Information Technology Services
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CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER
- Smart Energy Decisions Innovation Award
- 2018 Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas
Report created by Sagarika Deshmukh
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American cloud platform and cognitive solutions multinational technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, New York.
IBM is a leading cloud platform and cognitive solutions company. Reinventing since 1911, IBM is the largest technology and consulting employer in the world, with more than 350,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries.
IBM recently announced it was spinning off the Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division into a new public company, an action expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Nicknamed ‘Big Blue’, the company offers cloud products in the shape of Bluemix, a SoftLayer cloud, and data analytics, or cognitive computing capabilities, with the Watson supercomputer.
While the company has expanded its portfolio from server hardware, this is still an area that it operates in with the z Series mainframe.
The company also offers software with the likes of its DB2 database offering, and IBM SPSS. IBM has been focused on continuous innovation for more than a century. Patenting is an important barometer of that innovation, and IBM has topped the annual list of U.S. patent recipients for the 20th consecutive year.
Company Sustainability Activity
IBM has taken the long view of leveraging technology, resources, and people to help with initiatives around the world. They aim to make a difference through various initiatives such as in education and health.
IBM provides its employees with resources needed to make an impact by volunteering. They also developed their own IBM Volunteering and Giving Portal and are matching Employee grants. IBM has increased their contributions in reducing energy consumption and grew investments in employee learning.
In 2019, IBM invested $7.1 million of capital and spent $61.5 million in operating expenses to build, maintain and operate its worldwide environmental protection infrastructure and programs.
- Total 2019 energy consumption was reduced by 4.5% versus 2018 to approximately 4.5 million megawatt-hours.
- IBM implemented 1,660 energy conservation projects at nearly 230 locations, which avoided the consumption of 136,000 MWh of energy, the emission of an associated 47,000 metric tons of CO2, and saved $14.4 million in expense.
- In 2019, IBM increased its consumption of renewable electricity by 18%.
- From 2018 to 2019, IBM reduced CO2 emissions by 11.1% to 1,222,000 metric tons.
- IBM’s worldwide operations generated 35,700 metric tons of nonhazardous waste in 2019.
- IBM Processed 20,800 metric tons of end-of-life products and product waste, and more than 95% (by weight) was reused, resold, or recycled.
- IBM presented a new rechargeable battery technology with potentially faster charging time, higher power density, and longer life than today’s lithium-ion batteries, while eliminating the use of heavy metals.
- Conserve energy each year equivalent to 3% of IBM’s annual energy consumption through conservation projects.
- Procure 55% of IBM’s worldwide electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025 — this includes renewable electricity in the grid mix IBM receives from utilities or energy retailers, and renewable electricity for which IBM specifically contracts over and above the renewables in the grid.
- Reduce operational CO2 emissions associated with IBM’s energy consumption 40% by 2025 against base year 2005, adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures.
Energy and Climate Change
- In 2015, IBM voiced its support for the Paris Agreement and reaffirmed its support in 2017.
- In 2019, IBM became a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council and publicly supported the Council’s plan for a carbon tax, with the proceeds of that tax to be returned to citizens.
- 2019 energy consumption was reduced by 4.5% versus 2018 to approximately 4.5 million megawatt-hours.
- Electricity from renewable sources now accounts for 47% (1,790,000 MWh) of IBM’s total electricity consumption, versus our goal of 55% by 2025.
- In 2019, IBM reduced CO2 emissions by 39.7% against a 2005 baseline, nearly meeting its goal of 40% by 2025.
- IBM implemented 1,660 energy conservation projects at nearly 230 locations globally in 2019. These projects delivered annual energy savings of 136,000 MWh, equal to 3.2% of their total energy use during 2019 and surpassing the corporate goal of 3%.
- IBM avoided 47,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and saved $14.4 million in expense.
- In 2019, 50% of the electricity consumed in IBM’s data centers came from renewable sources, including both contracted and grid-supplied –which was up by 40% compared to 2018.
- In 2019, 34 IBM data centers were supplied with 100% renewable electricity, although they still depend on backup power from fossil fuels when renewable sources become interrupted.
- In late 2018, two solar arrays went into operation at IBM’s data centers located in Bastogne and Vaux-sur-Sŭre, Belgium. During 2019, these two installations generated approximately 2,800 MWh of solar power.
- IBM believes in being fully transparent in the reporting of our climate-related results.
- IBM will not use the purchase of unbundled Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to claim they are “x% renewable” or “powered by x% renewable energy” if they cannot credibly consume the electricity those certificates represent, or if they are not otherwise consuming renewable electricity to which they would apply the purchase of such certificates.
