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IBM Addressing Sustainability of 30,000 Suppliers

ZpicIBM has a new program to address sustainability and environmental aspects of its nearly 30,000-member-strong supply chain.

The program covers suppliers in 90 nations, according to IBM’s Smarter Planet blog.

Starting this year, IBM is asking each of its suppliers to define an environmental management system suitable to their particular business operations, said Wayne Balta, IBM’s vice president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety.

“We’re asking them to establish voluntary environmental goals and measure performance for at least three topics applicable to virtually all businesses: energy conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste management/recycling,” Balta said. “In addition, we’re asking them to publicly disclose their results.”

IBM also will ask suppliers that the requirements be “cascaded down” to any of their suppliers who perform work that is “material to what is ultimately supplied to IBM.”

There will not be a blanket, one-size-fits-all requirement, however, and suppliers will not be publicly graded.

IBM is seeking for chemicals to be properly managed from inception through final use and disposal.

IBM also seeks for products and components to be designed to maximize life-cycle efficiency.

“Take the electronics industry, which supplies IBM with components for our servers,” Balta said. “As an example, we want them to use environmentally preferable materials. However, that doesn’t happen overnight, and a supplier must put a system in place to phase out a particular material or manufacturing process.”

In other news, IBM has opened a $30 million manufacturing facility in

Poughkeepsie, which will produce IBM’s next line of System z mainframe computers and high-end Power Systems servers.

Spokeswoman Laurie Friedman said the facility features several energy saving processes, including:

– A closed loop system that circulates chilled water throughout the facility for air conditioning, systems cooling and other functions.

– A chilled water cooling capacity of 1,700 tons — constantly circulating through pipes, air conditioning, servers and cooling sources. The localized system cooling uses IBM’s “Cool Blue” Rear Door Heat eXchangers, which feature a passive water-cooled door which mounts to the back of computer equipment, cooling exhaust air before it re-enters the data center operating environment.

– Advanced temperature control and lighting, such as high-efficiency fluorescent lighting and occupancy sensors, to further reduce energy consumption.

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