The preservation of water resources and protection of watersheds are important areas of focus for IBM.
IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations are our company’s most water-intensive ones. In 2012, these operations represented 81 percent, or 9,300 TCMs (thousand cubic meters), of the 11,460 TCMs of water used at 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 2012, new water conservation initiatives in IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing facilities achieved an annual 2.2 percent water conservation savings versus 2011 usage. Over the past five years, new water conservation initiatives at our microelectronics manufacturing facilities have achieved an average of 2.2 percent water conservation savings versus the 2 percent goal.
The significant efforts undertaken by IBM’s microelectronics operations in the early years of our water conservation goal were very effective in capturing opportunities for water conservation. Further improvements in water conservation are particularly challenging because, due to the low cost and high availability of water in the regions where we operate our microelectronics facilities, new water conservation projects at these locations are seldom financially compelling. That said, we continue to investigate options to further drive the efficient use of water at our manufacturing operations and laboratories worldwide.
In 2012, 569 TCMs of water were conserved in our microelectronics manufacturing operations through new and ongoing reduction, reuse and recycling activities. Of this total conservation, 425 TCMs of water withdrawals were avoided through on-site water reuse, and wastewater and groundwater recycling projects. New water use reduction projects contributed a further 144 TCMs in water savings. The total accumulated conservation efforts over the past five-year rolling period avoided the usage of 3,902 TCMs of water resource.
Smarter Water® solutions
Leveraging our experience and advanced analytics, information management, technology services and business consulting capabilities, IBM is providing strategic water management solutions that help governments, water utilities and companies monitor and manage water operations more effectively.
We are also applying our research to advancing water conservation and availability. One example: In May 2013, we opened an IBM Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya, our first research center in Africa. Research that will be conducted at the lab will include both applied and far-reaching exploratory research.
Water is one example of the applied research: Nairobi is currently home to more than three million inhabitants, and the population is expected to grow to over five million by 2020 as migration to urban areas continues. With this large population growth, it is necessary to better manage and reconcile the various systems within the city. IBM Research in Africa will initially focus on two of these systems—water and transportation. Using multiple data sources, analytics and models, IBM Research hopes to develop a complete understanding of Kenya's water system and optimize the use, storage, safety and distribution of the country's water supply.
Water Conservation in Microelectronics Manufacturing Operations2%
To achieve an annual average water savings equal to 2 percent of total annual water usage in our microelectronics manufacturing operations, based on the water usage of the previous year and measured as an average over a rolling five-year period
As of year-end 2012, IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations achieved an average annual water savings of 2.2 percent over the past five years