By Wayne Balta
A quarter century ago, IBM became one of the first corporations to voluntarily issue a corporate environmental report and we’ve done so every year since, accumulating some meaningful results. Since 1990, we’ve collected and processed more than two billion pounds of end-of-life IT products worldwide and have conserved 6.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy while avoiding 4.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Our commitment to environmental affairs is supported by our global environmental management system, which ensures the company remains vigilant in protecting the environment across all operations worldwide.
This week, we released our 25th annual report, detailing how we’ve lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 6.1%, increased our use of renewable energy by 17.9%, and other such achievements including the following:
- Nearly 97% of the end-of-life products IBM collected for processing during 2014 were reused, resold or recycled;
- We sent 86% of the nonhazardous waste it generated worldwide in 2014 to be recycled;
- We purchased recycled plastics for use in products such that 12.1% of purchased plastic by weight were recycled resins.
IBM continues to contribute to the sustainability of the planet through innovations with clients and partners.
One recent example is the Jefferson Project at Lake George, an ambitious research project to deploy big data and analytics technology to manage and protect a body of fresh water and create a blueprint to preserve important lakes, rivers and other bodies of fresh water around the globe.
Another example involves the government of Kerela, India, which is using IBM analytics and mobile technology to monitor and manage water distribution to 3.3 million people.
Our 2014 report includes additional highlights of new innovations such as data driven agricultural solutions, enterprise-wide analytics for energy companies, and the use of cognitive computing systems to analyze pollutant discharges.
We hope that our innovations and long-standing commitment to the environment not only positively affect society, but inspire others follow suit.