I spent my childhood summers in the Northwoods of Wisconsin — swimming, sailing, camping, and falling in love with the outdoors. As I got older, I realized the impact humans were having on the environment and how climate change was shifting everything around me — including the special place I spent my summers.
This inspired me to get involved.
After college, I moved to Washington D.C. to turn my ambition into action. I got a job in the White House — a manifestation of my passion for politics — and began my journey with sustainability. I was in Kyoto as governments from around the world negotiated the Kyoto Protocol, in the room when Walmart decided to reduce packaging by five percent, and worked with leaders from the UAE as they launched Masdar. Along the way, I have witnessed the public perception shift from skepticism to acceptance. My wife and I, like many others, worked together to make lifestyle changes that would reduce our family’s carbon footprint.
Today, we know hybrid cars and reusable water bottles alone will not solve climate change. We need technology to act as the catalyst for scaling solutions in sustainable agriculture, air pollution, and clean energy. That’s where IBM comes in.
As organizations and governments around the world shift from baby steps to bold steps, IBM’s goal is to accelerate innovation in sustainability. We are turning ambition into action. Although IBM’s advocacy for environmental sustainability dates back decades, earlier this year we relaunched our internal structure to further embed sustainability in everything we do. Our approach is aptly named IBM Impact, and it places the environment, equity, and ethics at the center of our clients’ businesses and our own.
One of the efforts I am most proud of is IBM’s Sustainability Accelerator, which helps the world’s most vulnerable communities become more resilient in responding to climate change. It works by connecting governments and nonprofits with IBM technology and expertise to scale their most urgent initiatives.
For example, as part of the program, we are helping India’s Nature Conservancy monitor and educate on alternatives to harmful crop burning, digitizing farmer co-ops with Heifer International in Malawi, and guiding decisions made around water usage with Texas A&M. This is only the first year of the program and we are helping communities around the world address some of the most important environmental challenges related to sustainable agriculture. Later this year, we will widen the net to include organizations focused on clean energy. This is just one way IBM is making a difference.
As I write this, my kids play in the same Wisconsin woods I mentioned earlier. It makes me proud to be part of an organization that is using its platform to help protect the places we call home.