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.”


IBM senior management is ultimately responsible for our economic, environmental and social performance, as well as our adherence to IBM’s overall compliance programs.

Corporate responsibility at IBM is integrated across the business through the following forums.

Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee

Our Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee comprises senior executives from functional areas across the business and is chaired by the vice president for Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs. The committee meets periodically to provide leadership and direction on key corporate responsibility issues. Each functional area is responsible for the development of its own corporate responsibility goals and strategy, with organization-wide goals approved by the steering committee.

Corporate Responsibility Working Group

Our Corporate Responsibility Working Group consists of representatives from 10 functional areas (including global representation) and meets at least monthly to manage IBM’s corporate responsibility activities and stakeholder engagement across the company. The working group reviews key policy and strategic issues and makes recommendations to the steering committee throughout the year.

On a day-to-day basis our activities are coordinated in the Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs organization, which reports to the senior vice president for Marketing and Communications.

Stakeholder Engagement

At IBM, we view stakeholder engagement as much more than communications and consultation. For us, it is about business engagement and collaboration—working shoulder-to-shoulder with communities, governments and the social sector.

Here are a few examples:

  • Jams use IBM’s large-scale electronic collaborative brainstorming platform to garner stakeholder input and engagement on a scale not previously possible in real time, accelerating the development of solutions to society’s most enduring problems. Jams bring together thousands of representatives from nonprofit organizations, corporations, academic institutions and government agencies to engage in real-time, virtual discussions around social and business issues ranging from security and privacy in the digital age to the future of service and volunteerism.

    For example, ServiceJam, held in 2010, brought together more than 15,000 representatives of nonprofit organizations, corporations, academic institutions and government agencies in a discussion about how social innovation can help solve our world’s largest problems.

  • We use a variety of social media to help us more deeply engage with our community and the extended IBM workforce. This includes Citizen IBM, which promotes discussion with community organizations, teachers, students and parents worldwide on IBM’s corporate citizenship programs. This website offers information about IBMers donating their time, talent and technology to assist communities around the world to help build a smarter planet. We also connect to our extended workforce community, which includes our retirees, through the IBM On Demand Community, our online system of community engagement.

IBM also actively seeks to work with organizations that are taking similarly innovative, global, open and collaborative approaches to corporate citizenship and sustainability.


Representatives of nonprofit organizations, corporations, academic institutions and government agencies that came together to discuss how social innovation can help solve our world’s largest problems under IBM’s ServiceJam.

Our memberships include:

  • AmCham-China CSR Committee
  • Business Civic Leadership Center
  • Business for Social Responsibility
  • Carnegie Global Council
  • Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
  • Chilean United Way
  • Confederation of Indian Industry National Committee on CSR
  • Conference Board
  • Corporate Responsibility Officers Association
  • Council on Foundations
  • CSR Asia (IBM is a member of its Community Investment Round Table)
  • CSR Europe (IBM is the current chair)
  • Eco-Patent Commons
  • Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (IBM is a board member and holds chair emeritus position)
  • Environmental Law Institute
  • European Academy of Business in Society (IBM is a board member)
  • Group of Institutes, Foundations and Companies
  • InnoCSR, China
  • Instituto Argentino de Responsabilidad Social Empresaria /Argentinean Institute of CSR
  • Points of Light Institute Corporate Council
  • World Environment Center
  • World Wildlife Fund Climate Savers Program

Business Conduct Guidelines

IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines (BCG), including the Government Client Guidelines supplement, reflect our longstanding commitment to ethical conduct and decision-making. Serving as our global code of conduct for IBM employees everywhere we do business, the BCG is available in 25 languages and is deployed in 98 countries. Each year, IBM employees are required to certify to the BCG and complete online interactive training. The BCG course is refreshed annually, to include timely and relevant business scenarios that employees may face when conducting IBM’s business. In 2012 the course included topics on financial integrity, anti-bribery, secure computing, fair competition and reporting.

Working with third parties continues to be an integral part of IBM’s business in meeting the needs of our clients. Just as IBM employees commit to ethical conduct and decision-making, IBM also holds its business partners to high standards of business conduct and practices. IBM’s Business Partner Code of Conduct and Supplier Conduct Principles and Guidelines describe the standards of business conduct and practices we expect from our business partners and suppliers in order to do business with IBM. This year, IBM also required its business partners and suppliers to complete online education on a variety of topics relating to ethical conduct and compliance.

IBM provides communications channels for employees, suppliers, business partners and others to report concerns or suspected violations to the company. These reporting channels include mechanisms for submitting anonymous reports. IBM does not tolerate threats or acts of retaliation against any employee for reporting a concern or suspected violation.