SEMI Global Care Event Features Sony’s “Road to ZERO” and Sustainable Tech Finalists

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SEMI Global Care Event Features Sony’s “Road to ZERO” and Sustainable Tech Finalists

Achieving sustainability is an important goal for leading companies today. At the SEMICON West 2010 Global Care luncheon on July 13, Mary Puma, chairman and CEO of Axcelis Technologies, was the master of ceremonies as SEMI announced the five finalists for the Sustainable Technologies Award. The luncheon also featured Mark Small, Sony VP of Environment Safety and Health, who detailed Sony Electronics vision of “the Road to ZERO”— how Sony is striving to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 2050.

Sustainable Technologies Award Finalists

The annual SEMI Sustainable Technologies Award recognizes the efforts of SEMICON West exhibitors who have developed and introduced equipment, materials or services into the marketplace in the last three years that contribute to sustainable improvement of the environment. The five finalists include:

Applied iSYS

  • Applied Materials, Inc. for iSYS™, a subfab system that synchronizes the operation of vacuum pumping and abatement technologies from 10 major suppliers with the wafer processing tool
  • Edwards Ltd. for eZenith, an integrated vacuum and abatement system resulting in up to 10 percent power reduction on vacuum pumps and 50 percent lower fuel for gas abatement
  • Pall Corp. for its Water Reclaim Systems, which reclaims water from silicon processing operations, resulting in 90 percent of spent process water recovered
  • Tokyo Electron Ltd. for EXPEDIUS+, an intermittent open and close technology for de-ionized water (DIW) flow valve, application for idling mode, and built-in scrubber
  • Verigy Ltd. for its V93000 Test Platform, which conforms to virtually all guidelines for low environmental impact

While all of these companies reinforce the industry’s commitment to the environment, Applied Materials won the award this year for its iSYS Integrated Subfab System.

The Road to ZERO: Sony Reaches for No Footprint

Sony announced in April 2010 that its global environmental goal was to achieve a zero environmental footprint throughout the lifecycle of its products and business activities. Called “the Road to ZERO,” Mark Small emphasized that Sony’s goal is to achieve a zero environmental footprint by 2050, with mid-range targets for 2015.

This is a tall order, but Small believes that it’s possible by focusing on four environmental perspectives (conserving resources, controlling chemical substances, curbing climate change, and promoting biodiversity) and by addressing the entire product life cycle: R&D, product design, procurement, operations, distribution, and “take back and recycling.”

Innovation for the Next Generation: Sony Global 2015 Goals

Sony plans on meeting its global 2015 goals by: reducing the mass of its products by 10 percent (from 2008); reducing waste generation by 50 percent (from 2000); improving waste recycling rate world-wide by 99 percent; reducing water consumption by 30 percent (from 2000); and reducing energy consumption of products by 30 percent (from 2008).

Sony is vigilant about what goes into products and conducts audits to ensure that suppliers and vendors are also adhering to sustainability practices. The Green Partner program was implemented in 2003 and now has 3,700 companies worldwide. The program aims to ensure that parts used in Sony’s manufacturing process do not contain globally banned substances. The certification process for direct material suppliers involves supplier audits, signing of the Green Partner Agreement, and submission of various documents to meet Sony Technical Standard SS-00259. The Green Partner certification is valid for two years.

Below: The first chart shows vendor compliance dramatically improving from 2004 to 2009. In the second chart (a Green Peace environmental analysis), Sony ranked the highest for electronic companies.

Sony’s Recycling Programs

e-Recycle Drop Box

“Sony Style” is a trade-in program for many brands of eligible products. The consumer receives an offer for the product’s trade-in value and gets a Sony Style gift card for the value of the trade in: laptops, cameras camcorders, MP3 players, game systems, and mobile phones.

Sony GreenFill e-Recycle Program is a retailer partnership program about easy recycling with all brands accepted for small items. In addition, Sony also focuses on consumer recycling responsibly.

In September 2007, Sony launched a major consumer recycling program with drop-off locations nationwide. Any product that is Sony-branded is recycled at no charge. So far, nearly 30 million pounds of Sony products have been recycled.

Sustainability is Good Business

"Sustainability is the apple pie and motherhood of the 21st century," Small said. He believes that for better or for worse, perception is reality, and since no one is against sustainability, companies need to get involved and make it happen. However, he reminds us that “If it does not make economic sense, then it is not sustainable.”

Companies can make sustainability smart business. For more information on SEMI and sustainability, please contact Sanjay Baliga at sbaliga@semi.org.

July 13, 2010