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IBM Helps Retailers ’Go Green’


The IBM (NYSE: IBM) Retail Store Solutions (RSS) group today outlined its Retail Green Initiative, designed to help its retail clients to meet their ecological goals and those of their customers with conservation-oriented technology solutions.

The Retail Green Initiative is focused on educating IBM’s retail clients on the environmentally responsible options available to them. Among other areas, the initiative will help educate them on the value of sustainable shipment packaging and the use of recycled materials.

“IBM has corporate policies of protecting the environment and conserving energy and natural resources dating back to the early 1970s,” said Steven Ladwig, general manager IBM Retail Store Solutions. “Our focus on innovation in retail expands beyond system performance and reliability. We continue to invest in manufacturing and design processes that give our clients the tools they need to help implement their own environmental policies and make it easier for them to identify and select the most environmentally friendly retail solutions available. The goal is to help retailers better position themselves with consumers, who increasingly value companies that are working to minimize their impact on the planet.”

IBM uses state-of-the-art design and manufacturing processes to help extend the life of its retail products, thereby protecting the environment. For example, IBM Point-of-Sale (POS) and self service systems are built to help retailers expand and upgrade for a long life cycle, which can translate into retailers disposing of fewer obsolete products.

In addition, approximately 80 percent of products and features shipped by RSS in 2006 contained some amount of recycled plastic. The IBM worldwide packaging engineering team strives to use materials with recycled content and common shipping methods to help optimize the sustainability of packaging materials.

As part of IBM’s commitment to developing products that reduce consumption of energy, it offers choices for low power consumption processors such as processors and chipsets from VIA Technologies found in IBM’s entry-level SurePOS models.

IBM RSS products also contain no paints in their material finishes, instead using powder coating for metal and impregnated color for plastic to help reduce harmful emissions that may occur in the painting processes.

“The foundation of environmental stewardship IBM established several decades ago continues to bear fruit. Although the savings have been dramatic, the results are not only from cutting costs,” said AMR Research in a 2007 report. “IBM has benefited from employee innovations, in both technology and advanced processes that have not only improved the company’s revenue and profitability, but also contributed to a less polluted and greener world.”

The Retail Green Initiative from IBM RSS builds on IBM’s announcement May 10 of an aggressive plan to invest over $1 billion per year over the next decade in green technologies and services aimed at the data center. The announcement outlined a five-step approach for clients that is designed to dramatically improve energy efficiency:

DIAGNOSE: Evaluate existing facilities -- energy assessment, virtual 3-D power management and thermal analytics.
BUILD: Plan, build or update to an energy efficient data center.
VIRTUALIZE: Virtualize IT infrastructures and special purpose processors.
MANAGE: Seize control with power management software.
COOL: Exploit liquid cooling solutions -- inside and out of the data center.
When combined with the Retail Green Initiative, the above approach can help IBM clients to plan for and achieve a green enterprise.
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