborns is as high as 15 percent. IBM is working with the Ghana Health Service and the Yale School of Medicine to help reduce Ghana's mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to less than 1 percent by 2020. Using IBM data analytics and cloud solutions, this cross-sector partnership has developed advanced models to help Ghana predict and prioritize the best interventions to reduce and eventually eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. The next stage of the project will be to utilize IBM mobile solutions to share the advanced clinical practices developed by the Ghana Health Service and the Yale School of Medicine with hospitals and community care providers throughout the country.

“As [head of] a government that puts people first, I am confident that predictive analytics, cloud technology and mobile solutions can be of tremendous value as we collaborate with IBM towards the elimination of transmission of HIV from mother to child.”

Hon. John Dramani Mahama, president of Ghana

  • Peru

    Women in rural Peru often must travel half a day — sometimes on foot — to get the medical care they need. Despite this and other hardships, they persevere as their lives may depend on it. Awaiting them in the rural village of Cusco is the CerviCusco women’s clinic, which has treated more than 35,000 patients and performed hundreds of surgeries. Women in remote Andean villages learn by radio about how CerviCusco can help them manage their health. Then, when they can get time away from farming and other labors, these women make what for some proves to be a life-saving journey to the clinic.

    Daron Ferris, MD, founded and runs the clinic, and in 2014 received pro bono consulting services from a CSC team of experts and our partner Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD). The goal of the CSC/CerviCusco project was to develop a three- to five-year sequential plan for Dr. Ferris’s organization to expand its clinical reach to 75,000 women. In addition to IBM’s strategic plan for greater outreach, BD worked with CerviCusco to incorporate BD’s advanced diagnostic technology into patient care.


IBM CSC teams with Becton, Dickinson and Company to address cervical cancer screening for women in Peru.

Working with partners to protect the environment

With its warm, wet climate and vast expanse of 2.7 million square miles of land, the Amazon river basin has the potential to become one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. The basin, which is about the size of the United States and touches eight countries, harbors one-third of the planet’s biodiversity, produces one-fourth of its fresh water, and plays a key role in warding off the worst effects of climate change. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) — the world’s largest environmental organization — reports that no other place on Earth is more critical to human survival.

Disturbingly, the Amazon rainforest has lost nearly 20 percent of its flora over the past 40 years. And the Brazilian government reports that deforestation continues. That’s why TNC launched programs aimed at preserving the rainforest and promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and why IBM’s CSC helped TNC with one of its most critical projects — an effort to facilitate establishing land ownership records, monitoring land use, and potentially stopping illegal deforestation.

A handful of Brazilian municipalities in the Amazon have piloted TNC’s Municipal Environmental Portal (PAM) to track land ownership. TNC sought to broaden the PAM user base to more than 100 cities and towns and collaborated with a CSC team to help advance PAM technology and develop a plan for its adoption throughout the region. The partnership with TNC provided an opportunity for IBM to exert environmental leadership on the ground that will balance the need for economic growth with the need to provide sustainable performance in the environmental space.

“Saving nature is one of the smartest investments a company can make. And collaborating with businesses like IBM is a smart strategy for environmentalists. Working together, we can get more done for nature. At the Nature Conservancy, we are learning a lot from IBM. Information technology is a powerful asset for the environmental movement, and we are collaboratively discovering great ways to put IBM’s technological expertise to work for conservation. Companies like IBM are a great source of innovative ideas to accelerate and scale up environmental progress.”

Mark Tercek, president and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

During the project, IBM and TNC took the unusual step of inviting public suggestions through an online forum to help improve PAM and make it more useful and compelling for municipalities, landowners, farmers, loggers and environmental groups. The public also was invited to contribute suggestions for preserving the rainforest, improving the economy of the Amazon region, and making agriculture more sustainable there.

“We can’t solve these big problems unless we have governments working with business, working with NGOs. It takes all three to be successful.”

