IBM revealed that a reduction of 38% had been achieved by the end of 2016, exceeding its target of 35% four years early. This comes on top of IBM securing its 2020 goal to source one-fifth of electricity from renewables.

IBM claims that it was sourcing 21% by the end of 2016, enough to power around 60,000 homes a year. The company has said that, if renewable energy from the grid are taken into account, then 40% of IBM’s electricity supply across its manage spaces came from renewable sources.

The achievements were hailed as a “testament to our longstanding commitment to protecting our planet by delivering action and results” by IBM vice president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety Wayne Balta.

Leadership role

IBM said that the company has saved more than $600m, avoided 4.4 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions and conserved 7.2 million MWh since 1990. The emissions saved is equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road for a year, the firm said. The idea of CO2 reduction is not a new one to be associated with the company because by 2005 IBM had already reduced its CO2 emissions by 40%.

By developing highly accurate forecasting tools for electricity demand as well as solar and wind-power generation, this has allowed for better use of renewable generation and more effective integration of new capacity into the grid, enabling IBM to achieve its goals. IBM can provide more accurate understandings of the power that will be available from renewable sources, reducing the risks and costs associated with the electricity grid and enabling the widespread use of renewable energy.

IBM recently gave its backing for the Paris Agreement and signed the #WeAreStillIn pledge in the aftermath of President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the US from the historic climate change treaty.

“We know that businesses must play a leadership role in the fight against climate change, and we continue to lead by reducing our own operational impact and by developing innovative solutions to help our clients do the same,” Balta said.

The announcement came in the same week that fellow tech firm Dell set itself a new target after surpassing its 2020 goal to use 50 million pounds of sustainable materials in its products. Dell revealed the new pledge in its latest CSR report, which revealed that the business had surpassed its 2020 sustainability goal of planting one million trees to offset carbon emissions and restore natural animal habitats.

George Ogleby & Molly Sheehan

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