SEMI Environment, Health and Safety Executive Meeting Highlights

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SEMI EHS Executive Meeting Highlights

Intel’s EHS Focus on Reducing Absolute Environmental Footprint Needs Industry-Wide Support

At the SEMI EHS Executive luncheon held at SEMICON West on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, Mary Puma, the CEO and chairman of Axcelis Technologies and the newly-appointed chairman of the SEMI EHS Executive Committee highlighted the EHS challenges facing the semiconductor industry. The new and constantly evolving legislative environments, including REACH and RoHS present numerous challenges, she said, and SEMI is providing great member value by facilitating EHS knowledge sharing, developing rational approaches to EHS proposals, and participating in governmental discussions concerning the needs of the semiconductor industry.

Puma then 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 assembled group of EHS executives and corporate leaders assembled for the presentation: Intel plans its products out years in advance, he said, and they are 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, a new addition to the SEMI EHS team offered the observation that internalizing EHS awareness and activities was somewhat akin to building for the future. “Even if you’re in your later years,” Zude observed, “you should still be concerned about making good choices for future generations. The industry needs the same sense of a long-term perspective, and even if it seems to cost today, the benefits will be there later.”