Henry M. Paulson Jr., former US Treasury secretary and co-chairman of the Latin American Conservation Council, which works with TNC to help design and fund its programs.

A team of ten IBMers from seven countries spent four weeks in Belem, Brazil, helping the Nature Conservancy further develop a technology system aimed at helping to preserve the rainforest.


Number of CSC projects undertaken by 30 teams in 2014


Number of CSC experts deployed to pro bono consulting engagements in 29 cities in 21 countries in 2014


Number of CSC engagements since inception, involving more than 2,500 participants from 60 countries

Smarter Cities Challenge: Revitalizing cities

The Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) deploys top IBM experts to help cities around the world address their most critical challenges. We do this by putting teams on the ground, working closely with city leaders to deliver recommendations on how to make a city smarter and more effective. SCC is IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, with contributions to date valued at more than $50 million. Since 2010, IBM has deployed 700 top experts to help 116 cities around the world.

Among 2014’s SCC highlights:

Reversing neighborhood decline in Syracuse

One year after an SCC team worked with the city of Syracuse, New York, to understand, analyze, predict and help prevent increases in vacant residential properties, Mayor Stephanie Miner announced that the city had already seen a 69 percent increase — to $2.5 million — in collection of delinquent property taxes and fees compared to the previous year, and credited SCC for helping the city make transformative changes. The positive impact of IBM’s partnership with the city of Syracuse was recognized by the 2014 Secretary’s Award for Public-Private Partnerships, awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, and the Council on Foundations.

Helping Perth plan for sustainable growth

The city of Perth, Australia, faced increasing logistics challenges presented by a growing need for accessible, integrated and coordinated information about the real-time use, demand, capacity, location, age and ownership of essential city infrastructure. As the state and greater city grows and the capital develops to drive and support the state's economy, the need for timely and efficient design, implementation and management of key and essential infrastructure (supporting transport, water and energy delivery) will only increase. In 2014, IBM was asked to help the city “future proof” itself and to develop a roadmap for an integrated system for implementing and managing essential services infrastructure to reduce risk, improve service delivery and enhance infrastructure reliability and usability while reducing costs.

Transforming Zapopan into a global industrial player

The food and beverage industry is an important growth engine that accounts for more than 30 percent of manufacturing jobs in Jalisco, Mexico. The city is the second-largest food and beverage producer in Mexico, and the number one industry employer in the country. The municipality of Zapopan, in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, sought to support the growth of this dynamic sector by linking producers, small businesses, researchers and large corporations across the food production chain more effectively. Mayor Dr. Héctor Robles Peiro requested IBM’s assistance in developing a strategic plan for a food industry cluster that would spur the development of innovative research and production methods, create opportunities for small businesses to add value, support job creation and training and promote growth in distribution channels across the region, the country and the world.

“We’ve always recognized and admired the strength of IBM, but the Smarter Cities Challenge revealed to us the amazing possibility of joining public and private forces in matters that are so important to our city. Every city shares the challenge of developing employment, competitiveness and collaboration in a sustainable way. IBM is pioneering the way international corporations can drive economic development in partnership with government and civil society.”

Dr. Héctor Robles Peiro, mayor of Zapopan, Mexico

Assessing the business potential for solar energy in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland, has a significant amount of municipally and nationally owned roof space and real estate that together have great potential as locations for solar technologies. Ireland already is a world leader in the production of wind energy, having heavily invested in offshore capacity. Dublin is now serious about solar, and the city’s chief executive officer, Owen Keegan, asked IBM to assess the business potential for municipally owned and distributed solar energy. The project team — which included two HSBC staff members who brought financial expertise to complement IBM’s technical and marketing skills — examined optimal ways to integrate this new energy source into the existing power grid.

IBM works with the City of Dublin on renewable energy issues, with a focus on solar panel installations.

