Background - 27 April, 2010

Summary 46/100

Home of the “Smarter Planet”, IBM has clearly attached its brand to IT driven energy solutions and services. Despite a much more detailed submission on its range of solutions offerings this round, IBM has fallen slightly behind Cisco, Fujitsu and Ericsson, which are able to more strongly demonstrate and quantify savings and other benefits from their case studies and methodology. IBM’s continued prioritization of investment that drive innovation in the development of tools and services to make oil fields and nuclear power “smart” is concerning. IBM has fallen well off the pace of its peers in terms of its clean energy advocacy, and what advocacy leadership IBM has demonstrated has been cancelled out by its failure to distinguish itself from the anti-science positions against climate policy advocated by business associations of which IBM is a prominent member:


Climate Solutions


Current Savings Calculations


IBM has the broadest mix of the solutions identified in the Smart 2020 Report, and is more often involved in infrastructure scale projects than many brands. However, greater detail is needed to show scalable adoption and measures to drive similar investment, including the sharing of the assumptions used to measure impact. IBM has lead the way on congestion pricing and transportation management, most notably in its work with the City of Stockholm Sweden to reduce congestion. However, IBM is also applying its innovation skills to "green" dirty energy w/Smarter Oil Fields and Smarter Nuclear Power.

Public Metrics


IBM continues to play important role in driving development of metrics to measure infrastructure investment, but not at the same level of detail as Fujitsu or Ericsson.



None claimed

Future Savings Goal


No future savings goal.


Energy Impact


Reduction Target


IBM ranks high for its reported emissions reductions of 40% from 1990 to 2005 against a 1990 base year, and is now working on the second stage goal of 12% by 2012 with a 2005 base year. IBM should set a longer term goal, and having made significant efficiency gains already, it should also set a target for a percentage of renewable energy to ensure that the current growth rate (18% in past year) continues.



IBM scores highly for its comprehensive plan to reduce its emissions, which has produced impressive gains in efficiency. The company has avoided the use of offsets, understanding that offsets actually undermine its ability to contribute to the reduction emissions of its clients. More attention is needed to expand the base of renewable energy percentage to well above the current 11%.

Infrastructure Siting


IBM scores highest in this new category for its transparency and approach to managing its data center footprint with increasing amounts of renewable electricity. Additional priority given to renewable energy access in its siting policy and discrimination against dirty energy sources would earn IBM full marks.

Supply Chain Footprint


IBM scores high for requiring Tier 1 suppliers to report their emissions and set voluntary reduction goals. Publication of more data and the savings results of this request would earn IBM full points.


Political Advocacy




IBM CEO Samual Palmisano continues to highlight the transformational potential of smartgrid and broadband, but does not use his bully pulpit to clearly call for the necessary changes in energy policy to realize it.

Political Policy


IBM continues to fall far behind its peers in supporting the policy changes needed to bring about transformative IT solutions, as its only substantive piece of policy advocacy on climate solutions in the past year appears to be letter to Australian Prime Minister Rudd prior to Copenhagen on the potential of IT energy solutions.

Repetition Bonus


No repetition bonus.

Negative Lobby Penalty


IBM receives negative lobby penalties for failing to distinguish itself from the views and positions of Business Europe and the US Chamber of Commerce. IBM is a member of the Corporate Advisory group of Business Europe, which actively opposes the European Union’s proposed greenhouse gas reduction target of 30% by 2020, and is on the Board of Directors for the US Chamber of Commerce, which has vigorously opposed climate legislation in the U.S. and continues to attack scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming.

IBM's scores to date

Leaderboard Score
Version 1 29
Version 2 43
Version 3 42
Version 4 46