Water and materials conservation

IBM strives to conserve resources across its operations. Two examples are water and materials conservation.

Water conservation

IBM's microelectronics manufacturing operations are our company's most water-intensive ones. In 2013, these semiconductor manufacturing operations represented 82 percent, or 9,302 Thousand Cubic Meters (TCMs), of the 11,391 TCMs of water used in our manufacturing operations and laboratories worldwide.

Though our microelectronics operations are not located in areas of water scarcity, in 2000 we established a water conservation goal to achieve average annual water conservation savings equal to 2 percent of IBM's annual water use at microelectronics manufacturing operations, based on the water usage of the previous year and measured over a rolling five-year period. This voluntary environmental goal measures increases in annual water conservation resulting from new water reduction projects and improvements in water reuse and recycling at these locations.

In 2013, new water conservation initiatives in IBM's microelectronics manufacturing facilities achieved an annual 3.2 percent water conservation savings versus 2012 usage.

Over the past five years, new water conservation initiatives at our microelectronics manufacturing facilities have achieved an average of 2.3 percent water conservation savings against the 2 percent goal.

Materials conservation and reuse

In addition to its waste management programs, IBM has a wide range of initiatives that conserve materials through reuse and recycling in the company's products and in its procurement of paper and wood-based packaging. Some examples:

  • IBM's requirement for sourcing packaging materials:

    IBM established its voluntary environmental requirement for the responsible sourcing of paper- and paper/wood-based packaging in 2002. It required that the paper- and wood-based packaging directly acquired by IBM be procured from suppliers that source from sustainably managed forests, where such sources exist.

    When this goal was first established, sufficient quantities of sustainably sourced paper and packaging materials were not yet available for much of the company's needs. With a continued focus on this objective by IBM and our suppliers over the years, 99.7 percent of the cut sheet paper and paper/wood-based packaging IBM procured worldwide in 2013 came from suppliers that warranted that the source was derived from forests managed in an ecologically sound and sustainable manner. This requirement is now incorporated into our standard supplier specification for paper/wood-based packaging.