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Water Conservation

The preservation and protection of the world’s water supplies is a focus of IBM’s internal operations and also our work with clients in building a Smarter Planet®.

Internally, IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations are our company’s most water-intensive. In 2011, these operations represented more than 80 percent—nearly 9,300 thousand cubic meters (TCMs)—of the approximately 11,500 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 2011, new water conservation initiatives in IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing facilities achieved an annual 1.2 percent year-to-year increase in water conservation savings over 2010 usage. Over the past five years, new water conservation initiatives at our microelectronics manufacturing facilities have achieved an average 2.6 percent water conservation savings versus the 2 percent goal.

Water Conservation in Microelectronics Manufacturing Operations



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 2011, IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations had achieved an average annual water savings of 2.6 percent over the past five years versus the 2 percent goal.

Annual Increases in Water Conservation Savings in Microelectronics Manufacturing Operations

Savings as percentage of previous year’s total water use

Annual water savings in microelectronics manufacturing operations 2006 to 2010 against the five-year rolling average

The downward trend in IBM’s reported water conservation savings over the last five years is due partly to the significant effort undertaken in the years prior to this period to improve water conservation. It is also due to the fact that new water conservation projects at these locations are seldom financially compelling or beneficial to the environment due to the low cost and high availability of water in the regions where we operate our microelectronics facilities. In addition, some new microelectronics manufacturing processes require more water for cleaning operations than in the past. We will continue to watch this trend while investigating suitable options to further drive the efficient use of water at our manufacturing operations and laboratories worldwide.

In 2011, 646 TCMs of water were conserved in our microelectronics manufacturing operations through new and ongoing reduction, reuse and recycling activities. Of this total conservation, 573 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 73 TCMs in water savings. The total accumulated conservation efforts over the past five-year period avoided the usage of 4,934 TCMs of water resource.