IBM knows eco

IBM knows eco

14 May, 2011
From 1971 till now
Being green is nothing new for the big blue

IBM’s first environmental policy was put into place way back in 1971, at a time when such policies were new, novel and nowhere near standard practice. In the past 39 years, IBM’s environmental commitment has grown substantially into a company-wide environmental management system. The extent of IBM’s environmental considerations now include more than just tue operations of the company itself; IBM has begun to take into account the complete product life-cycle and require their suppliers to account for their environmental impacts. Placing environmental sustainability firmly front and centre in their purchasing policy allows IBM to use its considerable industry influence for positive change.
In 1991, the company consolidated and published its environmental policies and began to take deliberate, recorded corporate responsibility for their green credentials. The following year they were awarded the Presidential Medal for Environmental Management and Conservation, by the first President Bush. IBM has frequently been the first on the scene in new environmental efforts. It was the first company to take in the efforts to reduce PFC’s (perfluorochemicals) in 1998, and in 2000 launched the first American PC recycling programme. Their IntelliStation E Pro was the first computer to be made with 100% recycled resin for all of its major plastic parts. The company has also developed a way of repurposing silicon wafers into solar panels, though it is unclear how many of the estimated 3 million thrown out annually will actually be recycled.
IBM participates in a large number of voluntary environmental schemes and rating programmes, such as the American ‘ENERGYSTAR’ programme where energy consumption and thermal output are measured and products must use a minimum of 25% less energy than the average of other products on the market. This year, IBM had the first four processor systems to qualify for Energystar certification. IBM is also one of the many companies to use ISO 14001 registrations and audits to ensure environmental compliance with the laws of the countries it operates within.
The green efforts don’t just take place on a large corporate level, either. IBM staff have major motivation to think about how to reduce their company’s environmental impact. A reward scheme of up to USD50,000 is available to individual employees, as recognition of environmental achievement. The company is good for its word, too; a total of USD2.07 million has been paid in such awards since 1991.
The nature of the technology business requires a lot of future-gazing to stay ahead of competition. Perhaps this lean toward long-term vision and innovation has allowed IBM to have heightened awareness of the importance of environmental responsibility, and given them the foresight to “go green” before many other corporations and industries hopped on the train. IBM has long recognized that reducing energy and resources means cost savings and positive PR , which is always good for business.
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By: Ecozine Staff


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