Responsibility at IBM

2012 Corporate Responsibility Report

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In this section, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty’s letter describes how IBM’s goal to unite its business and citizenship strategies is taking shape. We take a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to corporate responsibility and corporate citizenship at IBM, and we integrate that approach into many aspects of our company. In this section you will also find a high-level overview of some of our major activities.


It’s not enough to develop world-class technology, services and expertise—at IBM we realize we must directly apply these things to the communities in which we live and work in order to have a positive impact. In this section, you will find examples of the ways we practiced this approach over the course of 2012 and into 2013.

The IBMer

A great company is forever evolving and growing. At IBM, we make it a top priority to hire, support and retain the people who make us a great company. In this section, you will find examples of the ways we support both the personal and professional development of our employees.


IBM’s unwavering commitment to environmental protection is evidenced across all of our business activities, from our research, development, products and services to the solutions we provide our clients that help them be more protective of the environment. In this section of IBM’s Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find information on our environmental programs, performance and solutions during 2012.

Supply Chain

Social and environmental responsibility is an important part of our business relationships with our suppliers. We work closely with them to encourage sustained improvement throughout our global supply chain and across various aspects of corporate responsibility. In this section you will find examples of how we set requirements for the companies we do business with, grow the global diversity of our supply base and collaborate with industry groups and stakeholders.


IBM’s culture of ethics and integrity is guided by a rigorous system of corporate governance. In this section, you will find examples of the many ways we govern the conduct of the company, manage risk and contribute our expertise to public discourse.

Awards & Metrics

Many of our corporate responsibility efforts received recognition from others in 2012. The most significant of these are listed in “Awards and Recognition.” We rely on a number of metrics to measure our corporate responsibility efforts. Our Key Performance Indicators and other significant metrics can be found in “Performance Summary.”

Water Conservation

The preservation of water resources and protection of watersheds are important areas of focus for IBM.

IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations are our company’s most water-intensive ones. In 2012, these operations represented 81 percent, or 9,300 TCMs (thousand cubic meters), of the 11,460 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 2012, new water conservation initiatives in IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing facilities achieved an annual 2.2 percent water conservation savings versus 2011 usage. Over the past five years, new water conservation initiatives at our microelectronics manufacturing facilities have achieved an average of 2.2 percent water conservation savings versus the 2 percent goal.

annual percentage increase in water conservation savings in microelectronics

The significant efforts undertaken by IBM’s microelectronics operations in the early years of our water conservation goal were very effective in capturing opportunities for water conservation. Further improvements in water conservation are particularly challenging because, due to the low cost and high availability of water in the regions where we operate our microelectronics facilities, new water conservation projects at these locations are seldom financially compelling. That said, we continue to investigate options to further drive the efficient use of water at our manufacturing operations and laboratories worldwide.

In 2012, 569 TCMs of water were conserved in our microelectronics manufacturing operations through new and ongoing reduction, reuse and recycling activities. Of this total conservation, 425 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 144 TCMs in water savings. The total accumulated conservation efforts over the past five-year rolling period avoided the usage of 3,902 TCMs of water resource.

Smarter Water® solutions

Leveraging our experience and advanced analytics, information management, technology services and business consulting capabilities, IBM is providing strategic water management solutions that help governments, water utilities and companies monitor and manage water operations more effectively.

We are also applying our research to advancing water conservation and availability. One example: In May 2013, we opened an IBM Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya, our first research center in Africa. Research that will be conducted at the lab will include both applied and far-reaching exploratory research.

Water is one example of the applied research: Nairobi is currently home to more than three million inhabitants, and the population is expected to grow to over five million by 2020 as migration to urban areas continues. With this large population growth, it is necessary to better manage and reconcile the various systems within the city. IBM Research in Africa will initially focus on two of these systems—water and transportation. Using multiple data sources, analytics and models, IBM Research hopes to develop a complete understanding of Kenya's water system and optimize the use, storage, safety and distribution of the country's water supply.

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 2012, IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations achieved an average annual water savings of 2.2 percent over the past five years