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August 19, 2014

How IBM plans to save the Amazon rainforest

The firm’s Corporate Service Corps partners with the Nature Conservancy.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

IBM has partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNS) to help save the Amazon rainforest.

Through its non-profit Corporate Service Corps (CSC) programme, IBM is helping TNC to establish land-ownership records, monitor land use and stop illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.

The CSM programme, launched in 2008, aims to provide IBM employees with leadership skills and assistance to local governments and NGOs in emerging markets.

IBM writer Steve Hamm said in a blog post: "TNC’s Municipal Environmental Portal (PAM) has been used by a handful of Brazilian municipalities in a pilot phase to track land ownership.

"Now the organisation wants to expand its capabilities and broaden its use — potentially to more than 100 municipalities in Brazil’s Amazon region."

IBM, which last week acquired cloud firm Lighthouse Security Group, said it plans to send 10 employees from its CSC programme to help advance PAM’s capabilities and extend its use to more than 100 municipalities in Brazil’s Amazon region.

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The partnership comes as deforestation becomes a problem in the Amazon River basin, with nearly 20% of the Amazon rainforest having been cut down in the past 40 years, according to the latest IBM reports.

Stanley Litow, VP for IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, said: "This partnership with The Nature Conservancy provides an opportunity for IBM to exert environmental leadership on the ground that will balance the need for economic growth with the need to provide sustainable performance in the environmental space."

Henry Paulson Jr, the former US Treasury secretary and co-chairman of the Latin American Conservation Council, added: "We can’t solve these big problems unless we have governments working with business, working with NGOs. It takes all three to be successful."

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