Keywords: corporate responsibility, environmental management systems, EMS, IBM, global SCM, supply chain management, supplier requirements, environmental protection
IBM's environmental management system supplier requirements: corporate responsibility performance or deviation?
This case study focuses on IBM's systematic approach to require its suppliers throughout its global supply chain to incorporate a 'corporate responsibility and environmental management system'. The objective of this systematic approach is to establish capability of its supply chain and manage their own intersections with their employees, society and the environment effectively and efficiently. Some of IBM's suppliers already incorporated an environmental management consistent with IBM's requirements. However, many suppliers did not. While some suppliers might argue that implementing a new management system could increase operating costs, other suppliers may suggest that effective environmental management provides financial benefits through operational efficiencies, cost avoidance, and other opportunities. IBM is, itself, an example. Emphasising this situation, the case study brings forward the questions, 'Why would suppliers want to incorporate a formal management system? What are the advantages, strategic challenges and benefits of developing, communicating, and implementing the new management system, etc?' Data for this case were collected from primary and secondary sources, which ensure that IBM is vigilant in protecting the environment across all of its operations worldwide. Findings in this case also reveal other issues that may influence the company and its suppliers' efforts.