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.”

Public Policy

As IBM endeavors to improve the social and commercial systems that support our world, we understand the importance of working collaboratively across all of civil society—with lawmakers, regulators, public officials and civic leaders.

Through this collaboration we contribute our expertise, experience and perspective on some of the most urgent issues facing the world today.

One such issue is the worldwide shortage of graduates prepared for careers in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM). The flow of high-skilled workers from nation to nation is one response to the STEM shortage; however, caps and other restrictions have limited the movement of talent even if a sufficient supply existed.

And so, many countries are now developing reforms to improve their global competitiveness:

  1. OECD countries have sought improvements in curriculum, teaching skills, use of metrics and other key reforms.
  2. The government of China put forward a new law on vocational education and regulations concerning the management of institutions of higher learning.
  3. India has amended its constitution to guarantee a fundamental right to education and enacted legislation regarding free and compulsory education.

IBM is focused on addressing these problems by encouraging action on the part of states, localities and the US Congress. We are working to drive education reform, workforce training and immigration/migration legislation and policy, and have used our localized efforts (for example, Pathways in Technology Early College High School or P-TECH) to develop recommendations and demonstrate educational approaches.

To scale up these local initiatives, IBM is working with its US congressional delegations, other employers and trade associations to seek improvements in career and technical education (CTE) programs—in particular, the Carl D. Perkins Act. In the United States, CTE programs—once called vocational education—creates a link between school and career. While federal funding under the Carl D. Perkins Act provides more than $1 billion to schools, IBM is seeking reforms that would:

  1. Better align with labor-market needs in high-growth industry sectors.
  2. Improve CTE programs with strong collaboration among secondary and post-secondary institutions and employers.
  3. Create accountability measures that provide common definitions and clear metrics for performance of CTE programs in order to improve academic outcomes while building the technical skills and employability of participants.