Smarter Cities Challenge 2014 cities

Abuja, Nigeria

Ballarat, Australia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Birmingham, Alabama

Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

Dallas, Texas

Dublin, Ireland

Durban, South Africa

Jinan, China

Mombasa County, Kenya

Niigata, Japan

Perth, Australia

Suffolk County, New York

Tainan, Taiwan

Vilnius, Lithuania

Zapopan, Mexico

The program continued into 2015 with the announcement of 16 additional grant recipients.


Number of IBM experts who participated in SCC engagements in 2014 (620 since program inception)


Number of hours of pro bono consulting contributed in 2014 (102,300 since program inception)


Monetary value of the SCC program since inception, including $7 million in 2014

Impact Grants: Delivering service capabilities to nonprofits

Innovative, advanced technologies are the foundation of IBM’s citizenship initiatives. Data analytics, IBM Connections, and mobile technologies are among the richest and fastest-growing components of IBM’s vast portfolio of services. In the same way that these transformative offerings are helping for-profit enterprises reimagine and achieve their commercial potential, they also enable IBM to deliver previously unheard-of breakthroughs in service to nonprofit organizations.

We’re already seeing results as data analytics are enabling cities in both mature and emerging markets to predict and control vehicular traffic congestion that — if left unmanaged — could thwart growth and stifle economic development. Data analytics also serves as the backbone of IBM’s initiatives to track the spread of diseases such as Ebola, or implement timely and effective disaster recovery. IBM deploys data analytics in tandem with secure, scalable, and “always on” IBM SmartCloud® and mobile technologies that are unaffected by local conditions such as inadequate or compromised communications infrastructures. These innovative technologies enable us to effect a quantum leap in disaster recovery and project implementation capability.

Any meaningful practice of corporate citizenship acknowledges that the world’s major challenges are larger than any single entity or sector can manage alone. It is only by working together — through contributions of time, technology, expertise, and financial support — that we can help bring about positive transformations in the quality of people’s lives. Through IBM Impact Grants, we share our capabilities and expertise with nonprofit organizations to help them operate and serve their constituencies more effectively.

IBM helps advance the service efforts of educational and nonprofit organizations through grants of software and consulting expertise. By so doing, the IBM Impact Grants program allows us to be more agile and responsive to the evolving needs of the nonprofit sector. IBM has delivered more than 1,500 Impact Grants worldwide since 2010, with more than 500 grants delivered in 2014. IBM Impact Grants are structured to benefit recipients in the following ways:

  • Capacity building offerings — We help nonprofit organizations build capacity for future growth by providing access to IBM technology, software and expert business consultants.
  • Strategic growth offerings — We tailor strategic growth solutions for organizations in the nonprofit and education sectors, helping them succeed through executable strategies and deliver value through technology-enabled transformation.
  • Business analytics offerings — We provide predictive analytics to help organizations forecast with confidence what will happen next, so that they can make smarter decisions, solve problems and improve outcomes.

Among the highlights of our 2014 activity:

Strategic growth assessment for China’s One Foundation

Among China’s most prominent nonprofit organizations, the One Foundation works primarily in the areas of disaster relief, children’s welfare and the training of public welfare professionals. One Foundation needed assistance with developing a strategic plan to transform itself for greater efficiency and effectiveness, and to improve its fundraising efforts.

“The IBM Impact Grant has been very effective. The IBM team demonstrated a profound insight into One Foundation’s strategic imperatives and weaknesses, i.e., fundraising, donor relationship management, and strategy management and implementation. All of IBM’s six recommendations were valid, and will play essential roles in the future of our organization.”

Ma Weiha, chairman of the board of the directors, One Foundation

Predictive analytics insights to combat youth unemployment in Japan

Since the beginning of Japan’s recession in the early 1990s, the youth unemployment rate has increased both in size and in the intractability of its underpinnings. For example, an increasing number of Japan’s youth are disengaged from employment, education or training. The nonprofit organization Sodateage Net — with the mission to help young Japanese people attain economic independence — asked IBM to help analyze youth-needs-related data and provide insights into serving this constituency more effectively. Using IBM SPSS® Predictive Analytics software over the course of a 10-week IBM Assessment Grant engagement, our consultants provided Sodateage Net with data-driven insights into education and training, and support for employment opportunities available to underserved Japanese youth. Sodateage Net already has capitalized on these insights to help reduce unemployment in communities throughout Japan.

