Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the world's No. 1 semiconductor manufacturer by sales, has updated its corporate responsibility plan and said it will try to further reduce the environmental impact of its products over the next eight years.
The company's 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report (PDF), published today, outlined the achievements, challenges, and opportunities Intel has identified as it tries to improve its relationship with all levels of society, including governments, people, and communities in all the countries where it has operations.
Intel said it has made some significant advances in the last few years, but it also identified areas of concern, including the fact that it continues to generate more "chemical waste on a per chip basis" than it would prefer. It linked a failure to reduce chemical waste to continuing success in key markets. As sales have climbed over the last five years (from $38.3 billion in 2007 to $54 billion in 2011), so has the amount of chemical waste Intel has generated.
Despite a stated intention to intensify efforts to keep chemical waste down, its sales growth plans will most likely make this a difficult objective. For instance, to expand offerings beyond its bread and butter (the slower-growing PC microprocessor market), Intel is charging into markets like consumer electronics, and any success it records here will only increase the amount of chemical waste it generates.
Nevertheless, Intel CEO Paul Otellini wrote in a letter attached to the report that finding ways to reduce the impact of its continuing success on society will remain an important goal over the next several years. "We have an ambitious vision for the next decade: Create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth," he wrote. "We continued to face challenges in the areas of water conservation and chemical waste reduction, but we have set new 2020 environmental goals to drive continuous improvement in both our manufacturing operations and the energy efficiency of our products."
I will be exploring some of the opportunities, challenges, and successes identified by Intel in future blogs. For now, I would like to share with you the critical factors detailed by the company in the report. It was particularly interesting that Intel put supply chain management at the core of its corporate responsibility strategy. After I pored over the full report, my initial conclusion was that the company had listed some admirable supply chain goals, but the challenges in achieving them are equally daunting for an enterprise of this size. It must balance the demands of its growth strategy with the potential impact on the environment.
Intel puts its "Goals for 2012 and Beyond" in five categories: environment, employees, supply chain, society, and governance. Here are the key elements of the environment and supply chain goals as detailed in the Intel report. I will discuss the other categories in future blogs.
Reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions by 10% on a per chip basis by 2020 from 2010 levels.
Achieve additional energy savings of 1.4 billion kWh from 2012 to 2015, and publish additional energy conservation targets for 2016−2020 in our 2012 report.
Reduce water use per chip below 2010 levels by 2020...
Achieve zero chemical waste to landfill by 2020.
Achieve a 90% solid waste recycle rate by 2020.
Reduce chemical waste generation by 10% on a per chip basis by 2020 from 2010 levels.
Implement an enhanced "green" chemistry screening and selection process for 100% of new chemicals and gases by 2020.
Design all new buildings to a minimum LEED Silver Certification level between 2010 and 2020.
Increase the energy efficiency of notebook computers and data center products 25x by 2020 from 2010 levels.
Complete or review 50 on-site supplier audits to drive reduction in priority and major findings, and faster time to closure.
By the end of 2012, demonstrate that our microprocessors are validated as conflict-free for tantalum; and by the end of 2013, manufacture the world's first microprocessor fully validated as conflict-free across all four minerals.
Set expectations for our top Tier 1 suppliers on the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, water, and waste metrics, and on the establishment of reduction goals. Request that our top 75 suppliers publish Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-based sustainability reports beginning in 2013.
Reduce the weight of our packaging by 25% from 2011 levels.
Establish a 100% "green" Intel ground transportation fleet by 2016.
Include historically under-represented businesses in 100% of all eligible bidding opportunities.