Sustainability in business has an execution gap while 86% of companies have a sustainability strategy, only 35% of companies have acted on it.¹ The biggest blocker? More than half of organizations say they lack the tools and expertise to pursue their sustainability ambitions.²

Turn ambition into enterprise-wide action

Most CEOs are confident about their ability to meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. But knowing isn’t the same as doing. Turning ambition into action requires a solid roadmap that everyone can get behind.


64% of CEOs are confident they will be able to achieve their sustainability goals³


80% of CEOs believe targets pledged by governments are achievable⁴

3 steps to operationalize sustainability

Having a strategy is only the first step of the journey. The crucial next step is to put it in motion. From our own experience and from working with clients worldwide, we see it as a 3-stage process:

  1. Define your sustainability goals and KPIs: Know what you want to achieve, and how you’ll measure your progress. If you’re aiming for Net Zero, for example, you’ll want to define what good monthly or quarterly progress towards that goal looks like. Communicating and celebrating progress is key to keeping people on-side.
  2. Establish your ESG data foundation: Create a clear baseline to underpin each goal, and establish an ESG system of record to document and monitor your progress. Assess and select which data you need to collect from around the business, so you can fix your current baseline and measure progress against your KPIs. This will likely include data from areas like assets, facilities, supply chain, and IT infrastructure.
  3. Operationalize your goals: Align your organization by creating a single system of record to track progress towards your goals. Populate it with data from relevant business areas and use it to report on progress and identify where improvements are needed. 

You may have done some of these things already, so view these stages in light of what you’ve already achieved, and see what more you can do to accelerate progress towards your goals.

Embed sustainable practices

Operationalizing sustainability is more than a technology project. It requires meaningful culture change across the organization. The good news: a sustainability mission can get your people motivated and keen to contribute – and the need to do things differently can drive innovation, too.

Sustainability at the heart of the enterprise reaps significant benefits, including:

  • Improved governance and stakeholder engagement
  • Mitigation of climate, GHG emissions and other ESG risk factors
  • Improved supply chain resilience and security
  • Improved brand perception, commercial and competitive advantage

Embed sustainability across key areas of your organization

Supply chain

Improve transparency and resilience, embed ethical and sustainable practices, and build circularity into your supply chain

Regulatory Reporting

Meet evolving demand from regulators and investors for financial-grade disclosure of enterprise, social and governance (ESG) metrics


Minimize CO2 emissions through greener IT infrastructure, and reduce data center workloads

Assets and facilities

Optimize your real estate, facilities, and equipment to reduce energy use and emissions


Enable decarbonization and manage the transition to clean energy for the long-term health of your business

Go from strategy to execution

IBM Consulting Sustainability Services can guide you from strategy to execution to become a sustainable enterprise. We’ll help embed sustainability into your operations and culture across transparent supply chains, ESG reporting and risk management, responsible computing and green IT, and intelligent assets and facilities.

34% of employees who changed jobs in 2021 accepted an average pay cut of 28% to work for sustainable or socially responsible organizations.⁵

Accelerate your ESG transformation

IBM Garage™ for Sustainability offers an end-to-end model for accelerating sustainable transformation. Used in conjunction with IBM’s Green Compass framework, it enables companies to build trust and embed values in every touchpoint, to view sustainability more holistically and understand areas to track, report, farm, and innovate to achieve sustainability goals.

See why IBM was named a leader in the HFS Top 10: Sustainability Services, 2022 report.

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