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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.

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.

Define your goals

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64%

of CEOs are confident they will be able to achieve their sustainability goals.³

80%

of CEOs believe targets pledged by governments are achievable.⁴

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 process 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 processes 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, greenhouse gas (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.

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Regulatory reporting

Meet evolving demand from regulators and investors for financial-grade disclosure of ESG metrics.

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IT

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

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Assets and facilities

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

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Operations

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

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Go from strategy to execution

IBM Consulting Sustainability Services guides 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.

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34% of employees who changed jobs in 2021 accepted an average pay cut of 28% to work for sustainable or socially responsible organizations.¹

How AI can help reduce landfill waste
Hera SpA, a leading multi-utility in Italy, is embracing innovation and using AI for outcomes that are better for the environment. Read the case study
The IBM tools allowed us to take thoughts that previously were only written on paper and make them reality in a much faster and more agile process. Alessandro Collina Head of IT Innovation Hera SpA
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.

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

Next chapter

Define your goals and build your ESG data foundation.

Read Chapter 2
Ch. 2: Define your goals Ch. 3: Optimize your assets and facilities Ch. 4: Achieve green IT goals Ch. 5: Build a sustainable supply chain Ch. 6: Explore real-life stories
Footnotes

1. Sustainability as a transformation catalyst, IBM Institute for Business Value, 10 January 2022.
2. Gartner