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Letter from IBM Chief Procurement Officer to suppliers on supply chain and environmental responsibilities

February 22, 2010

Dear IBM Supplier:

IBM has expected its suppliers to operate in an environmentally responsible manner for decades. Accordingly, our management system has included various environmental and supply chain social requirements for our suppliers. In addition, in 1998, IBM explicitly encouraged its suppliers to align their own environmental management systems with International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001 and to pursue registration under this international standard. In 2004, IBM published its Supplier Conduct Principles to articulate the company's overall supply chain social and environmental requirements.

These early initiatives and actions - taken well before the present day focus on "green" -- have served IBM and its suppliers well, underscoring how effective environmental management makes good business sense. As we begin a new decade and in recognition of the continually growing imperative for environmental and corporate responsibility across supply chains, I am writing to inform you about some new requirements we are now setting for our suppliers in this important part of business.

Specifically, IBM will now require all of its suppliers to:

Many of you have already been doing this for several years, and you have recognized -- like IBM -- that environmental leadership fosters business efficiency and effectiveness. You have also accepted that environmental responsibility and accountability resides at home, in your own business operations. For others, these requirements may represent a new way of doing business. Nevertheless, we trust you are familiar with the underlying issues since we previously wrote about ISO 14001 and IBM's Supplier Conduct Principles. What may be new, therefore, is taking the next steps to establish a formal management system, measure performance, set goals, and disclose results.

There are certain basic elements that are necessary to put these requirements into action. We have stated them in the attachment below. IBM's own practices are built upon them, yet they are certainly not exclusive or limited in applicability to any one company or any particular industry sector. Although we are now asking you to include these elements in your work, we are not prescribing a uniform set of programs and goals. We realize there is not a "one size fits all" solution. Instead, we ask each supplier to deploy a management system, measure performance, set goals, and disclose results in a way that reflects your company's particular intersections with corporate responsibility and the environment.

Whether these requirements are new to you or not, IBM believes they are important and expects its suppliers to meet them. Questions pertaining to these requirements should be directed to your IBM procurement contact person.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

John Paterson
Vice President, Global Supply and Chief Procurement Officer

Supplier requirements 29KB

22 Feb 10: Let