IBM - Addressing the SDGs through Skills Based Volunteering

Global business has a unique role in advancing the United Nations’ 2017 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While these goals, ranging from ending poverty to protecting our planet, were developed by governments, governments alone cannot achieve them. Partnerships with the business community are essential. That is why several years ago, IBM became a founding member of IMPACT 2030, a global, private sector-led collaboration dedicated to mobilising corporate volunteers in service to advance the achievement of the SDGs.

Starting in May 2015, IBM launched a campaign of internal communications globally to employees/retirees unveiling the United Nation SDGs as well as Impact 2030. We promoted the call to action for employees during the UN SDG global launch and continue to drive SDG messaging.

With operations in more than 170 countries, IBM has long embraced its role as a global citizen, dedicated to improving the lives of our employees, customers, and the communities where we live and work. We recognise that volunteering has long fostered the active engagement of employees in their communities, providing a platform for them to take charge and help address critical issues affecting the lives of others.

Through our global volunteering programme, IBM Volunteers, we are committed to corporate social responsibility and the strategic alignment and mobilisation of employees and retirees as skilled volunteers to address one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have taken a two-pronged approach:

Corporate: IBM selected 5 goals (Goal 3: Good Health; Goal 4 - Quality Education; Goal 5 – Gender Equality; Goal 8 – Good Jobs & Economic Growth and Goal 13 – Climate Action) based on our corporate strategy and the interests and skills of our 280K volunteers. We are leveraging these 5 goals to execute global volunteer campaigns to drive numbers and impact in these issues and have mapped volunteer and pro bono resources to these goals. We have also mapped other citizenship programmes and IBM business initiatives to the SDG’s and will continue to do so.

Individual: We believe we will make an impact in all 17 goals through individual volunteers working on key issues important to them and their communities. We are empowering our volunteers with resources to ensure the impact they want to make is made.

With the relaunch of IBM Volunteers in 2018, employees and retirees can now track their volunteerism towards the 17 goals.

IBM is also working with Impact 2030 to design and develop a tracking system aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

All of IBM’s volunteer resources and activity kits are freely available to the public at https://www.ibm.com/volunteers