Product stewardship

IBM's product design for the environment (DfE) program was established in 1991 to bring additional focus to the corporate environmental affairs policy objectives on product environmental design and performance. Throughout the 1990s and continuing through today, IBM has introduced many industry-leading practices in design for the environment, product environmental metrics and product recycling. Today, the DfE program is incorporated into IBM's worldwide Environmental Management System (EMS) which is certified to the ISO 14001 EMS standard. IBM's proactive initiatives and its vision in incorporating hardware development and product design processes into a globally certified ISO 14001 EMS attest to its legacy of environmental leadership. For more information, see IBM product design and ISO 14001.

The DfE program provides IBM's business organizations with direction and goals, infrastructure, tools and expertise to apply environmental life cycle considerations to IBM's products, from product concept through product end-of-life management. The objectives of IBM's DfE program include:

These objectives are implemented through internal standards, product specifications, and other requirements in IBM's Offering Management process. Product environmental attributes such as energy efficiency, materials content, chemical emissions testing, design for recycling, end-of-life management plans, and packaging data must be documented and reviewed in IBM's Product Environmental Profile tool at various check points during the development process. Compliance management tools like the Product Content Declaration for IBM's suppliers support the assessments required for a complete Product Environmental Profile prior to product release.

Environmental design requirements are communicated and verified with suppliers through the following tools:

IBM's design and compliance controls, including a specification for Baseline Environmental Requirements for Supplier Deliverables to IBM, a Product Content Declaration for IBM Suppliers (PCD) and compliance assessment protocols, are managed by an interdisciplinary team with representatives from IBM organizations that design, manufacture, procure, deliver and service our product offerings. The team's activities are coordinated by IBM's Center of Excellence for Product Environmental Compliance.

Frequent verification of product data is required to maintain compliance of parts and products relative to both IBM's product environmental requirements and the latest regulatory requirements, such as the expiration schedule for exemptions in the European Union Directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS, 2011/65/EU) or the requirements prescribed by the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH, EC 1907/2006) regulation. IBM conducts quality audits of PCDs to drive improvements in the content of the declarations and the supporting administrative processes. Improvements in data management regarding the materials contained in IBM's products ensure that IBM's technical documentation for product hardware meets the quality requirements described within European Norm 50581: "Technical documentation for the assessment of electrical and electronic products with respect to the restriction of hazardous substances." Going forward and in line with the five year transition period, IBM will migrate to the new European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) International Standard EN IEC 63000:2018.

IBM has deployed dedicated analytical tools for managing environmental compliance of products. For example, one tool identifies which IBM part numbers (among thousands) are impacted by expiring exemptions for the European Union RoHS Directive. This information, coupled with other supply chain information, assists engineers and procurement staff with part-number transition management and ensures compliance while supporting business objectives. These tools save IBM engineers extensive amounts of time analyzing complex bills-of-materials to identify the IBM parts impacted by changing requirements.Program metrics supporting IBM's Product Stewardship goals and results are reported annually in IBM's Environmental reporting. The information is also available on our Voluntary performance goals and results webpage.