Speeding disaster relief with cloud-based management tools

In 2014, IBM awarded a grant of consulting services to the American Red Cross International Services department, which was involved in supporting Typhoon Haiyan response activities in the Philippines. The grant helped the Red Cross evaluate strategies for using cloud-based tools for disaster information management following international crises, and built IBM’s long-term relationship with them. That relationship dates back to 2009, and has included services to design and develop an online disaster services course, a grant to optimize transportation processes for the American Red Cross’s Biomedical Services division, and extensive engagement of IBM volunteers with Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters and societies worldwide.

“The IBM Impact Grant to our international services department was an essential component of our effort to understand the latest approaches to scalable and adaptable cloud and social media technologies to support our responses to global crises. When these disasters occur, the immediate availability of systems can transform our abilities to manage a response. We believe that scalable cloud-based technologies enable more agile and effective response in those critical hours after disaster strikes.”

Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO, American Red Cross

Sharing leadership and operations skills with Egypt’s government ministries

In partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Antiquities, IBM launched a series of five-day training workshops for mid-level and senior government managers focused on leadership, social media and project management competencies. More than 450 managers attended the training, and the ministries have requested further support. These Impact Grants leveraged wide visibility with key government officials, and IBM was recognized for the program.

Strengthening women entrepreneurs in Nigeria

In Nigeria, IBM delivered a Small Business Resource Marketing grant to the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs — an arm of the Ekiti State Chamber of Commerce. Key government staff and more than 70 female small business entrepreneurs attended the workshop, which provided training in business planning and access to the rich repository of best practices in the IBM SME Toolkit.

“A big ‘thank you’ to IBM — our women entrepreneurs are now more knowledgeable about how to better manage their businesses and how they can use SME Toolkit in future. They also have been encouraged to seek out more training to learn the skills to use the Internet and email to enhance their businesses.”

Chief Kola Akosile, chairman of the Ekiti State Chamber of Commerce

Providing free software training and job placement for military veterans

In 2014, IBM and lead partners Corporate America Supports You and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network launched the Veterans Employment Initiative to help returning veterans transition successfully to civilian careers as data analysts. The program includes software training and job placement assistance by connecting IBM software trainers with qualified participants for five days of instruction on IBM’s i2® Analyst’s Notebook data analysis environment. After their instruction, participants may take an exam to become certified as advanced data analysts. IBM is partnering with other corporations such as Citi and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to secure jobs for the certified graduates. Employers are expected to fill nearly 200,000 jobs over the next few years with those holding credentials like those provided by the Veterans Employment Initiative, which currently operates across the United States and United Kingdom.


Number of Impact Grants delivered worldwide in 2014


Number of Impact Grants delivered worldwide since 2010


Market value of 2014 Impact Grants


Market value of Impact Grants since 2010

World Community Grid: 
A “virtual supercomputer” for humanitarian research

IBM’s World Community Grid® is a virtual supercomputer that aggregates donated, unused computing power from desktop and mobile devices and makes that power available to researchers seeking solutions to such critical global issues as finding cures for disease, developing technologies for energy sustainability and seeking ways to protect the world’s water supply. World Community Grid processed nearly 480 million calculations in 2014 — the equivalent of more than 200,000 years of computer runtime. Since its inception in 2004, World Community Grid members have contributed the equivalent of more than one million years of computing time to research projects that otherwise would not have had access to such massive computing power.

