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Chairman’s Letter

A commitment to corporate responsibility pervades IBM, from new hires to the chairman’s office. In this year’s letter, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano describes IBM’s long-term approach to corporate responsibility, and the IBMers that make it possible.

IBM’s Approach

Through the years, IBM has consistently expanded the definition of corporate citizenship, pushing the boundaries of what is required to be considered a responsible enterprise. In this section of IBM’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find more detail on our approach to corporate responsibility, and some examples of how that approach manifested itself during the past year.


At IBM we engage with communities around the world by offering our technology, services and expertise to help solve some of the world’s most complex problems. While the monetary value of these contributions is great, we eschew checkbook philanthropy whenever possible. We believe that this approach is the most efficient, effective and sustainable way to practice good corporate citizenship. And we believe it is helping to make the world work better. In this section of IBM’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find examples of the contributions IBM made to the global community this past year.

The IBMer

For the last 100 years, IBM has pioneered innovative approaches to hiring, managing and retaining our work force. From some of the earliest thinking on work force diversity to progressive programs for employee well-being and leadership development, this ongoing commitment to our employees is critical to the success of IBM and IBMers. And as the nature of our business changes, we will continue to apply the same innovation and creativity we use to develop products and services to our relationship with employees. In this section of IBM’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find examples of the commitments IBM made to its work force this past year.


IBM has long maintained an unwavering commitment to environmental protection, which was formalized by a corporate environmental policy in 1971. The policy calls for IBM to be an environmental leader across all of our business activities, from our research, operations and products to the services and solutions we provide our clients to help them be more protective of the environment. Download this section of the report (2.2MB)

Supply Chain

IBM manages a supply chain of more than 27,000 suppliers in nearly 100 different countries. We understand that managing a supply chain of this size carries with it considerable social responsibility. Even so, we are continually expanding the definition of what it means to run a responsible supply chain, challenging ourselves and our suppliers to reach ever higher standards of social and environmental compliance. In this section of IBM’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find examples of IBM’s supply chain responsibility efforts over the past year.

Ethics and Integrity

Both the size and nature of IBM’s business necessitate that it adhere to the highest standards of conduct. IBM employs more than 400,000 employees, and provides services and technology that support businesses, governments, schools, hospitals and highways. As such, integrity, transparency, privacy and risk management are all crucial parts of our business, and our commitment to making the world work better. In this section of IBM’s 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find examples of how IBM is setting the modern standard for business ethics.

A Commitment to Environmental Leadership

IBM’s longstanding commitment to environmental leadership arises from two key aspects of its business:

  • The intersection of the company’s operations and products with the environment, and
  • The enabling aspects of IBM’s innovation, technology and expertise.

IBM’s operations can affect the environment in a number of ways. For example, the chemicals needed for research, development and manufacturing must be properly managed from selection and purchase through storage, use and disposal. The company’s data center operations are generally energy-intensive, and some of its manufacturing processes use a considerable amount of energy, water or both. IBM continually looks for ways to reduce consumption of these and other resources.

IBM designs its products to be energy-efficient, utilize environmentally preferable materials, and be capable of being reused, recycled or disposed of safely at the end of their useful lives. And as IBM incorporates more purchased parts and components into its products, the company’s requirements for its suppliers’ overall environmental responsibility and the environmental attributes of the goods those suppliers provide to IBM are important as well.

IBM applies its own innovative technology to develop solutions that can help our company and our clients be more efficient and protective of the environment. We also bring that technology to help the world discover leading edge solutions to some of the world’s most demanding scientific and environmental problems.

This section of IBM’s Corporate Responsibility Report describes IBM’s programs and performance in the following environmental areas:

Global Governance and Management System
Global Environmental Management System
Stakeholder Engagement
Voluntary Partnerships and Initiatives
Environmental Investment and Return
Process Stewardship
Environmentally Preferable Substances and Materials
Pollution Prevention
Hazardous Waste
Nonhazardous Waste
Chemical Use and Management
Water Conservation
Product Stewardship
Driving Product Design
Managing Compliance Data
Product Stewardship Goals and Performance
Product Energy Efficiency
Product Recycling and Reuse
Product Packaging
Product Safety
Energy and Climate Programs
A Five-Part Strategy
Conserving Energy
CO2 Emissions Reduction
PFC Emissions Reduction
Renewable Energy
Voluntary Climate Partnerships
Transportation and Logistics Initiatives
Energy and Climate Protection in the Supply Chain
Audits and Compliance
Accidental Releases
Fines and Penalties
Awards and Recognition
Internal Recognition
External Recognition
Summary of IBM Environmental Performance