IBM’s Sustainability Accelerator: Tackling Global Water Challenges Through Collaboration and Innovation

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IBM’s Sustainability Accelerator: Tackling Global Water Challenges Through Collaboration and Innovation

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Jacobs, who leads Sustainability and Social Innovation for IBM Corporate Social Responsibility. We discussed IBM’s Sustainability Accelerator program, a two-year initiative where IBM collaborates with NGOs and governmental agencies to address environmental issues impacting vulnerable populations worldwide.

By combining the subject matter expertise of NGOs or governments with IBM’s services and offerings, the program aims to achieve shared goals and promote social good. The Accelerator has already run two successful cohorts. The upcoming cohort (whose RFP just opened) focuses on water management projects.

IBM’s corporate social responsibility team prioritizes helping vulnerable people who are most affected by environmental threats. One such critical issue is water management. The global water supply-demand gap is expected to reach 40% by 2030, with 2 billion people lacking access to safely managed drinking water at home.

This is a worldwide problem. Vulnerable populations, particularly in the global south, are disproportionately impacted by climate change-related water challenges. In nations like the United States, under-investment in water management has led to crises in cities like Flint, Newark, and Jackson.

IBM’s Accelerator program supports projects that address these water challenges for vulnerable populations, whether they are new ideas or existing projects that need scaling or refining.

Selected organizations can expect a two-year partnership with IBM, starting with the IBM Garage for design thinking and planning followed by implementation phases. IBM’s commitment to open source and a vendor-agnostic model means that the program can work with multiple cloud environments and share data with other organizations.

Proposals from nonprofit or governmental organizations will be accepted from mid-March through the end of May, with the work expected to kick off in October 2023. Interested organizations can submit proposals through the IBM website.

Disclosure: IBM is a RedMonk client and sponsored the video. However, this post was not commissioned.

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