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.”

Supplier Diversity

IBM is committed to diversity in all parts of its business, and has been for more than 100 years.

IBM’s history of maintaining a diverse supply chain is no exception. The company first established a global supply chain diversity program in 1968. This was four years before the creation of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and 29 years before the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) was founded. We were the first IT company to conduct more than $1 billion of business with diverse suppliers in the United States. And we learned early on that fostering diversity is not only the right thing to do for society, but for business as well. A diverse supplier base not only provides talent, it also helps add stability and flexibility throughout our supply chain and promotes economic growth in local communities.

In 2012, IBM conducted $3.3 billion of global business with first- and second-tier diverse suppliers. Of that, $2.6 billion was contracted with first-tier suppliers, up from $2.5 billion in 2011. And of that, we did $939 million in business with non-US first-tier diverse suppliers, representing a 7 percent increase from the previous year. The growth in diverse spend outside the United States is the result of our creation of full-time diversity positions in growth markets such as China.

amount of ibm business conducted with first-tier diverse suppliers

For these and other accomplishments in 2012, IBM Program Director of Global Supplier Diversity Michael K. Robinson was named Supplier Diversity Ambassador by Minority Business News USA. Robinson also received the Executive Leadership Award at the 2011 Congressional Minority Business Awards Gala, and he was recognized by Asian Enterprise Magazine as their Advocate of the Year.

In addition to the NMSDC, IBM is a founding member of the WBENC, WEConnect International, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and US Business Leadership Network’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program. IBM also participates in international organizations focused on supplier diversity, such as the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, Minority Supplier Development United Kingdom, Minority Supplier Development China, South African Minority Supplier Development, WEConnect Canada, WEConnect Europe, WEConnect India and the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Since the inception of IBM’s Supplier Diversity Program, IBM has received much recognition for its efforts. In the past 12 years the company has received more than 100 corporate and individual awards from local, regional, national and federal entities. This past year was particularly noteworthy, as IBM’s efforts in maintaining a diverse supply chain were recognized by more than two dozen organizations. Among the top honors were:

  • Top Corporation by the WBENC
  • Corporation of the Year by the Minority Supplier Development Council–UK
  • A Top Corporation by
  • A 2012 Corporate One recipient by the Michigan MSDC
  • Corporation of the Year by the WBEC of PA-NJ-DE
  • Corporation of the Year by the MSDC of PA-NJ-DE
  • NMSDC International Committee’s Global Link Award
  • IBM / Supplier Connection won the Best Collaboration Award from the Supply Chain Awards North America.

Looking forward, IBM will continue to foster the diversity of its global supply chain as our business needs evolve. IBM works with many potential diverse suppliers to clearly define its requirements in both direct and indirect supply areas. And we continue this work with diverse suppliers—especially our second- and third-tier suppliers—to help them grow their capacity.

$3.3 billion

of business with first- and second-tier
diverse suppliers in 2012

939 million

$ of purchasing with first-tier, non-US-based
diverse suppliers in 2012