Engagement and collaboration

At IBM, we embrace a strategy of working with other parties who share our vision of making sustained improvements to transform the extended supply chain.

We collaborate with entities including industry groups, academics, nongovernmental organizations, and other professional organizations globally. We openly share our work — and in return, learn from — these varied groups in order to improve our continued efforts in supply chain social responsibility.

In 2014, IBM’s involvement with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) continued in terms of support, participation, and utilization of the organization’s numerous resources. The EICC celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014 as a nonprofit industry group, and continues to make strides toward its ultimate goal of creating a sector that consistently operates in a socially and environmentally responsible fashion. As a founding member, IBM encourages its suppliers of products and services to join the group and participate in the development and deployment of resources aimed at driving improvements in social responsibility. At the end of 2014, the EICC had grown to over 100 member companies across retail, electronics brands, contract manufacturing, hardware components, software, logistics, and communication industries, representing multiple distinct tiers of the extended supply chain.

Last year, IBM expanded its participation in a number of working groups including Conflict Minerals, Asia Program Outreach, and Validated Audit Process work group. Each member of IBM’s Supply Chain Social Responsibility team is part of one or more of the EICC’s work groups. This allows us to remain engaged in, contribute to, and learn from other companies that constitute the various groups. Building upon its long history of working with indirect suppliers (services and software), IBM accepted a role as team leader of the EICC’s newly formed Indirect Spend work group. This work group is engaging EICC members who are deploying the EICC Code of Conduct to indirect suppliers that support the electronics industry. Suppliers in this sector are varied and range from large global firms to locally owned small enterprises, which presents a challenge in terms of communicating and assessing compliance to the EICC Code. This work group is also engaging key suppliers to collaborate on determining the most effective means of deploying the code and assessments in this varied sector of the supply chain.

Through the collective efforts of its members and external parties, the EICC attained these notable accomplishments in 2014:

  • Completed a thorough stakeholder and membership review of the EICC Code of Conduct, and released Version 5.0 (effective April 1, 2015)
  • Facilitated dialogue on trafficked and forced labor at EICC meetings and conferences between industry, government and civil society groups in the United States, China and Malaysia
  • In cooperation with nongovernmental groups, sponsored development of a student worker toolkit to help support responsible management of student interns by electronics manufacturing facilities in mainland China
  • Expanded the geographic coverage of the Validated Audit Process to more than 30 countries and deployed audit protocols for service suppliers and labor agencies
  • Upgraded the EICC-On secure database for supply-chain interchange of EICC Self-Assessment Questionnaires and Validated Audit Reports
  • Continued growing membership in the EICC/Global e-Sustainability Initiative Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) and published updated rosters of conflict-free smelters for all four conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold)
  • Expanded its permanent office in Alexandria, Virginia, by hiring additional staff members to assist the organization in reaching its goals and objectives

In addition to its involvement with the EICC, IBM continues its long history of engaging with local and regional nongovernmental organizations that share our passion for a sustainable and responsible supply chain. The interactions between IBM and organizations in Guadalajara/Jalisco Mexico region is a continuous and robust example of this engagement. As a key member of the electronics ecosystem in Jalisco state, IBM collaborates with industry chambers and nonprofit organizations to foster the development of socially responsible practices in the electronics sector in Mexico — a key element of the Mexican economy. For the last four years IBM has collaborated with Red Activo Sustentable, a nonprofit organization that continues to help small and medium-sized enterprises to develop responsible practices. Over this time span, more than 500 local and regional companies have attended workshops on corporate responsibility. During 2014 IBM and Red Activo Sustentable developed a dedicated workshop for the electronics industry and its supply chain in Mexico. IBM also maintains a relationship with Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral, a nongovernmental organization located in Mexico. Through frequent meetings and open communication, we are addressing in a constructive manner areas of mutual concern regarding working conditions in our regional supply chain.

In 2014 IBM furthered its broad-based external collaboration by attending and presenting on its various social responsibility supply chain initiatives in these important venues:

  • Conference on supply chain social responsibility at Tecnológico de Monterrey, part of our activities with Red Activo Sustentable, with 100 attendees
  • Conference on sustainable supply chain hosted by the Labor department of Guadalajara, more than 50 general managers attended from leading industries in Jalisco
  • Conference on corporate social responsibility sponsored by Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro, attended by more than 200 students as part of their studies in sustainability
  • Presented at North Carolina State University on supply chain sustainability and the imperative for companies to adopt, implement, and successfully execute; audience was the top 25 supply chain students from China (as part of an exchange program)
  • Provided the keynote speaker at the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council to address an audience of women-owned, minority and small businesses on why having a well-established supply chain sustainability program is an imperative as well as providing a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.