Intel’s EHS Focus: to Reduce Absolute Environmental Footprint
What EHS challenges are facing our industry? Mary Puma, CEO and Chairman of Axcelis Technologies, talked about the challenges of REACH and RoHS at the SEMI EHS Global Care luncheon (SEMICON West, July 15). Then, as the new chairman of the SEMI EHS Executive Committee, Puma introduced guest speaker Brian Krzanich, VP of Intel, who described the advancements made by Intel in EHS performance over the last several years.
The driving force behind the efforts, said Krzanich, was Intel’s desire not only to reduce their environmental impact on a normalized scale, but to reduce the company’s overall footprint on an absolute scale even as it grows. Krzanich began his presentation by noting the different approaches taken over time in considering EHS efforts. The inauspicious beginnings in the early 1980s focused on a mindset of “keep us out of jail,” but as the impacts and understanding of EHS grew, the realization that EHS efforts can actually save money, keep employees healthy, and provide increased brand also grew.
The phases of EHS awareness kept growing, according to Krzanich, and EHS moved from a priority, to a core value, to an instinct. This internalizing of EHS principles and awareness has led Intel to adopt a wide-ranging course of EHS improvements, including building LEED-certified fabs (Fab 32, under construction in Ocotillo, Arizona) and an Intel development center in Israel. Intel has also become the largest purchaser of “green power” in the United States, according to Krzanich, and he made an important distinction between “green power” and carbon offsets. “Intel is more interested in green power, where we pay a premium for the power but that premium is invested in more green power projects. The mere purchase of carbon offsets,” Krzanich said, “is not improving the situation at all.”
Krzanich then laid down a significant challenge to the group of EHS executives and corporate leaders assembled for the presentation: Intel plans its products out years in advance, he said, and it is now planning how to build those products within the guideline of reduced absolute environmental impact. “Intel cannot do this alone,” said Krzanich, “but together with the equipment and materials suppliers we can achieve these goals, make the world better off, and improve products and profits.”
Wrapping up the presentation, SEMI Senior Director of EHS Aaron Zude observed that current efforts to preserve the earth’s environment and resources for future generations do not necessarily present technological challenges, but rather ethical ones. The question is not so much “what can we do?”, but rather “what should we do?” “For example”, Zude said, “If you are an older person, should you vote to approve a local tax increase for elementary school improvements? How much of your current wealth should you forgo in order to make good choices for future generations? The industry needs the same sense of a long-term perspective when addressing global EHS concerns, even if there are costs today that are being borne primarily for the benefit of future generations.”