IBM Announces RFP for the IBM Sustainability Accelerator

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Last week, IBM announced it was seeking entrants from the government and nonprofit sector to advance city resiliency through its IBM Sustainability Accelerator. It’s a pro-bono social impact program, and IBM is committing to make up to $45M in cash and in-kind donations available over the next five years to entrants in its program.

Now IBM is partnering with Ernst & Young, which will provide support during the RFP selection process, coaching to winners, and workshops for leadership development.

Aligned with United Nations SDG 11, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today a new request for proposals from government and non-profit organizations for the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, focused on technology-driven projects to advance city resiliency. IBM also announced that it would increase investment in the pro-bono social impact program by 50%, committing to make up to $45 million in cash and in-kind donations of technology and services available over the next five years. The IBM Sustainability Accelerator applies IBM technology, including IBM watsonx, an AI and data platform and AI assistants, to support populations vulnerable to environmental threats around the world, with a new RFP and sustainability topic announced each year.

UN Habitat1 forecasts that the world will continue to urbanize over the next three decades, with the share of people living in urban areas increasing from 56 percent in 2021 to 68 percent by 2050. The disproportionate impacts of climate change can challenge capacity for sustainable urban development and planning, as cities around the world work to address priorities like emissions levels, intensifying climate risks, environmental justice and more.

“After three years working to improve lives and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, we’re proud to recognize the success of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator by strengthening both our impact and our investment in the program,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President and Chief Impact Officer. “We look forward to working with a new cohort of partners to transform the cities we live in, and to deploy solutions that harness the potential of artificial intelligence to build a more resilient future.”

This year, the program will introduce a new strategic collaboration with EY to strengthen the participant experience and amplify the impact of the IBM Sustainability Accelerator. EY will contribute to the resilient cities cohort by providing support during the RFP selection process, organizational development coaching from EY teams, and capacity-building workshops that will build upon the leadership development and professional mentoring opportunities available to program participants.

The evaluation and selection criteria for the global RFP will consider applicants’ level of support to communities especially vulnerable to urban environmental threats; the feasibility and sustainability of proposed technology solutions for climate change mitigation; and applicants’ transparency on measurement and reporting, among other considerations.

Nonprofit and government initiatives focused on city resiliency and urban climate adaptation can apply to the RFP beginning March 6, 2024, until the end of the submission window on April 30, 2024. Selected participants will be announced later in the year.

Questions about the IBM Sustainability Accelerator program and the new RFP can be directed to

About the IBM Sustainability Accelerator
Launched in 2022, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator is a social impact program that addresses environmental threats impacting vulnerable communities around the world. Each year, the program selects about five projects to scale technology and AI solutions within a new sustainability topic area. To date, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator has supported 15 global projects across three active cohorts, focused on sustainable agriculture, clean energy and water management. For more information:

Carmen San Segundo
Global Communications Director, ESG and CSR


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