- In 2019, withdrawals at larger IBM locations and data centers in water-stressed locations decreased by 2% versus 2018.
Pollution Prevention and Waste
- IBM’s worldwide operations generated 35,700 metric tons of nonhazardous waste in 2019. The waste was separated and sent 88.8% (by weight) to be recycled — surpassing its goal of 75%.
- In 2019, IBM generated 1,146 MT of hazardous waste, of which 52.2% was recycled
- In Canada, plastic cups, straws, “clamshell” food containers, and sandwich cases have been replaced by more environmentally preferable alternatives in several locations, eliminating about 7.6 MT (16,900 pounds) of plastic annually.
- From 1995 through the end of 2019, IBM documented the collection and processing of approximately 1.08 million metric tons (about 2.38 billion pounds) of product and product waste.
- In 2019, IBM’s product packaging engineers redesigned the packaging associated with theır z14 and z15 systems. The new crate is designed with less wood, reducing weight by 27% from the previous version. This change will save an estimated 140 metric tons of material and approximately $409,000 in transportation costs annually.
- IBM established its Chairman’s Environmental Award Program in 1991 to encourage leadership and recognize achievement and progress in environmental affairs by IBM’s internal organizations.
- IBM’s Hybrid Cloud organization received the 2019 IBM Chairman’s Environmental Award.
- Hybrid Cloud consolidated 42 data centers down to just 6 (a 300,000 square foot reduction), reducing the number of servers from 70,000 to 20,000. This achieved a 67% reduction in energy consumption (160,000 megawatt hours/year), avoiding carbon dioxide emissions of 61,000 metric tons per year.
- In June 2019, IBM and The Weather Company, an IBM Business, launched Forecast: Change, a new initiative to help combat freshwater scarcity in communities around the globe.
- The initiative made available 100 million liters of clean and safe water for the first time to more than 16,000 residents of Cambodia and Niger, West Africa.
- IBMers in 92 countries provided 1.25 million hours of sophisticated assistance to their local communities and schools as participants in the IBM Volunteers initiative.
Diversity and Inclusion
- In 2019, IBM achieved best-in class inclusion scores, with 87% of IBM employees saying they can be their authentic selves at work.
- In 2019, IBM employee engagement scores increased for Women, Black, Hispanic, and Asian individuals. Minority groups all had higher engagement scores than the average.
- IBM promotes education with their promotion of AI education and the Veterans Employment Initiative that helps transition to civilian tech jobs
- Their SkillsBuild program supports people looking to reenter the workforce or reinvent their careers.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations SDG Compliance
- IBM is playing an active role in the achievement of enhanced food security and improved nutrition through better data across food supply chains. For example, IBM has demonstrated how a digitized food tracking system can benefit and improve food safety in China.
- Watson for Drug Discovery is currently in use tackling challenging diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s with tangible results.
- IBM gas a program called Elevate — a leadership development program focused on helping to prepare women to be considered for advancement from middle-management positions into senior leadership roles through customized learning plans, coaching, and shadowing opportunities.
- The results of this early focus on energy conservation have been significant. From 1990 through 2017, IBM conserved 7.4 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, avoiding 4.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and saving $616 million through its energy conservation actions.
- IBM is pioneering the use of blockchain in developing solutions that will reshape industries in domains as varied as finance, healthcare, supply chain, and manufacturing.
- IBM commissioned eight executive task forces — Asian, Black, Hispanic, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT), Men, Native American, People with Disabilities, and Women. The task forces were asked to look at IBM through the lens of their identifying group and develop strategies to welcome these groups, help them to maximize productivity, and to advocate for them.
- Watson IoT is shaping the future of agriculture and enabling more sustainable farming by providing farmers with insight into meteorological data. Watson IoT connected networks also share real-time data that can be valuable to cities – from reducing the negative impacts of urban activities, to increasing resiliency, to improving the accuracy of environmental forecasting.
Secondary SDGs : 1, 4, 5, 6, 11, 16, & 17
IBM has been able to leverage their existing technologies such as Watson to tackle diseases, enhance food security and nutrition.
The company is also close to achieving their 2025 targets with regards to electricity consumption, CO2 emissions and water conservation.
IBM has gotten their manufacturing facilities ISO 14001 certified which reduces their environmental impact and in return, gets rewarded.
In addition, the company complies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
IBM has been rated C.
Analyst Outlook: Positive
IBM engages in many initiatives and activities that benefit the environment and society. They have clear goals and pathways to reach them.
- IBM is very transparent in its reports and has been reporting continuously for over 30 years.
- IBM takes part in many community initiatives that promote sustainability activities.
- Even though they acknowledge it, they still use a good amount of non-renewable energy in their operations.