Making sustainability sustainable : passion and process in environmental management at IBM
Author(s)Ponce de León Baridó, Paulina
Passion and process in environmental management at IBM
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
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Sustainability is one of the greatest challenges we are faced with. To be successfully addressed, a variety of stakeholders, including business, must be involved. With this in mind, this thesis seeks to further our understanding of how a firm's response to sustainability can, in addition to making business sense, be effective and sustainable. This inevitably entails dealing with the classic tension between "passion" and "process." Therefore, the thesis explores how a balance between these two may be found by examining IBM's extensive and long-sustained environmental management experience. IBM has a recognized record of environmental responsibility that has matured over almost 40 years, surviving periods of great difficulty for the company. Its environmental sustainability program and its commitment to corporate responsibility, a continuum from legal and compliance activities to engagements that help the company develop value-creation opportunities, is clearly strategic. Its efforts - a combination of activities that address immediate and future business pressures - are in tune with what the literature considers to be "best practice" in environmental corporate sustainability. IBM's experience confirms both the importance of nourishing an emotional commitment to sustainability and of establishing a process - in its case, an environmental management system - that enables the company to systematically identify and manage the environmental impacts of its operations.(cont.) On the one hand, its long-sustained record of environmental commitment, combined with its dedication to being a recognized environmental leader, has instilled a strong passion for sustainability across the company's organizations and employees. On the other hand, IBM's pursuit of a demonstrable record of performance, combined with a commitment to continuous improvement, has led to the development of a carefully designed, effective environmental management system. IBM seems to have optimized the balance between passion and process through a commitment to scientific, fact-based, decision-making, which has allowed the company to design and implement goals and procedures that will have the most impact given its resources and footprint.
Thesis (S.M. in Technology and Policy)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, Technology and Policy Program, 2009.Includes bibliographical references (p. 111-118).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division., Technology and Policy Program.