Continuing to make a positive environmental impact - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions  -  April 13, 2022 - By Wayne Balta, IBM

IBM - Continuing to make a positive environmental impact

For more than 50 years, IBM has been committed to environmental leadership with both concrete goals and demonstrable results. We have always addressed the breadth of our involvement including, for example, conservation and biodiversity, pollution prevention and waste management, and energy and climate change. Today, although it is certainly not the world’s only environmental challenge, climate change dominates much of the environmental discussion. Based upon IBM’s early attention to climate change, we began disclosing CO2 emissions in 1994. Fifteen years ago, in 2007, we published a formal IBM position on climate change — calling for meaningful action to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas emissions. Numerous scientific assessments since then have only reconfirmed IBM’s early conviction and reinforced our present-day resolve.

Over the years, IBM’s environmental commitment has been steadfast and dependable across different eras and priorities and regardless of the topic’s relative popularity. In fact, this is the 32nd consecutive year in which IBM has publicly reported its environmental performance. And today, with the launch of IBM Impact – the company’s new framework for reporting on environmental, social, and governance matters — we continue to act upon 21 voluntary environmental goals which we announced in 2021. In doing so, we pursue goals that are transparent and authentic with near-term targets to help ensure present-day action and accountability.

Aspirations and Outcomes
Creating better pathways to help conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and minimize climate-related risks is the aim of our environmental pillar under IBM Impact.  Three representative goals within this pillar are:

  • Reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 covering Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions as well as Scope 3 emissions associated with IBM’s electricity consumption at co-location data centers.
  • Divert 90% of IBM’s total non-hazardous waste from landfills and incineration by 2025
  • Document 100 client engagements or research projects by 2025 in which IBM products, capabilities, and/or solutions have enabled demonstrable environmental benefits.

While setting goals is important, executing against them is ultimately what matters most, and this is where IBM has excelled.  IBM’s 2021 ESG Report, released today, contains detailed information. For example, we:

  • Continued to make progress against our net-zero commitment by implementing over 900 energy conservation projects across more than 190 global locations while also increasing our procurement of renewable electricity. (In June we will report results through year-end 2021 against IBM’s renewable electricity and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals following a third-party’s review of our process and data.)
  • Diverted 94.2% of our total non-hazardous waste from landfills and incineration, through reuse, recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy processes.
  • Reduced water withdrawals at larger IBM locations and data centers in water-stressed regions by 1.2% versus 2020.
  • Engaged our top five logistics suppliers and established a fleet carbon intensity baseline for their logistics operations, as we work toward setting fleet carbon intensity reduction targets covering the services they provide to IBM.

Enabling clients
Applying IBM's advanced technologies and experience will help both the company and our clients to become more environmentally sustainable and accelerate solutions to address environmental challenges. For example, IBM recently acquired Envizi, a leading data and analytics software provider for environmental performance management, whose technology, when combined with IBM’s broader portfolio, can help to scale sustainability efforts.

This is only a glimpse of what IBM is doing to make a positive environmental impact. To learn more about our progress, read our 2021 ESG report, which details IBM Impact and our continued commitment to a more sustainable, equitable, and ethical future for the company, its stakeholders, and the world.


This column originally appeared as a blog on IBM's website.

Wayne Balta is IBM's Vice President for Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. He has global responsibility for environmental affairs, energy efficiency, and toxicology and chemical management as well as product safety and related hardware compliance functions. He joined IBM in 1984. In addition to his role as IBM’s chief environmental executive, Mr. Balta is a member of IBM’s Acceleration Team – a group of the company’s top leaders that drives company-wide innovation and growth. A 37-year veteran of IBM, he has served on IBM’s Global Enablement Team for Kenya and East Africa and is IBM’s Partnership Executive for Carnegie Mellon University.

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