In 2014, World Community Grid played an essential role in the Chiba Cancer Center’s breakthrough in childhood cancer research, enabling researchers to isolate seven new drug candidates from a field of three million. World Community Grid’s partnership with the Harvard Clean Energy Project on carbon-based solar cell research was named the number one catalyst for revolutionizing 2014 by USA Today. President Obama’s Climate Change Initiative for using big data to support climate change research featured World Community Grid. And in the fight against the Ebola virus, World Community Grid joined the Outsmart Ebola Together partnership and was the computing power behind the Scripps Research Institute’s accelerated search for a cure.

“In the search for a cure for Ebola, IBM’s World Community Grid is letting us do in weeks what would otherwise take us hundreds of years to do — calculating which drugs will do the best job of targeting and destroying the virus.”

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, Scripps Institute professor and 
founder and director of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium

New hope in the fight against childhood cancer

Though 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer are cured, those afflicted with neuroblastoma — the most common form of cancer diagnosed in infants, and a disease that affects one in 8,000 children in the United States and Japan — have only a 30 percent survival rate. In the search for the cure, researchers at the Chiba Cancer Center in Japan used the World Community Grid virtual supercomputer to screen three million drug candidate molecules in just two years. This process would have taken more than 55,000 years using a single computer. As a result, the researchers discovered seven new drug candidates that could potentially be used in new medicines to fight childhood neuroblastoma. The investigators published their results in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Medicine, and currently are seeking a pharmaceutical partner to collaborate on the further development and testing needed to produce an approved medicine.

Dr. Akira Nakagawara (right) and a colleague review study results enabled by IBM World Community Grid.

Answering the call to help mitigate the effects of climate change

In response to President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative — a call to private and philanthropic organizations to develop data-driven tools to plan for and mitigate the effects of climate change — IBM expanded the World Community Grid program to support scientists studying these issues. World Community Grid will provide free access to virtual supercomputing resources and a platform for public engagement to humanitarian researchers investigating such issues as the resilience of staple food crops and watershed management. Each research project will have access to up to 100,000 years of computing time — a value of $60 million in today’s costs.


WCG completed 487,564,975 research tasks in 2014 (2.2 billion since program inception), using 200,609 years of donated CPU runtime (over 1 million since inception).


Nearly 3 million desktop and mobile devices have been enrolled in WCG (including 428,263 in 2014) by 684,467 registered members, with 45,168 members joining in 2014.


Number of World Community Grid partner organizations, including four new organizations added in 2014.

Supplier Connection: Helping small businesses grow

Supplier Connection helps America’s small businesses gain access to large companies’ supply chain spending, so they can grow and create new jobs. This free service offering small businesses “one stop shopping” is powered by IBM and streamlines the procurement process for both buyers and suppliers. More than 1,000 small companies already are connected to nearly 30 large-company buyers through Supplier Connection. In 2014 alone, participating corporations spent more than $2 billion with small businesses registered on Supplier Connection — up nearly 30 percent over the previous year.

“IBM has stepped up. Rather than view small firms as competitors, IBM embraces them as partners. You have done it because you believe in corporate citizenship, and because you understand that stronger supply chains are good for America and good for the bottom line.”

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator, US Small Business Administration

SafetyNet with Nonprofits:

Focusing IBM technology on helping the vulnerable

When fully operable, the IBM SafetyNet with Nonprofits will make use of the IBM Curam solution to help settlement houses, community organizations and other providers of social services to be more effective in assisting society’s most vulnerable. Specifically, SafetyNet will enable service providers to:

  • Develop and analyze demographic data of beneficiaries
  • Track progress and results online, make real-time improvements in service, and develop the data needed for continued or acquired government contracts and funding
  • Reduce data production time from weeks to days

“With the deployment of SafetyNet, The Jacob Riis Settlement House has improved its ability to respond to funders requesting information, compete for new funding, manage government contracts, and manage client and family progress through multiple programs. The results are tangible time and cost savings for the organization, with more effective and efficient services delivered to clients.”

Chris Hanway, executive director, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House