Long before phrases like "carbon footprint" and "going green" became universally recognizable, IBM saw the need to be more aware of the world around us by adopting an environmental code of practice. Its first corporate policy on environmental protection was issued in 1971.
That early commitment has evolved and today IBM is leading by example in all its business activities—from its day-to-day operations, to the design of its products and the use of its technology. Energy and climate-related issues are at the top of IBM’s strategic agenda and efforts to meet these challenges have been launched at both the global and regional levels, and these initiatives are being recognized. Computerworld recently named IBM as the top Green IT Company for 2008 and Climate Count gave IBM a number one ranking as a climate friendly corporation.
In Canada, IBM has also received recognition for its energy and environmental leadership:
- Corporate Knights, the Canadian magazine for responsible business, recently ranked IBM number one in the 2008 edition of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.
- And in 2007, IBM's microelectronics plant in Bromont, Quebec, received the Écolectrique designation, The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) Award, and Recyc-Quebec's Level 3 certification for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions by more than 50 percent over ten years, achieve a recycling rate of 93 percent, and cut water usage by more than 4 percent over five years.
Regionally, IBM has made a strong commitment to improving its own environmental footprint with initiatives that range from pollution prevention, conservation and waste recycling to climate protection and product leadership. Over the past five years these energy conservation efforts have saved IBM Canada a total of $ 4.2-million.
Great strides have been made to implement successful recycling programs at all of IBM Canada's facilities. In 2007, the company diverted over 85 percent of all non-hazardous waste from landfills, surpassing the corporate target of 75 percent diversion. Both the 14th Avenue facility in Markham, Ontario, and the microelectronics plant in Bromont, Quebec, achieved even greater diversion rates of 93 and 90 percent respectively.
IBM is proud to be one of the founding members of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada, which allows the company to share its expertise on the proper management of Canada's electronic waste (e-waste). Less than 3 percent of IBM's e-waste goes into landfill—a target the company has exceeded in each of the last seven years.
Encouraging its employees to be more environmentally responsible is also a keen focus for IBM Canada. The company has pioneered programs that promote environmentally friendly mobility options and supports several employee-based environmental committees. IBM was named the 2007 Employer of the Year by Smart Commute 404/407 for its leadership in mobility and telework initiatives.
Within the communities that IBM Canada operates, the company works with local organizations to encourage and facilitate energy reduction activities. As an example, the heat generated from IBM's Toronto Software Lab's datacentre (the largest in Canada) is redirected and used to heat the swimming pool at the local YMCA in Markham, Ontario.
IBM also works with many Canadian businesses to help them develop their own sustainable strategies. For example, IBM Canada:
- Joined forces with the Alberta Society for Sustainable Water Management and Related Technologies (Alberta WaterSMART) and the Bow River Basin Council (BRBC) to support an initiative called WaterPortal, which is designed to help manage Alberta’s water supply.
- Teamed up with RackForce, a Kelowna, British Columbia-based hosting and application provider, to deploy quad-core servers that increase processing power and reliability while reducing electricity costs by 30 percent.
Moving forward, IBM Canada is committed to driving initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of its own operations, engage its employees in these efforts and provide more energy efficient and environmentally friendly products and services for partners and clients.