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New IBM Chief Sustainability Officer Christina Shim: 5 Things to Know

May 5, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Christina Shim has succeeded Wayne Balta as IBM chief sustainability officer (CSO). Here are five things to know about IBM's sustainability strategy, and Shim's executive experience.

1. Business Scope and Scale: IBM remains one of the world's largest technology companies focused on enterprise customers. The company, founded in 1911, is based in Armonk, New York. IBM had roughly 282,000 employees as of December 2023. Revenue was $14.5 billion in Q1 of 2024, up 1% from Q1 of 2023.

IBM's key focus areas include mainframe systems, hybrid cloud and AI software, and consulting expertise. The software portfolio includes the IBM Envizi ESG software suite, which helps customers with carbon accounting and other sustainability task.

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

2. Chief Sustainability Officer Transition: Shim succeeded Balta as CSO on May 2, 2023. Balta is set to retire from IBM in June 2024.

Joanne Wright
Joanne Wright, senior VP, transformation and operations, IBM

In a prepared statement about the transition, IBM Senior VP of Transformation and Operations Joanne Wright said: "At IBM, we are always looking for new ways to unlock the power of technology and transform our operations to become more efficient, increase productivity, and create a better employee and customer experience. We are excited about this announcement, and we are confident that Christina's expertise will build on top of Wayne's legacy to advance our sustainability efforts even further."

Added Shim: "I'm thrilled to take on this new challenge and keep driving forward IBM's important environmental work leveraging the power of technology. IBM serves as client zero for many of the technologies it brings to market, leveraging our own solutions and innovations to make a lasting, positive impact through sustainability and in our business. From minimizing climate-related risks to creating and implementing industry solutions that harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and hybrid cloud, we will create more pathways to better conserve natural resources and reduce environmental impact."

3. Executive Experience and Expertise: Shim currently leads IBM's sustainability software business, though we don't know how much revenue it generates. She also serves on IBM's AI Ethics Board and ESG Executive Steering Committee. Before joining IBM in 2021, Shim held key posts at such consulting firms as Palladium and Booz Allen Hamilton.

4. Next Moves: So what are IBM's next sustainability moves? The answer will likely surface at IBM Think 2024, a customer and partner conference set for May 20-23 in Boston, Massachusetts. We'll be watching and listening for updates at the conference.

5. IBM Sustainability Milestones: See this timeline tracking IBM sustainability initiatives and milestones.

New CSO: Why IBM Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

It's a safe bet that figure will be even higher for state and local governments -- many of which are embracing renewable energy and sustainability strategies. For instance, the Sustainable States Network spans 2,524 U.S. municipalities that put sustainability on their policy agendas and collectively take action to improve the environment, quality of life, and local economies.

Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those municipality needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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