Water conservation

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

IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations have been our company’s most water-intensive business activities. In 2014, these operations represented 88 percent — or 8,937 of 10,152 thousand cubic meters (TCMs) — of the 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 goal to achieve average annual water conservation savings equal to 2 percent of IBM’s water use in microelectronics manufacturing operations each year, based on the water usage of the previous year and measured over a rolling five-year period. This voluntary environmental goal measures annual water conservation resulting from new water reduction projects and improvements in water reuse and recycling by these operations.

Water conservation initiatives in IBM's microelectronics manufacturing locations achieved a 3.3 percent annual savings in 2014, versus 2013 usage. Over the past five years, initiatives at these locations have achieved an average of 2.3 percent water conservation savings against the 2 percent goal.

In 2014, a total of 695 TCMs of water were conserved, of which 469 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 225 TCMs in water savings. The total accumulated water conservation over the past five-year rolling period was 3,265 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 14 years, conservation efforts have avoided the accumulated use of 21,039 TCMs of water.


IBM’s microelectronics manufacturing operations achieved a 2.3 percent average annual water savings over five years, based on previous years’ usage — surpassing our goal of 2 percent.

Water conservation in microelectronics manufacturing operations

(annual savings as a percentage of previous year's total water use)