IBM Demands Smaller Supply Chain Footprint

IBM Demands Smaller Supply Chain Footprint

IBM sign - http://www.flickr.com/photos/-heinecke-/ / CC BY 2.0

IBM's 28,000 suppliers will need to start tracking, reporting and reducing their environmental impacts, reports The New York Times.

The company's suppliers, spread across 90 countries, will need to monitor their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and recycling with data management systems, and then turn around and ask their subcontractors to track their own performance as well.

IBM is not setting any specific reduction targets, but suppliers will need to set goals on those main topics and publicly show their progress.

John Patterson, IBM's global supply vice president and chief procurement officer, told The New York Times' Green Inc. blog, “We will be amongst the first, if not the first, with these broad-based markers on our supply base and we're going to have to spend an appropriate amount of time and money to help our suppliers do what we're asking them to do." IBM buyers and procurement engineers will be the main contacts working with suppliers on the project.

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IBM's new initiative is similar to Walmart's broad supplier-focused efforts like its Packaging Scorecard, Sustainability Index (for rating individual products), and its latest push to have suppliers cut 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of product lifecycles and supply chains by 2015.

Just as suppliers that rate subpar on any of Walmart's assessments might no longer see their products on store shelves, IBM suppliers that perform poorly might find themselves cut out of the company's supply chain.

“Ultimately, if a supplier cannot be compliant with requirements on the environment and sustainability, we'll stop doing business with them,” Patterson told Green Inc.

IBM sign - http://www.flickr.com/photos/-heinecke-/ / CC BY 2.0