IBM announced this morning that it has acquired Australian startup Envizi to add to its package of ESG (environmental, social and governance) offerings to help measure environmental impact up and down the supply chain.
The companies did not share the terms of the acquisition, but with Envizi Big Blue gets a platform for measuring, managing and optimizing a customer's environmental sustainability efforts. In other words, it's taking a data-centric approach to the problem just as it did when it was building Watson Health in 2016, a division that it is reportedly trying to sell at the moment.
Kareem Yusuf, general manager for IBM AI Applications, said that companies need data to drive insights, and that's what his company is getting with Envizi.
"Envizi's software provides companies with a single source of truth for analyzing and understanding emissions data across the full landscape of their business operations and dramatically accelerates IBM's growing arsenal of AI technologies for helping businesses create more sustainable operations and supply chains," Yusuf said in a statement.
Envizi CEO and co-founder David Solsky sees this as a way to scale the company by taking advantage of IBM's global presence, a typical argument for a company being swallowed up by a much larger one. "Today doesn’t mark the end of an era, nor the beginning of a new one. Rather, it is a transition to a structure that is going to allow us to scale at an unprecedented rate and globally help our clients accelerate progress toward their sustainability commitments," Solsky wrote in a company blog post announcing the deal.
IBM sees Envizi as AI-driven software to add to its existing package of products that includes the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite, IBM Maximo asset management solutions and IBM Sterling supply chain solutions. The latter uses the IBM blockchain for sourcing and traceability along the supply chain, which could improve safety or traceability.
It's worth noting that even as the company continues to pursue AI-fueled solutions, this time it did not attach the name Watson to its ESG efforts, as it did with the healthcare initiative six years ago. Perhaps IBM has decided the Watson brand has lost some of its shine over the years and has moved on from attaching the name to every AI-driven solution in the company.
The company notes that it is using these same software tools in-house to help drive its own sustainability efforts as it works to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.