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Daily CSR
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IBM reaches out to vulnerable population to accelerate clean energy transition


To this end, IBM aims to provide $30 million in services by the end of 2023.

At COP27, IBM announced the additions to its global pro bono social impact program - the IBM Sustainability Accelerator. This program uses IBM technologies such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, as well as an ecosystem of experts, to improve and scale projects aimed at populations vulnerable to environmental threats such as climate change.

All new members will work to expedite clean energy projects. IBM previously stated that it intends to select five organizations for this program each year and that it expects to provide $30 million in services by the end of 2023.

The International Energy Agency reports that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions in global supply chains, and diversion of fiscal resources to keep food and fuel prices affordable have slowed progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030.

"Through the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, we are convening experts and deploying innovative technologies to help tackle the most difficult environmental challenges our planet faces, and transitioning to clean energy is a critical step right now," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG.

She went on to add, "With this new cohort, assisting marginalized communities in gaining just and equitable access to sustainable energy resources not only helps the world achieve UN SDG7, but can also aid in the larger global energy transition."

After reviewing more than 100 submissions from around the world, IBM chose the following organisations to join the program's clean energy cohort:
  1. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is collaborating with IBM to increase access to sustainable, affordable, and dependable energy in African countries, with a focus on the most disadvantaged. Using UNDP's technical expertise and IBM's artificial intelligence and geospatial analytics, the goal is to forecast electricity access to better guide policy and investment decisions.
  2. Sustainable Energy for All: IBM is collaborating with Sustainable Energy for All to develop an intelligent model to forecast energy requirements based on current and future human activity. This model will be designed to assist in addressing key development challenges (for example, lack of energy access and poor healthcare) as well as supporting the development of robust infrastructure plans, such as electrification plans. Using temporal and spatial data, IBM machine learning and IBM Cloud technology and expertise will be used to build and scale open-access datasets and an energy needs model. Kenya and India are being considered as potential pilot regions for the model.
  3. Net Zero Atlantic is collaborating with IBM to develop an interactive digital tool that will geospatially display the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of potential energy system futures for Nova Scotia. Finally, Indigenous communities in Nova Scotia will be able to use advanced modelling capabilities to inform their input into energy and development planning. The tool is intended to be simple to use, locally relevant, and time efficient. It will be designed to produce simple visual results by leveraging IBM technology such as the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite and the IBM Cloud.
  4. Miyakojima City Government: The Miyakojima City Government is collaborating with IBM to support the development of a renewable energy strategy, including a microgrid, on Miyakojima Island, a remote community facing severe climate issues as a result of typhoons in Japan, with the goal of assisting residents who rely on a clean local environment for tourism and agriculture. Miyakojima City Government and IBM will work together to model electricity demand and advise on energy infrastructure development using technologies such as IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite weather data and IBM Cloud.
  5. Environment Without Borders Foundation: The collaboration between Environment Without Borders Foundation and IBM will aim to develop a platform to forecast, track, and communicate clean energy usage options in Egypt. The goal is to enable resilient and sustainable clean energy infrastructure and operations in Egypt, assisting residents of remote villages where energy is currently both expensive and unreliable. The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite and IBM Cloud will be used to power the clean energy management platform.
“UNDP is delighted to partner with IBM to forecast electricity access that informs better policy and investment decisions, with an initial concentration on African countries. This partnership advances UNDP’s integration mandate and directly contributes to our corporate moonshot to provide 500 million people with access to safe, reliable energy by 2025, focused on reaching the furthest behind first." said Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA).

“We are excited to be partnering with IBM. This partnership will allow SEforALL to push our current modelling capabilities and change how we map and predict future human activity and energy needs. Ultimately helping us to address more effectively some of the most pressing development challenges we face.” - Jim Walker, Senior Director, Sustainable Energy for All

"Our team at Net Zero Atlantic is focused on our goal of helping Atlantic Canada achieve a sustainable and inclusive transition to a carbon-neutral future. With support from the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, we're creating a tool Indigenous communities in our region can use to assess how renewable energy development could directly benefit and affect them. We'll be working in collaboration with our Indigenous partners to develop technology that reflects their specifications and which will help define their preferred paths to net-zero emissions" - Alisdair McLean, Executive Director, Net Zero Atlantic.

“Miyakojima City’s critical challenge is to secure stable and low-cost electric power, because of its geographical location as a remote island and its climate issues including typhoons and other natural disasters. So, with the support of IBM’s weather forecasting and data analysis resources and consulting support by staff with diverse expertise, we strive to establish efficient power supply means and make clean energy widely available in this region. We expect this initiative could contribute to sustainability of this city in the future.” - Kazuhiko Kakihana, Director, Planning and Policy Department, Miyakojima City Government.

"I believe that innovative technological applications can be strongly used for linking green energy users together and this is what we seek in our project. Our goal is to harness the power of technology to tackle environmental challenges and support vulnerable communities' livelihood to have a better life." - Dr. Adel Abdallah Soliman, CEO of Environment Without Borders Foundation

The applicant's commitment to supporting communities that are especially vulnerable to environmental threats, its ability to increase access to affordable clean energy services, its strategic focus and transparency on measurement and reporting, and other factors were considered during the selection process.