Toronto – IBM announced today that it is accepting proposals for the next cohort of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, which will focus on water management solutions. This program applies IBM technologies, such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, and an ecosystem of experts to enhance and scale projects focused on populations vulnerable to environmental threats.
Today, Canada’s lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands hold 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater. However, less than half of this water – about 7 per cent of the global supply – is renewable. Among other threats, Canada’s fresh-water ecosystem is facing increasing pressure every day from pollution, and climate change. The IBM Sustainability Accelerator program is an opportunity for non-profits and government organizations to build needed capacities and meet their goals faster.
In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, IBM will look to support projects that help improve equitable access to safe drinking water for all, improve water quality by reducing pollution, increase water-use efficiency across all sectors, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, increase sanitation management, and reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity, among other purposes.
Canada is increasingly experiencing severe water-related climate change events, such as floods and droughts, and water is fast becoming one of our most stressed resources,” said Zlata Huddleston, Partner, Sustainability Practice Lead, Consulting, IBM Canada. “Water management for vulnerable communities is a tremendous challenge, and we need to find smarter ways to think about water. We look forward to working with organizations across Canada focused on overcoming water challenges using technology solutions.”
The RFP process will include input from IBM across disciplines, and from representatives from organizations such as such as Water.org and the United Nations Development Programme. The selection criteria will consider the applicant’s capacity and readiness to support communities who are especially vulnerable to water-related threats, technical feasibility and sustainability for the envisioned solution, and transparency on measurement and reporting – along with others.
This year’s RFP process will include input from Ben Mandell, Utility Services Expert at Water.org and Mary M. Matthews, Head of the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge and interim Head of Water and Ocean Governance Programme – together with other partner experts. They will share their input and expertise throughout the selection cycle.
“Innovation in the water management space is key for meeting UN SDG 6,” said Mandell, one of the judges for the water cohort selection. “Organization initiatives that are selected to participate in the IBM Sustainability Accelerator will have a significant opportunity to make an impact with the help of IBM’s technology, expertise, and network across its large ecosystem of partners.”
Non-profit and government initiatives focused on water management can apply to the RFP from March 14th until the end of May 2023. The selected participants will be announced in November 2023.
Last year, Net Zero Atlantic, a non-profit based in Halifax, Nova Scotia was one of the five organizations selected by IBM from more than 100 global submissions to be part of the clean energy cohort of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator program. As part of this cohort, IBM is working with Net Zero Atlantic to create an interactive digital tool that will help enable Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada to understand how transitioning to carbon-neutral energy system could impact their local economies and environments.