- New sustainability projects: including collaborations with The University of Sharjah (UAE); The University of Chicago Trust (India); The University of Illinois (U.S.); Instituto IGUÁ (Brazil); and Water Corporation (Australia)
- Training: IBM SkillsBuild launches roadmap of sustainability courses to benefit learners across communities underrepresented in technology and address market need for green and technology skills
As vulnerable communities worldwide continue to suffer outsized effects of climate change, IBM is empowering innovators with cutting-edge technologies and training. Ahead of COP28, IBM announced the latest investments in its effort to advance environmental sustainability through its social impact programs. A new set of environmental initiatives pioneering water solutions will be scaled through the IBM Sustainability Accelerator to benefit local communities across the globe. Simultaneously, a first-of-its-kind roadmap of sustainability skills courses, available for free through IBM SkillsBuild, will empower future climate action.
“With nearly half of the global population vulnerable to significant environmental distress, new strategies to help create a sustainable future are essential,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President & Chief Impact Office. “This means scaling solutions to help people immediately, while also cultivating a pipeline of future leaders at the intersection of technology and sustainability across industries.”
New IBM Sustainability Accelerator partners and projects:
IBM is furthering its commitment to sustainable innovation with projects focused on water management solutions as part of its global social impact program, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator. The 2023 IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report identified that 3.3 billion people live in areas vulnerable to significant impacts from climate change. With a commitment of $30M worth of technology and services by IBM through the end of 2025, the program is adding five new projects focused on water management, offering IBM technologies, such as watsonx, and an ecosystem of experts.
- The University of Sharjah will build a model and application to monitor and forecast water access conditions in the Middle East and North Africa, to help support communities in arid and semi-arid regions with limited renewable internal freshwater resources.
- The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi will aggregate water quality information in India; build and deploy tools designed to democratize access to water quality information and help improve water resource management for key government and nonprofit organizations.
- The University of Illinois will develop an AI geospatial foundation model to help predict rain fall and flood forecasting in mountain headwaters across the Appalachian Mountains in the U.S.
- Instituto IGUÁ will create a cloud-based platform for sanitation infrastructure planning in Brazil, alongside local utility providers and governments.
- Water Corporation will design a self-administered water quality testing system for Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
The IBM Sustainability Accelerator program is already supporting communities in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia on sustainable agriculture and clean energy efforts.
New IBM SkillsBuild Sustainability Roadmap
New research from IBM and Morning Consult confirms a growing skills gap in sustainability that poses a threat to the workforce across industries. 71% of business leaders surveyed anticipate their business will emphasize sustainability skills criteria in their hiring in the next two years, with 92% expecting to invest in sustainability training in the next year.
To help build this pipeline of sustainability talent, IBM SkillsBuild is providing free training that connects cutting edge technologies to ecology and climate change. With AI-powered recommendations available for each learner, this interdisciplinary coursework connect topics such as ecology and biodiversity, with technology training in AI and data analytics. This is a comprehensive curriculum to help equip the next generation of leaders with skills for the green economy.
Learners can benefit from a holistic environmental tech training journey from IBM SkillsBuild with digital credentials available each step of the way.
- Introductory courses will help establish a foundation with historical insights and fundamentals to connect sustainability and technology.
- Mid-level offerings in design thinking and green entrepreneurship will encourage learners to grow their skills.
- Advanced coursework will ask learners to apply their skills to sustainability topics across AI, cybersecurity, and ESG reporting.
These offerings build on IBM’s commitment to skill 30 million people by 2030, with a focus on underrepresented communities. Through collaborations across social service, economic development, and vocational organizations, as well as government agencies, and universities, IBM SkillsBuild makes free online learning widely available, to communities that are underrepresented in technology. These include organizations that will help skill women, including mothers returning to the workforce, ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, and refugees.
About IBM Sustainability Accelerator
Launched in February 2022, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator is a social impact program that addresses multiple environmental threats around the world. Each year, the accelerator selects five projects to scale solutions that benefit communities that face challenges such as climate change, pollution, extreme weather and more. The program currently has three active cohorts; the first one is focused on sustainable agriculture, the second on clean energy, and the third on water and sanitation. For more information, visit https://www.ibm.com/impact/initiatives/ibm-sustainability-accelerator
About IBM SkillsBuild
IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities in tech, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners. The open version of IBM SkillsBuild is an online platform offering over 1,000 courses in 20 languages on AI, cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and many other technical disciplines — as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most importantly, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market. The enhanced partner version of IBM SkillsBuild may also include workshops, expert conversations with IBM coaches and mentors, project-based learning, access to IBM software, specialized support from partners through the learning process, and connection to career opportunities. For more information, visit skillsbuild.org.
 AR6 Synthesis Report, A.2.2, from IPCC, 2023: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, H. Lee and J. Romero (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-34, doi: 10.59327/IPCC/AR6-9789291691647.001).