From the Director, Aaron Zude (October 2008)

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From the Director, Aaron Zude (October 2008)

After many years of working in the high tech industry, I am now focusing on EHS issues from a whole new perspective. As a global trade association, it is imperative that SEMI look at EHS from the 20,000 foot elevation view, and work to facilitate industry-wide initiatives based on your input. The SEMI EHS Division can help to prioritize the issues, add clarity to the critical concerns facing members, and apply resources for responding to the challenges. In short, our role is to proactively help you deal with the toughest issues that may impact your business.

So what are the “Top EHS Issues”? In my four months at SEMI, I’ve been talking with other industry associations, SEMI member companies, and SEMI staff about how we can most effectively help member companies. The result is a list of the “Top 7” EHS issues (not in any particular order) that I think that SEMI should be involved in. Let me know if you think I am “on target” and how you would rank them. If you think that I’m “off target,” please let me know what significant issues I missed.

Then, in upcoming newsletters, I'll share our strategy for responding to these issues.

Top 7 EHS Issues

    1. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or “Sustainability”:

    The general population, regulatory community and investors are expecting that companies conduct business activities today in a manner that not only ensures their economic success but also preserves the earth’s resources and viability for future generations. This requires companies to achieve a level of excellence in EHS performance— as facilitated through creation of a company vision, sustained EHS leadership, and adoption and integration of an EHS management system.

    2. Expectations about Producing “Green” Products:

    Consumers everywhere (businesses as well as the general public) are increasingly demanding choices for “environmentally friendly” products and services.

    3. Climate Change (Global Warming)

    An unprecedented high level of awareness is shared by the general public and regulatory community of the causes and issues created by climate change. The solution driven into most peoples’ minds is that we collectively need to reduce our carbon footprint. I believe that this will predominantly be achieved through reduction in use and emissions of CO2 and other global warming gases, reduction in energy use (less need for coal-fired power plants), and development of alternative and renewable energy sources.

    4. Worldwide Increase in Chemical Regulation & Control:

    There is a global trend towards stricter regulation and control of chemicals as formulations, and in products. Such control may include registration and restriction of import and use (such as REACH and RoHS regulations), or elimination through prohibition (such as in PFOS).

    5. Chemical Information Management and Communication across the Supply Chain (and Beyond):

    The concept of “Right to Know” regarding the toxicity and environmental harm caused by chemicals, and the obligation of manufacturers to provide clear and comprehensive information to the public and across the supply chain, has expanded world-wide.

    6. Occupational Safety & Health:

    Work-related accidents and fatalities continue to occur despite our best efforts. Electrical safety and arc flash protection have been topics of concern for a while. Nanomaterial safety issues are emerging, and systems for detection, delivery control and emissions abatement of novel processing materials continue to create challenges.

    7. Growth of the Photovoltaic (PV) Manufacturing Industry

    As the PV manufacturing industry expands, and novel processes and manufacturing techniques and equipment are brought on line, there is a logarithmic expansion of associated EHS issues. From Silane safety— to equipment design, installation and commissioning— to abatement and control of emissions, many EHS issues that were previously resolved by the semiconductor industry are resurfacing at PV manufacturers.

Posted: Oct 10, 2008

Update: See Aaron Zude’s Follow-up Article in the December 2008 EHS Advantage Newsletter where he discusses “A Comprehensive Supply Chain Sustainability Initiative”.