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IBM Sustainability News, Milestones, Software Partnerships and Net Zero Timeline

April 19, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

IBM expects to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the technology company said in February 2021.

Wayne Balta IBM
Wayne Balta, VP of corporate environmental affairs and product safety, and chief sustainability officer, IBM

IBM's top sustainability executive is Wayne Balta, VP of corporate environmental affairs and product safety, and the company’s chief sustainability officer. 

IBM, led by CEO Arvind Krishna (pictured, top of page), also develops cloud-based sustainability software tools for partners and customers to leverage. And the IBM Sustainability Accelerator provides credits for IBM Cloud and IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite Data APIs to nonprofit and government organizations worldwide that are embarking on sustainability initiatives.

The timeline below, updated regularly, further explains IBM's sustainability strategy, key milestones, customer engagements, partner integrations and more. Check back regularly for updates.

April 2024: Key Milestones

Real Estate Management & Carbon Montoring: IBM is leveraging AI software to capture and analyze IBM's energy data within a single, auditable tool across a portfolio of over 600 locations, the company said. Users can compile reports and filter by location, geography, and utility, among others, to understand where energy consumption is highest, where there are unexpected changes in energy, and where the company has the most opportunity to drive energy conservation to help meet IBM's 2030 net zero target, the company said.

Sustainability Partners of the Year: IBM will announce its global sustainability partner of the year on May 20, 2024 at the Think 2024 conference in Boston. The five finalists for the global award are:

The Think 2024 conference will include an IBM Partner Plus Day on May 20.

March 2024: IBM Sustainability Milestones

  • Scope 3 Emissions Estimates: AI and large language models (LLMs) provide a "promising new approach" for estimating Scope 3 emissions, IBM asserts.
  • IT Services: IBM Consulting continues to expand its sustainability services portfolio...
  • Partnership - Software and Managed ESG Services: EY and IBM are partnering to offer various managed ESG and sustainability services that leverage IBM's software.
  • Sustainability Accelerator: The company announced a new request for proposals from government and non-profit organizations for the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, focused on technology-driven projects to advance city resiliency.
  •  Research - Utilities and AI: Roughly 74% of Energy and Utility companies have implemented or are exploring using AI in their operations, according to IBM.

February 2024: IBM Sustainability Milestones

Multiple updates...

  • Software - Scope 3 Support: IBM's Envizi software has gained a Supply Chain Intelligence module to help partners and customers calculate and report their Scope 3 emissions.
  • Software and IT Consulting: Wipro has launched a generative AI platform that leverages IBM watsonx. The goal is to "make AI consumption as efficient, agile, reliable, and sustainable as possible—ultimately, helping advance the adoption of enterprise-level AI,” a Wipro executive said.
  • Investment: IBM has invested in Synthetaic. The round was co-led by Lupa Systems and TitletownTech. Synthetaic's software makes visual data analysis possible. The company's platform, RAIC, facilitates "instant search for any object in any kind of image data, including full-motion video and satellite imagery." Synthetaic is another example of how "AI can drive sustainability for our clients,” said Christina Shim, VP and Global Head of Product and Strategy, IBM Sustainability Software. 

December 2023: IBM Sustainability Milestones

Multiple updates...

  • Funding - Semiconductor Manufacturing: Multiple technology companies -- including IBM, Micron, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron -- will. establish a next-generation semiconductor research and development center at the New York Creates’ Albany NanoTech Complex. The $10 billion effort focuses heavily on sustainable semiconductor manufacturing processes, materials use, waste reuse and reclamation, and fab design.
  • Coding Competition: AGNO, Phyto and team Synergy Squad have won the sixth-annual Call for Code Global Challenge, which invited innovators across the globe to develop AI-powered technology projects that address sustainability to help fight climate change. The solutions leveraged technologies such as IBM watsonx and the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite, to "address agricultural issues ranging from contaminated soil and crop management to food waste."
  • 4. AI Alliance: IBM and Meta have launched the AI Alliance in collaboration with over 50 Founding Members and Collaborators. The participants are committed to open source AI strategies -- which are in stark contrast to Microsoft and Google AI strategies.

November 2023: IBM Sustainability Milestones

Multiple updates...

  • COP28 News:  The company will apply the company's geospatial AI technologies, including IBM's geospatial foundation model developed in collaboration with NASA, to "climate efforts including analysis of urban heat islands in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); reforestation across Kenya; and climate resiliency in the United Kingdom (UK)," the company said.
  • Partnership - Generative AI and Fuel Cells: The company and FuelCell Energy will leverage Foundational Models, a form of generative AI, to boost the performance of FuelCell Energy’s technology. The overall goal is to "support both companies’ efforts to lead a global transition to renewable energy sources that emit little to no carbon," IBM and FuelCell Energy said.
  • Data Integration: Global IT consulting firm Deloitte and IBM are integrating their sustainability software to "help clients accelerate emissions reductions strategies and make sustainability programs an embedded part of their organization’s core business."
  • Training: IBM SkillsBuild has launched free educational courses focused on sustainability. The courses, IBM said, include: (1) Introductory courses will help establish a foundation with historical insights and fundamentals to connect sustainability and technology. (2) Mid-level offerings in design thinking and green entrepreneurship will encourage learners to grow their skills. (3) Advanced coursework will ask learners to apply their skills to sustainability topics across AI, cybersecurity, and ESG reporting.
  • Sustainability Accelerator: The IBM Sustainability Accelerator announced five new projects focused on water management. Participants include The University of Sharjah, The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi, The University of Illinois, Instituto IGUÁ and Water Corporation.

More: Continue to the next page for additional IBM sustainability news and milestones.

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