IBM Sustainability Accelerator: Invests $45M in ESG Programs

IBM Sustainability Accelerator invests $45M in ESG programs and launches a new RFP for resilient cities.
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IBM Sustainability Accelerator invests $45M in ESG programs and launches a new RFP for resilient cities. Photo by Carson Masterson on Unsplash

Reading Time: 2 minutes

IBM Sustainability Accelerator invests $45M in ESG programs and launches a new RFP for resilient cities.

In a bid to bolster efforts toward climate adaptation and resilience, IBM has announced a significant increase in investment in its IBM Sustainability Accelerator. The tech giant is set to inject up to $45 million in cash and in-kind donations over the next five years, marking a 50% increase in funding for the initiative.

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator underscores a commitment to making cities safer, more resilient, and sustainable. The company unveiled a new request for proposals (RFP) aimed at government and non-profit organizations, inviting them to submit technology-driven projects focused on advancing city resilience.

See also: How Can Nature Inspire us to Create Sustainable Cities?

The IBM Sustainability Accelerator leverages IBM technology, including its AI and data platform WatsonX, to support vulnerable populations worldwide facing environmental threats. With a new RFP and sustainability theme announced annually, the program aims to address pressing challenges exacerbated by climate change.

According to UN Habitat forecasts, urbanization is expected to continue rising over the next three decades, with the majority of the global population living in cities by 2050. This trend poses significant challenges for sustainable urban development, particularly in the face of escalating climate risks.

Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM’s Vice President and Chief Impact Officer, expressed pride in the achievements of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, emphasizing the importance of enhancing both impact and investment in the program. Nixon-Saintil highlighted the potential of artificial intelligence to drive transformative change and build a more resilient future.

As part of this year’s program enhancements, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator has forged a strategic collaboration with the EY organization to bolster support for participants. EY will provide assistance during the RFP selection process, offer organizational development coaching, and conduct capacity-building workshops to amplify the impact of the Sustainability Accelerator.

The evaluation criteria for the global RFP will prioritize applicants’ commitment to supporting vulnerable communities, the feasibility and sustainability of proposed technology solutions, and transparency in measurement and reporting.

Nonprofit and government initiatives focusing on city resilience and urban climate adaptation are encouraged to apply to the RFP, with the submission window open from March 6, 2024, to April 30, 2024. Selected participants will be announced later in the year.

Launched in 2022, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator addresses environmental threats impacting vulnerable communities worldwide. With a focus on technology and AI solutions, the program selects projects within a specific sustainability topic area each year. To date, it has supported 15 global projects across three active cohorts, spanning sustainable agriculture, clean energy, and water management.

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