IBM Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility is an umbrella term for company programs that are aimed at evaluating the effects the corporation’s activities have on environmental health and general social well-being. These programs usually also address the need for damage prevention and control and are a representation of the company’s responsibility on the matters.

Corporate Social Responsibility traditionally refers to corporate actions that do not limit themselves to those required by environmental regulations and go beyond them. Most often they take the form of expenses that don’t carry any financial profits for the company and are investments towards positive social and environmental change (“Corporate Social Responsibility Definition” par.1-2).

One of the ways how a corporation can accomplish such change is by reorganizing and transforming its operations towards sustainable development. Sustainable development strives to accomplish existing economic and production goals, without depleting exhaustible resources and undermining the environment. The principal Sustainable Development Goals have been established by the United Nations in September of 2015, and include things like elimination of poverty and hunger, urgent actions to stop artificial climate change and its consequences, preservation, and protection of biotic systems, work towards a sustainable society with a minimal carbon imprint, with the ultimate goal being zero emotions (“Sustainable Development Goals” par.1).

As part of the regulations and Corporate Social Responsibility, many companies are supporting initiatives that are designed to meet these goals, such as those which aim to reduce waste, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, use renewable energy resources instead of fossil fuel, etc.

IBM has always aimed to be environmentally conscious and prided itself on its corporate social responsibility. Their general environmental management policy since the 1960s has been summed up by Tim Mann, the Manager of Environmental Product & Process Stewardship of IBM’s Corporate Environmental Affairs. He explained that it easy both simpler and more effective for a company to work towards higher standards of its own volition, rather than be forced into it by regulations.

The company achieved this by establishing the Environmental Engineering Team, which worked to develop and maintain what would become the Environmental Management System. It also established the Process and Product Environmental Management Systems, which assessed the company’s resource requirements, the materials that were used, the total harmful discharges, and the need for policies on waste management and emissions monitoring.

Overall, the company has always rushed to address any environmental issue is discovered. The company’s efforts to stay ahead of environmental regulations and policies showed great dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility. This is particularly apparent in the company management’s attitude first to the Environmental Engineering Team, and then to the Corporate Environmental Affairs team.

This team was founded in 1990, and consisted of the company’s principal energy, environmental and legal experts, who were committed to maintaining the IBM’s business as safe for the employees, the environment, and the communities, and jointly coordinated various “green” initiatives. Even at the most difficult times for the business, this department remained relevant even when others were laid off or transformed.

Through the Corporate Environmental affairs, the company launched programs aimed at increasing the public trust towards the company, providing transparency about its environmental impact, and improving communications and strategies for problem communication. In 2009 the corporation was still concerned with the state of environmental affairs and put effort into keeping the Environmental Management System effective through innovation and effective monitoring by line management.

The EMS practices and policies permeated most of the company’s programs and activities and were also responsible for measuring the result of these activities by gathering data and providing analysis. They created the basic requirements for the quality of the products and services, and their environmental friendliness, which was the same for all IBM facilities around the globe. This meant that the company strove to maintain above average results even in the face of less strict local country policies, and would raise the bar in the countries where it was required, solidifying its Corporate Social Responsibility.

In order to achieve sustainable development, the company developed a set of goals, which included climate protection, pollution, and waste reduction and prevention, where technology permitted, all heralded by an efficient environmental management system.

Again, the company showed dedication to sustainable development by assessing the capabilities of the company to achieve these goals. This was done despite lack of outside pressure by the governments and protests groups, and in the face of environmentally friendly programs, like energy conservation, competing for finances with IBMs financially profitable projects, which also required investments. This meticulousness allowed the company to achieve results like 3.5% of annual energy savings.

While maintaining a strong environmental stance itself, IBM also demanded the same level of dedication and responsibility from its partner firms, refusing cooperation with suppliers who lacked the commitment to manage environmentally sensitive operations properly. The suppliers’ accountability was once again evaluated by CEA.

In conclusion, we can see that IBM is very dedicated both to the realization the corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, and achieves these goals through environmental management that is constantly evolving to keep up with new data, regulations, and customer demands.

Works Cited

Corporate Social Responsibility Definition.Investopedia. 2007. Web.

“Sustainable Development Goals.” United Nations. 2015. Web.