GHG emissions inventory and reductions

IBM has been a leader in addressing climate change through the company's energy conservation and climate protection programs for decades. We have been tracking our energy consumption since 1973, and GHG emissions since the late 1990s. The majority of GHG emissions associated with IBM's operations, 87.3 percent, come from the use of electricity and fuel in our operations. The remaining GHG emissions are associated with the use of PFCs and heat transfer fluids in our semiconductor manufacturing operations. IBM has longstanding programs to implement energy conservation and PFC reduction initiatives to reduce GHG emissions from our use of energy and PFCs. We have set and attained a series of PFC and CO2 emissions reduction goals over the past 15 years.


Overall CO2 emissions inventory


IBM tracks and manages operational Scope 1 and 2 emissions across its operations, collecting and aggregating data from its data center, semiconductor research and manufacturing, hardware development and assembly and office operations. IBM has a broad, effective set of programs and processes to inventory its energy use and GHG emissions and take action to increase the efficiency of its operations. IBM decreased its overall Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 10.4 percent from 2012 to 2013. The summary of its 2013 emissions inventory is provided in Table 1 below.


Table 1: IBM 2013 Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions Inventory

Metric tons (MT) of CO2 Equivalent

Scope 1 Emissions Emissions Type 2012 2013
Fuel Use Operational 220,851 225,514
Perflourinated Carbon Compounds PFC 231,832 194,301
Nitrous Oxide Other 24,037 23,150
Heat Transfer Fluids Other 57,436 61,747
HFCs Other 7,428 9,752
Total Scope 1 Emissions   541,584 514,464
Scope 2 Emissions      
Electricity: Using Grid and Location MT CO2/MWh Emissions Factors Operational 2,162,543 1,934,736
Purchased Energy Commodities Operational 45,916 43,858
Total Scope 2 Emissions   2,208,459 1,978,594
Total Scope 1 and 2 Emissions   2,750,043 2,493,058
CO2 Avoidance: Renewable Electricity Purchases Operational (211,819) (223,624)
Total Scope 1 and 2 Emissions adjusted for Renewable Electricity   2,538,224 2,269,434

Operational CO2 emissions reductions


IBM's energy conservation program has been the cornerstone of the company's climate protection program, since our energy use represents the greatest potential climate impact associated with IBM's operations. Our ongoing focus on minimizing energy use in our operations through energy conservation and efficiency projectxs reduces our CO2 emissions inventory and delivers business value through more efficient operations and reduced operating costs. Since 1996, IBM has had a corporate wide energy conservation goal which currently requires IBM's business units to reduce or avoid 3.5 percent of the current year's energy use. IBM considers its energy conservation goal to be its "first generation" CO2 emissions reduction goal since energy use reductions result in the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with the use of fuels and electricity. In aggregate, IBM's energy conservation program has reduced or avoided annualized CO2 emissions of 4 million metric tons from 1990 to 2013, an amount equivalent to 59 percent of IBM's global CO2 emissions in 1990. Changes due to acquisitions, divestitures and downsizing are not included in those results; they represent the benefits of the many energy conservation and efficiency projects implemented for over two decades across our operations.

In 2006, IBM established a second generation goal, which set an absolute operational CO2 emissions reduction objective. Between 1990 and 2005, IBM reduced or avoided CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to 40 percent of its 1990 emissions through its global energy conservation program. To further extend this achievement, IBM set itself an aggressive "second generation" goal: to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with its energy use 12 percent by 2012 against a 2005 base year through energy conservation and the procurement of renewable energy.

IBM met its second generation climate protection goal in 2012, reducing our operational CO2 emissions by 15.7 percent against the 2005 baseline.

IBM's operational CO2 emissions, those associated with IBM's use of fuel and electricity at its locations, were reduced 10.6 percent from 2012 to 2013. There were three key factors that drove this year-to-year reduction:

The significant reductions achieved in the 2013 operational CO2 inventory are indicative of IBM's continued commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change through energy conservation initiatives and the procurement of renewable energy for its operations.


Reducing PFC emissions


IBM releases some perfluorocompounds (PFCs) from its semiconductor manufacturing operations. Although the releases are in relatively small amounts (in carbon dioxide equivalents, when compared to the company's indirect CO2 emissions), IBM was the first semiconductor manufacturer to set a numeric reduction target for PFCs in 1998 and was one of the industry leaders in Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and EPA collaboration for voluntary industry emissions reporting and reduction initiatives. This collaboration resulted in two Memorandums of Understanding:

After completion of our first corporate goal in 2002, we set a second generation goal to achieve an absolute reduction in PFC emissions from semiconductor manufacturing of 25 percent by 2010 against a base year of 1995. We exceeded this goal by reducing IBM's PFC emissions by 36.5 percent at year-end 2010. Two key PFC reduction approaches enabled us to exceed the goal commitment.


  1. IBM's 300 mm manufacturing facility abates all significant sources of PFC emissions, minimizing the emissions from the manufacturing operations.

  2. IBM's 200 mm manufacturing facility has been an industry leader in developing and implementing chemical substitution alternatives to reduce PFC emissions. The facility pioneered the conversion of selected equipment chamber clean processes from C2F6, a gas with an average utilization of 30 to 40 percent, to NF3 which is utilized at greater than 95 percent, significantly reducing emissions. The facility has also implemented substitutions with C4F8, which has better utilization rates and a lower Global Warming Potential.

We continue to take actions to reduce our PFC emissions and monitor performance. Our PFC emissions were 194,300 MT of CO2e, a reduction of 12.7 percent from 2010. The IBM semiconductor manufacturing plant in Vermont continued to convert from C2F6 to C4F8 on selected chamber cleaning processes, accounting for approximately half of the reductions. The other half of the reductions can be attributed to reduced production for the year due to current market conditions.

IBM also monitors three other materials with global warming potentials that are used in connection with manufacturing, lab and office operations: 1) nitrous oxide (N2O), which is used in manufacturing semiconductors but has a lower global warming potential than PFC gases; 2) heat transfer fluids (HTFs) that are primarily used in tool-specific chiller units associated with manufacturing and lab processes; and 3) HFCs which are used in chiller units used to cool manufacturing, lab, or office space.

IBM continues to evaluate replacements for the HTFs that have lower volatility and global warming potential. IBM has achieved reductions in these emissions through the use of lower GHG-emitting materials in some test operations and through the installation of solid-state chillers on some semiconductor equipment.


Using absolute metrics to assess GHG reductions


IBM uses absolute metrics as opposed to intensity metrics to assess the effectiveness of its GHG emissions reductions programs. We do not establish intensity metrics against which to assess our progress toward emissions reductions because the diverse nature of IBM's business activities precludes the development of a meaningful correlation between IBM's emissions and activities, and typical emissions normalizers such as revenue, employee population or a measure of output. IBM's diverse range of business activities include, but are not limited to, software labs, consulting services, data center operations, data center services, hardware design, hardware manufacturing and assembly, and semiconductor manufacturing. Often, these activities are co-located at a single facility. There is no effective methodology to disaggregate operations or to allocate the overhead energy use and GHG emissions associated with centralized activities.