IBM calculates its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and follows procedures aligned with the ISO 14064-1 standard. 

With few exceptions, IBM does not estimate Scope 3 GHG emissions associated with its value chain because the necessary gross assumptions associated with such estimates simply do not enable credible, factual results. For more information, please visit:

IBM Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (in metric tons of CO2-equivalents)

    2017   2018   2019   2020   2021¹
Scope 1 emissions   124,901   124,633   117,723   90,906   91,955
Use of fossil fuels for operations   84,061   82,314   80,159   73,941   69,634
Use of fossil fuels for transportation   27,746   29,146   25,579   7,896   8,199
Use of chemicals with a global warming potential   13,094   13,173   11,985   9,069   14,122
Scope 2 emissions (market-based)   1,076,882   963,304   827,369   530,365   411,211
Use of electricity in IBM-managed locations   1,037,852   927,877   792,987   501,654   384,593
Use of purchased energy commodities   39,030   35,427   34,382   28,711   26,618
Scope 2 emissions (location-based)   1,371,616   1,133,030   987,066   828,794   668,612
Scope 3 emissions²                    
Purchased goods and services   257,042   329,409   315,095   275,882   194,800
Use of sold products³    380,000   397,000   287,000   291,000   272,000
Upstream leased assets³    40,000   39,000   40,000   13,000   13,000
Business travel³    459,000   458,000   393,000   85,000   37,000
Employee commuting³    127,000   123,000   119,000   42,000   15,000

¹ Reported emissions for calendar year 2021 include ten months of operation of IBM's managed infrastructure services business, which was spun off into a new company, Kyndryl, on November 3, 2021.

² Description of Scope 3 emissions:

  • Purchased goods and services

    These are the emissions associated with IBM's use of electricity in data centers located in facilities managed by third parties where IBM does not procure the electricity (also referred to as co-location data centers).

  • Use of sold products

    These are the emissions associated with the electricity consumption of our sold products when they are used by our clients. In estimating emissions from the use of our sold products, we only capture products sold during the reporting year and account for 12 months of estimated consumption. We use product specifications such as nameplate power, quantity of products sold every year, we make assumptions around typical client hardware utilization rates, and use industry average Power Usage Effectiveness and global electricity GHG emission factors to estimate these emissions. We do not extrapolate this data to estimate emissions around a hypothetical lifetime of our products because that would require gross assumptions based on lifetime and specific client applications.

  • Upstream leased assets

    In some countries, IBM provides leased vehicles for employees that they may use for personal purposes. For these vehicles, we have set standard guidelines that require leasing of vehicles with lower emissions profiles. These guidelines enable reductions in average car emission levels as the car fleets are renewed.

  • Business travel

    These emissions are associated to business air travel on commercial carriers and car rentals. Business travel is a necessary and important part of ensuring that IBM understands our clients' needs and delivers the best client experience possible. We have worked with rental car companies to require that they offer more fuel-efficient vehicles to our employees while traveling for business. IBMers can reduce the need for travel by taking advantage of strategic collaboration and meeting tools that allow them to easily engage with clients and their colleagues to have productive meetings, without the need for travel.

  • Employee commuting

    Our reported figure for employee commuting emissions only includes estimations made for our U.S. employees since this is the population for which we can make credible assumptions around their commuting behavior and we have access to reliable third-party data to estimate emissions. IBM has been active for decades in promoting programs that reduce employees' work-related commutes and associated GHG emissions. For example, many locations promote biking to work by having bicycle lockers, racks and showers available on-site. At several larger locations, IBM sponsors shuttle services to transport employees to mass transit stations and also between IBM campuses and buildings Also, many IBM locations are within reach of the public transportation system, giving employees the choice to use more energy-efficient mass transit to commute to work. Globally, many of our locations partner with local public transit authorities to develop ride-sharing programs and negotiate subsidized transit passes for IBM employees. IBM is a member of the Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) program. Currently, seven of IBM's largest campuses in the United States are registered as BWC sites. Our BWC-registered locations actively work with their local transit commissions and offer other commuter benefits on-site to integrate IBM's programs with regional programs, increasing commuting options for our employees.

³ Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.