Trust and Responsibility: The IBM Chairman's Letter

By Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM
Nov 6, 2019 9:35 AM ET

We have seen, for more than a century, that when we apply science to real-world problems, we can create a tomorrow that is better than today. More sustainable. More equitable. More secure.

In fact, we have never known a time when science and technology had more potential to benefit society than right now.

In the last 10 years alone, the world has achieved stunning advancements, from breaking the AI winter to the dawn of quantum computing. These and other advanced technologies have the potential to solve some of the world’s most enduring challenges – like fighting fraud in global financial markets, discovering life-saving medicines, accelerating the acquisition of leading-edge skills and safeguarding our food supply.

Yet the full promise of this moment will only be realized if society trusts these technologies and the organizations that develop them.

Trust and responsibility have been cornerstones of IBM’s business since the beginning. These values permeate our culture, from the labs to the boardroom. They are core to every relationship – with our employees, our clients, our shareholders, and the communities in which we live and work.

In this report, you will read about the many achievements we made to further this foundation of trust and responsibility throughout 2018. For example:

  • After reaching our aggressive goals to increase our use of renewable energy and reduce CO2 emissions 4 years ahead of schedule, we set new, even more ambitious goals, including to obtain more than half of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
  • For a record fourth time, we received the Catalyst Award for leadership in building a workplace that values diversity and inclusion.
  • We invested in more than 24 million hours of professional education for IBMers, to help give them the skills they need to be successful in this new era of technology – for our company and our clients.
  • We invested hundreds of millions of dollars in programs to help train and prepare the global workforce for this new era. These initiatives include 21st century apprenticeship programs, returnships for women reentering the workforce, veterans programs and volunteer skills-building sessions for more than 3.2 million students worldwide. And we helped scale the P-TECH school model – a six-year program that offers a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, along with real-world working experience and mentorship – at no cost to students. This upcoming school year, we anticipate 200 P-TECH schools across 16 countries and 125,000 students enrolled.

We invest in these efforts because it is the right thing to do – and because it is the right investment to sustain our business over the long term. Responsible stewardship is an integral part of our business strategy – a simple, honest approach to doing business that also earned us recognition as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

We know that trust and responsibility can never be taken for granted. That’s why we continue to earn and practice them every day. It’s also why we have never been more optimistic about our ability to help fulfill the true promise of today’s science and technology for business and society.

Learn more in IBM's 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report