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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.

Industry Collaboration

Throughout 2010, IBM increased its involvement with the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). Founded in 2004, the EICC continues its mission to improve the social and environmental standing of the sector by working collaboratively to implement its code of conduct throughout the global supply chain—from raw materials to components to manufacturing to final products and service. At year-end, the EICC consisted of more than 60 international companies in the electronics, software, logistics and communications industries. In 2010, IBM was re-elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors, and expanded its representation in a number of working groups. The following are notable EICC accomplishments in 2010:

  • Grew membership by more than a third, attracting additional firms in the raw material, logistics, contract manufacturing and product brands.
  • Expanded the Validated Audit Program to cover a larger number of developing market countries.
  • Commissioned a report on water resources in China.
  • Refined its carbon reporting system for supply chains.
  • Developed and deployed analytical tools for use in identifying conflict minerals in the supply chain.

Center of Excellence for Product Environmental Compliance

IBM has a single group called the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Product Environmental Compliance, with end-to-end responsibility for meeting product-related government environmental requirements. The CoE’s mission includes the development of strategy, processes, deployment plans, research and development of alternate materials and technologies, education and training materials. The CoE also is active in several industry and regulatory bodies around the world.