Chip Makers Aim to Reduce GHG Emissions from Products, Operations

by | Aug 16, 2010

Integrated circuit manufacturers NXP Semiconductors and Toshiba are both working to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their products and their business operations, according to their recent corporate social responsibility reports.

NXP Semiconductors has met its goal to reduce perfluorocompounds (PFC) emissions 10 percent by 2010 in the U.S., and more than 70 percent of its products are now classified as “Dark Green,” which means they are free of halogenated flame retardants, according to the company’s sustainability report for 2009.

In addition, NXP’s High Performance Mixed Signal technologies are used in smart meters that help consumers save energy, as well as energy-saving lighting technologies. The company’s semiconductors also are used in advanced traffic management systems that reduce traffic congestion, enable the shift to hybrid and electric vehicles, and help drivers optimize fuel efficiency.

Here are some highlights from NXP’s report.

In 2008, NXP introduced a new key performance indicator (KPI) for design and development, called the Green Design Indicator, to mark products that meet its EcoDesign qualifications and support its Green Focus Areas. In 2009, the company put the measurement system in place and expects to have the first results in the next report.

NXP’s direct GHG emissions from the use of fossil fuels have dropped, in absolute terms, by 36 percent since 2006, which the company attributes to its redesign activities and use of more efficient technologies that require less fossil fuel.

In 2009, approximately 93 percent of its direct GHG emissions came from PFC emissions.

On a normalized basis per square meter of silicon produced, NXP’s PFC emissions decreased by 8 percent compared to 2008. On a “per transistor” or “per function” basis, the normalized emissions were lower, at less than 25 percent of the 1995 numbers.

NXP’s target worldwide is to lower its PFC emissions below 400 kilotons of CO2 equivalents by 2010, and at the same time meet the targets of its two voluntary agreements — the Memorandum of Understanding in the U.S. and the Memorandum of Agreement in Europe to voluntarily reduce PFC emissions 10 percent by 2010 compared to the 1995 baseline.

In 2009, NXP’s PFC emissions were below 400 kilotons of CO2 equivalents, which the company attributes partly to lower production volumes and the global economic slowdown. The company met its goal in the U.S. and is close to meeting its goal in Europe.

NXP estimates that its indirect emissions for 2009 are between 550 and 600 kilotons, which is about 50 percent more than its direct emissions.

NXP also has a goal to reduce energy consumption by 3 percent (absolute) in 2010, compared to the 2006 baseline. The company says it has exceeded its 2010 target, achieving a 19 percent absolute reduction in its total energy use as compared

to the 2006 baseline. The savings came from several areas, including energy-savings programs and efficiency projects at its facilities, the restructuring of its manufacturing operations, and the significant drop in manufacturing output during the during the second half of 2008 and the early part of 2009.

NXP’s electricity consumption in 2009 decreased by 16 percent compared to the 2006 baseline. The company’s consumption of natural gas and other fossil fuels also decreased in 2009, down by 19 percent compared to 2006.

In 2009, NXP delivered 62 percent of its regular waste to external contractors for recycling (an increase of 5 percent compared to 2006). By 2010, the company aims to increase that number to 70 percent, but believes that current economic conditions may make this difficult to achieve.

The remaining 38 percent of NXP’s regular, non-recyclable waste was incinerated or sent to landfill. About half was hazardous. In absolute terms, NXP’s waste is down 24 percent compared to 2006.

The company is also committed to using sustainable packaging. In 2009, 98.9 percent of the packaging materials NXP used could be reused or recycled, exceeding its 2010 target of 98 percent.

Toshiba’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2010 features two special reports — Integrity Report I, which focuses on business activities that contribute to protection of the global environment, and Integrity Report II, which reports selected information in accordance with the international standards and guidelines for CSR reporting.

Toshiba’s environmental management is segmented into three areas: greening of process, greening of products and greening of technology. Toshiba expects that it will be able to cut CO2 emissions of Toshiba products , including those already shipped, by about 750 million tons a year in fiscal 2020.

In January, Toshiba joined other electronics suppliers Dell, HP, and Intel, along with retailers Wal-Mart and Best Buy to create a system to help consumers identify “green” electronics.

Greening of process refers to initiatives aimed at minimizing environmental impacts through improved efficiency of manufacturing processes. As an example, in fiscal 2010, Toshiba will complete the construction of a new rechargeable battery factory in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, that incorporates energy-efficient features such as LED lighting.

Greening of products is aimed at achieving the highest levels of environmental performance for its products, while greening of technology is aimed at making contributions through the development of low-carbon energy technologies.

Since fiscal 2010, Toshiba has revised its standards for certifying environmentally conscious products (ECP). The three requirements for certification include mitigation of climate change, efficient use of resources and management of chemicals.

In fiscal 2009, Toshiba’s product eco-efficiency increased by 2.13 times over the 2000 level, exceeding the target level of 2.03 times.

The company’s business process eco-efficiency increased by 1.35 times over the 2000 level, also exceeding the target level, which was 1.2 times.

Overall eco-efficiency increased by 1.97 times over the 2000 level, enabling Toshiba to achieve the target level of 1.86 times.

Chart: NXP GHG emissions from 2006 to 2009

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