Sustainability HIgashi Article

The Next Challenge in EHS: Environmental Conservation

By Tetsuro Higashi, Chairman and CEO, Tokyo Electron, Ltd

Tokyo Electron, Limited has always placed a high priority on environmental conservation and the health and safety of our employees, our customers, the employees of our partner companies, and local communities. As many of you know, Akira Inoue, a past president of Tokyo Electron, was instrumental in defining our vision of being an environmentally responsible manufacturer, and we continue to place great emphasis on our environmental, health and safety activities.

As a member of the semiconductor and LCD industries, Tokyo Electron is expected to continually respond to concerns for the environment and for people’s health and safety. We have incorporated the best practices of the industry into our manufacturing processes, and we are always looking for ways to improve how we design, build and support products for our customers.

However, there is a limit to what a single company can accomplish in this endeavor, and therefore the co-operation of the entire semiconductor and LCD industries–that is, the entire supply chain–is essential. Product safety cannot be achieved without the use of safe parts and materials. In order to manufacture environmentally benign products, appropriate materials must be selected, and environmental considerations must be taken in the manufacture of parts. In parts production, manufacturing equipment must incorporate energy-saving features, and parts must be structurally designed for easy disassembly and sorting for more effective recycling. Also, proper and safe use of gases and chemicals, and safe control of emissions are the essence for our environmental conservation and the sustainability of our world society and the earth. For such purposes, Tokyo Electron spent a great amount of time and effort working with SEMI and the industry in setting and revising EHS guidelines such as S2 on semiconductor manufacturing equipment, S13 on safety manuals, S16 on end of life of equipment, S24 on multi-employer work area, and many more. We also aggressively support and participate in SEMI’s regulatory monitoring program that greatly helps our entire industry and its supply chain to comply with international and regional EHS regulations such as European CE Marking and China RoHS.

A major advantage of a membership organization like SEMI is that we can work with SEMI to help define the issues facing us all and standardize the appropriate responses for an entire industry. With the SEMI neutral standing, the best decisions for all partners– from supplier to customer and even from regulators to ordinary citizens–will be made, and we will all reap the benefits of our collective intelligence and innovation in addressing environmental, health and safety issues. This is true around the world, as SEMI’s membership is truly global. By enabling SEMI members from all regions to participate, we can achieve a consistency of thought and purpose that helps us guide the best solutions around the world.

Many companies around the world use Tokyo Electron products, and therefore we attribute our business success to the continued support of our partner companies. The health and safety of the employees of our partner companies are very important to us. Without safeguards in these areas, we could not improve the reliability of parts and materials or ensure stable product supply, nor could we maintain equipment safety and reliability, shorten delivery time, or reduce facility startup and maintenance time.

Tokyo Electron is determined to continue actively addressing environmental, health and safety issues. We are now actively pursuing energy conservation as a major factor in improving our environmental awareness and performance. We are depending on SEMI to help define the appropriate standards, to align the appropriate industry resources, and to provide an arena in which we can all agree on the best approaches to address this issue for the entire semiconductor and flat panel manufacturing supply chain. Tokyo Electron actively participated in the first SEMI standard development in this area as the global task force leader that initially resulted in SEMI standard S23 that is now widely used in our industry to measure energy consumption of equipment to promote energy conservation in semiconductor manufacturing. We are also supporting an annual environmental forum organized by SEMI and JEITA at SEMICON Japan to facilitate industry wide discussion. There can be great energy and cost savings today, and we can perhaps make the world a better place for our children and their children.

SEMI honors our past president every year by presenting the Akira Inoue Award, recognizing significant achievement in improving environment, health and safety in our industry. I would like to invite all of you to make a commitment now to work within the SEMI framework as we overcome new challenges in EHS; this will honor the memory of Mr. Inoue and also will honor our descendents by making intelligent, well-informed decisions about the environment today.