Environmental Commitment, Action and Results

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IBM has released its 28th annual Corporate Environmental Report.

We believe that corporate environmental leadership and responsibility is an imperative that requires a sustained focus on actions and results. Our latest Environmental Report details our actions and results from 2017, and includes details on our accomplishments related to energy conservation and climate protection, materials conservation and pollution prevention, product stewardship, and how IBM is applying our technology to solve environmental problems for our clients.

Selected highlights from 2017:

  • Exceeded IBM’s third CO2 emissions reduction goal – Compared to a baseline of 2005, we reduced CO2 emissions attributable to IBM at its managed locations by 42.9% at year-end 2017 compared to our goal of 35% by 2020. In recognition of this, IBM received a Climate Leadership Award from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry in March 2018. IBM has won a Climate Leadership Award six times in this program’s seven-year history.
  • Increased procurement of renewable energy – We procured electricity from renewable sources for 22.9% of our global electricity consumption, exceeding our goal to procure 20% by 2020. This is over and above the quantity of renewable electricity which automatically comes to IBM via grid power. When we also include renewable energy within grid power, 41.4% of IBM’s electricity came from renewable sources during 2017. In March 2018, IBM finalized an agreement to purchase all of the electricity generated by a 6-megawatt solar array to be constructed at IBM’s Boulder, Colorado facility.
  • Implemented over 2,000 energy conservation projects across the company – These projects delivered annual savings equal to 4.2% of IBM’s total energy use, surpassing our goal of 3.5%. IBM has been measuring energy conservation results for decades. From 1990 through 2017, IBM conserved 7.4 million megawatt hours of electricity, avoiding 4.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and saving $616 million.
  • Sent 87.8% (by weight) of our nonhazardous waste to be recycled – surpassing our goal of 75%
  • Lowered water withdrawals in water-stressed regions by 2.9% – achieving our ongoing goal for year-to-year reductions in water withdrawals at these locations
  • Successfully recertified IBM’s global Environmental Management System to the latest version of the ISO 14001 standard – Twenty years ago, in 1997, IBM became the first major multinational company in the world to earn a single global registration to ISO 14001.

IBM is also applying its expertise to help clients with solutions to environmental problems. Our cloud platform enables analytics, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain to be deployed for innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Highlights over the past year include:

  • Improving urban air quality – IBM’s Green Horizons program leverages data, analytics, an internet of things, and artificial intelligence to identify and predict urban air pollution. It has helped enable the Beijing municipal government to reduce the average annual concentration of PM2.5 particulate air pollution by 35%, from 89 ug/m3 in 2013 to 58 ug/m3 in 2017.
  • Tackling ocean plastic – IBM, working with Cognition Foundry, is using blockchain to assist the Plastic Bank to  mobilize entrepreneurs from the world’s poorest communities to recycle plastic waste in return for life-changing goods.
  • Monitoring and managing water quality – IBM and the Dublin City University Water Institute launched a pilot program that uses an Internet of Things and advanced analytics to monitor and manage both freshwater and marine environments.
  • Protecting the endangered rhinoceros – IBM’s Internet of Things and predictive analytics technologies are being used to combat the poaching of endangered rhinos in South Africa.

IBM’s history of  environmental leadership dates back more than a half century to the issuance of our first corporate directive on pollution control, and we remain committed to demonstrating leadership in managing our own environmental impacts and bringing innovative solutions to the challenges facing our clients and the world.

I am so very proud of our environmental accomplishments and the many IBMers that continue to make them possible.

Wayne Balta is Vice President for Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety at IBM.

Related Resources:

GreenBiz: Why IBM Obsesses Over Energy Efficiency

2017 IBM and the Environment Report

2017 Corporate Responsibility Report: Environmental Sustainability Is Smarter for All

Celebrating Three Decades of IBM Leadership on Climate Change

Learn More About IBM and the Environment

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