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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.

Supply Chain

In our 100th year, IBM’s supply chain continued its evolution in support of our product and services offerings. With more than 27,000 suppliers in close to 100 countries, social and environmental responsibility remain key imperatives of our corporate responsibility efforts.

During the past year, IBM was active in focusing on social and environmental compliance, driving diverse supplier development, and encouraging U.S.-based small businesses within our own, and others’, supply chains. And we continued to integrate this work throughout the business.

Supplier Spending: $34.7 Billion Total in 2010

2010 Supplier Spending by Category

Dollars in Billions

2010 Supplier Spending by Category
2010 Supplier Spending by IBM Location

Dollars in Billions

2010 Supplier Spending by IBM Location

Social and Environmental Management Systems

With its considerable purchases and the number of suppliers in its global network, IBM is demonstrating its leadership by advancing supply chain social and environmental management systems. In early 2010, IBM’s Global Supply Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer introduced Corporate Responsibility and Environmental Management System requirements to our first-tier suppliers. Those firms with which IBM holds a direct commercial relationship are now required to establish and follow a management system to address their corporate and environmental responsibilities. IBM is among the first large global companies extending this kind of system to its external supply base. As part of this system, our suppliers are now required to:

  • Define, deploy and sustain a management system that addresses corporate responsibility, including supplier conduct and environmental protection.
  • Measure performance and establish voluntary, quantifiable environmental goals.
  • Publicly disclose results associated with these voluntary environmental goals and other environmental aspects of their management systems.

IBM also expects its first-tier suppliers to communicate these same requirements to their own suppliers that perform work on products and services supplied to IBM, thus extending this sphere of influence.