Commitment to Environmental Leadership

Water Conservation

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

IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations represent our company’s most water-intensive business activities. In 2013, these semiconductor manufacturing operations represented 82 percent, or 9,302 thousand cubic meters (TCMs), of the 11,391 TCMs of water used in 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 in our 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 2013, new water conservation initiatives at IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing facilities achieved an annual 3.2 percent water conservation savings versus 2012 usage. Over the past five years, new water conservation initiatives at our microelectronics manufacturing facilities have achieved an average of 2.3 percent water conservation savings against the 2 percent goal.


IBM's goal for water conservation is 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 five-year period.


As of year-end 2013, IBM's microelectronics manufacturing operations had achieved an average annual water savings of 2.3 percent over the five years versus the 2 percent goal.


In 2013, 643 TCMs of water were conserved in our microelectronics manufacturing operations through new and ongoing reduction, reuse, and recycling activities. Of this total conservation, 509 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 134 TCMs in water savings. The total accumulated water conservation over the past five-year rolling period was 3,331 TCMs.

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. Over the past 13 years since 2000, when the goal was introduced, water conservation efforts have avoided the accumulated use of 20,345 TCMs. As additional annual water conservation savings become harder to secure, due in part to the significant conservation efforts already delivered, we are evaluating options to further drive the efficient use of water resources across our business operations worldwide.