At IBM, we have been working for many years to continually build a more environmentally sustainable future for all. This year is the 33rd consecutive time in which IBM has publicly reported its environmental performance. Since issuing its first environmental policy over 50 years ago, IBM has been committed to environmental leadership with both concrete goals and demonstrable results. Under our IBM Impact framework, we plan to continue to do this for the years to come.
Over time, innovation across IBM has enabled us to use evermore sophisticated solutions to help address the most complex sustainability challenges. We also know that building a more sustainable world will require strong partnerships. That’s why we are also working with partners and clients to turn sustainability ambition into action. This extends to our work with communities around the world through the IBM Sustainability Accelerator.
Today, the talented people of IBM are using our cutting-edge technologies, including hybrid cloud and AI, to keep transforming not only our own operations for increased sustainability, but also the operations of our clients and partners.
Sustainability as a consistent practice
While setting ambitious goals is important, we emphasize goals that are transparent and authentic, with near-term targets that help support present-day execution and accountability. In fact, we have comprehensive goals involving energy and climate change; conservation and biodiversity; pollution prevention and waste management; supply chain and value chain; and our own global environmental management system. Here is a snapshot of some current results:
- We continued making progress towards our goal of net-zero operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, underscored by energy conservation; use of renewable energy; and GHG emissions reduction.
- We completed 1,455 energy conservation projects avoiding 161,000 MWh of energy consumption since 2021, on track towards our goal of 3,000 energy conservation projects avoiding 275,000 MWh by 2025.
- As of year-end 2021, 64.2% of the electricity we consumed across our global operations came from renewable sources, on track towards our goal of 75% renewable by 2025.
- Also through year-end 2021, we reduced operational GHG emissions by 61.6% since 2010, on track towards our goal of 65% operational GHG emissions reduction by 2025 versus 2010. In June 2023, we will publish year-end 2022 progress against our goals for GHG emissions reduction and renewable energy purchases.
- We’re working hard to efficiently manage our facilities and buildings. That’s why in 2021 we set a goal to pursue third-party sustainability certifications for major office construction and renovation projects. Five major projects have recently earned third-party certifications and now 29 IBM-owned and leased facilities are certified to a sustainability certification program.
- In 2022, we diverted 93.8% (by weight) of our total nonhazardous waste from landfill and incineration. We are also working to reduce the amount of diverted waste sent to waste-to-energy processes from the 11.9% achieved in 2022 to less than 10%.
- We continually aim to reduce water consumption in water stressed regions, achieving a slight reduction during 2022 even as IBMers increasingly returned to offices.
These are just some examples of how IBM is setting goals and executing against them. As a company, we are constantly building solutions to help uncover new opportunities that are good for both business and the environment.
Our work with partners
In 2022, we also continued to work with partners and suppliers. IBM has long committed to using our leadership position to advocate for meaningful changes around the world, while doing business with partners and suppliers who conduct themselves with high standards of environmental responsibility. Some examples:
- We were named technology partner of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27, where we showcased how our technology and expertise are helping business and government align sustainability goals to organizational objectives.
- We continued working with The Climate Registry to support the development of the recently launched Net-Zero Portal, and the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment to demonstrate how data and advanced information technology can underpin new solutions to persistent environmental problems.
- Since 2010, IBM has required first-tier suppliers to establish their own environmental management systems, as well as set quantifiable goals in the areas of energy management, GHG emissions reduction, and waste management. In 2021, we established an additional requirement for key suppliers in GHG emissions-intensive business sectors to set goals aligned with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations. Through 2022, 96% of them have done so.
- In 2022, we also held our first annual Supplier Sustainability Leadership Symposium to celebrate our suppliers’ achievements and share knowledge. It focused on energy efficiency – an area that touches all businesses and is important for mitigating GHG emissions.
IBM also helps its clients and partners align sustainability goals to business objectives. In 2022, we enabled others through innovative collaborations and a shared commitment to pursue a better, more sustainable, future for all. For example:
- Companies around the world are using our technology to help scale their sustainability efforts. From establishing roadmaps to transforming their day-to-day operations, companies such as Hera, GPT Group, Downer, Bosch and Farmer Connect have relied on IBM’s capabilities to turn their sustainability ambition into action. This is because our approach operationalizes sustainability end-to-end with data-driven innovation through a comprehensive portfolio of technology, software, and consulting capabilities.
- For instance, in 2022 IBM introduced the latest generations of its enterprise servers, IBM z16TM and IBM® LinuxONE Emperor 4. Both systems continue to improve the compute capacity per kilowatt of electricity consumed versus comparably configured previous generation systems.
- The IBM Sustainability Software portfolio offers software tools such as Envizi, Turbonomic, Maximo, and Tririga to help operationalize sustainability by capturing, consolidating, analyzing and reporting insightful data.
- Furthermore, in 2022, we also launched the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, a pro bono social impact program that applies IBM technologies and expertise to enhance and scale solutions for nonprofit and government organizations, helping populations especially vulnerable to environmental threats.
These are just some examples of what IBM is presently doing to make a positive environmental impact. You can learn more about what the company is doing in pursuit of a more sustainable future in our IBM Impact Report 2022.