While IBM has undergone many transformations over its history, our commitment to protecting the environment has remained constant. Our global environmental management system ensures that we execute our operations and activities with the same protective standards for the environment in every country where we do business.

IBM’s corporate environmental programs date from the 1960s. The following highlights demonstrate our history of commitment and leadership:

  • 1967 — IBM issued its first formal directive on pollution control, disposal of liquid wastes, and wastewater treatment.
  • 1971 — IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson Jr. formalized the company’s commitment to environmental protection in our first Corporate Environmental Policy.
  • 1972 — IBM issued a corporate directive requiring the environmental evaluation of suppliers of hazardous waste services. That directive was later expanded to include product recycling and disposal suppliers, and certain production-related suppliers.
  • 1973 — IBM established its global energy conservation program and developed the methodology leading to its first conservation goal in 1975.
  • 1974 — IBM issued a corporate policy on energy and materials conservation and recycling.
  • 1978 — IBM began a global program to monitor groundwater quality at its manufacturing and development locations and to perform groundwater remediation as needed.
  • 1988 — IBM established its first nonhazardous waste recycling goal.
  • 1989 — IBM set a goal to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and carbon tetrachloride from all its products and manufacturing processes by the end of 1993.
  • 1990 — IBM began its annual corporate environmental reporting which has continued annually since that date.
  • 1991 — IBM established its product stewardship program as a proactive and strategic approach to the environmental design and management of our products.
  • 1991 — IBM began the Chairman’s Environmental Award Program — recognizing achievement and progress in environmental affairs on the part of IBM’s organizations. The award is presented annually by IBM’s chairman.
  • 1992 — IBM became a charter member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR computer program and helped to develop the first ENERGY STAR criteria for personal computers.
  • 1997 — IBM was the first major multinational company to earn a single global registration to the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard.
  • 2000 — IBM established a water conservation goal, which was first focused on the significant use of water in our microelectronics manufacturing operations, then in early 2016 focused on reductions in water withdrawals at IBM locations in water-stressed regions.
  • 2000 — IBM established its first operational carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction goal when we helped the World Wildlife Fund create its Climate Savers program.
  • 2004 — IBM established environmental and social requirements for all IBM suppliers via IBM's Supplier Conduct Principles and supporting audit program.
  • 2010 — IBM eliminated perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in its manufacturing, development and research processes.
  • 2016 — IBM achieved and exceeded its third-generation CO2 emissions reduction goal four years early.
  • 2016 — IBM achieved and exceeded its 2020 renewable electricity goal four years early.

We also apply our expertise, research and technology to develop solutions that enable our clients to conserve natural resources, reduce the environmental impacts associated with their operations, and make more informed decisions that drive improved sustainability. At IBM, environmental protection will always be at our forefront, because we have long believed that what is good for the environment is also good for our business.

Download the 2016 report