Walking the Walk: Intel's Journey to Environmental Excellence

Walking the Walk: Intel’s Journey to Environmental Excellence

This year’s Global Care EHS Executive Lunch held on Tuesday July 10, at SEMICON West 2012 in San Francisco, featured Tim Hendry, vice president, TMG, director of fab materials at Intel Corporation. Hendry detailed Intel’s environmental vision for the future of “Walking the Walk: Intel’s journey towards our 2020 EHS Vision”

Intel set goals in 2008 to reduce its environmental impact in emissions, solid waste recycling, energy use, product energy efficiency, water and chemical waste by 2012. With success in all areas, Intel now looks forward this year and has set milestone goals to achieve by 2020 and Hendry highlights the specific goals and methodology established.

Goals and Challenges faced in Sustainability for Year 2020:

The company aims to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, on a per chip basis from 2010 levels. In regards to solid waste, Intel’s 2020 goal is to achieve a 90 percent recycle rate. Hendry points out that some of Intel’s success in recycling rate efficiency can be attributed to simplicity; the company makes it easy by having “very defined bins on where everything should go” and ensuring recyclables are well labeled with proper disposal instructions.

Hendry presents "Intel's Vision" at the Luncheon
Hendry presents "Intel's Vision at the Luncheon

One of the biggest goals Intel has set for itself is in chemical waste, aiming to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2020. Hendry believes this will be challenging, due to the increasing usage of different chemicals, but shares a positive outlook. “I need to design new ways to purify and recycle, that I don’t know how to do today.” The company is developing innovative methods to achieve this goal, by looking for ways to recycle or extract productive uses out of the waste. Techniques include recycling back to the supplier, reprocessing as a fuel component and overall seeking opportunities to recycle the chemical waste back into another input. 

As Intel grows and builds more infrastructure it is difficult to decrease energy use. “There isn’t a silver bullet; it is a whole lot of little things that add up.” Hendry explains that Intel has put in a great deal of effort to make factories more efficient, is more intelligent with heating and cooling usage, and in building designs. Intel plans to further accelerate additional energy savings, by achieving a savings of 1.4 billion kWh by 2015. Water reduction is another challenging aspect; there is a certain level a facility must use as it is a key part of operations and Intel upholds very stringent water quality regulations. However, the company’s 2020 goal is to reduce water use by 10 percent, on a per chip basis below 2010 levels.  

Transparency to the Community:

Attendees from different companies sat toegther and shared their thoughts
Attendees from different companies sat together and shared their thoughts

 

Hendry highlights Intel’s corporate slogan “Continuing our commitment to the highest performance in all we do— from product innovation to corporate responsibility — is good business;” and explains how the company embodies its slogan by practicing transparency through its business endeavors and maintaining a commitment to environmental responsibility. He believes this transparency helps the community better understand and appreciate what Intel does beyond its basic business practices. Through “Explore Intel,” users online can access real time recycling, energy and other environmental information from each production facility.

 

Environmental goals go far beyond what is required by law

Hendry sees the environmental impact of business beyond what Intel directly engages in, “manage everything how it comes in and I have to manage how everything gets out.” Intel goes beyond the scope of the law and is continuously looking forward. “Be ahead of the game” Hendry states, for example when researching new materials for production Intel factors in future sustainability and regulation. The company seeks to use the most environmentally friendly components available, and avoid substances that may have to be extrapolated from future production whenever possible.

August 7, 2012