Intel Admits Chemical Waste ‘Challenges’

{complink 2657|Intel Corp.}, 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.
  • Supply chain

  • 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.
  • 8 comments on “Intel Admits Chemical Waste ‘Challenges’

    1. R.J.Matthews
      June 11, 2012

      Good to see intel leading the way on conflict minerals. Think anonymous are behind the times with their targeting of the company.



      What is the point in targeting companies that either have cleaned up their act or are trying to do so?



      Credit to them though for catching traxy's out if what they say is true.


      Increasingly it is the electronic trade  picking up the challenge with the foot dragging coming from chinese operations which no expects anything better of, the american chamber of commerce and the national association of manufacturers.




      The idea is to clean up the mineral trade in the drc not scare off everyone from investing there.


    2. bolaji ojo
      June 11, 2012

      R.J. It looks like you took time to read the report. It is quite detailed in terms of what Intel wants to achieve and the goals it has set are broad but demonstrate determination to get it right. The company was also blunt in its assessment of where it needs to do better.

    3. R.J.Matthews
      June 12, 2012

      Have been following the issue over a few years Bolaji Ojo so i know intel are taking a leadership position where it comes to cleaning up supply chains connected to the drc. The people from anonymous seem to have just read old information instead of crediting intel for what they are doing now.
      For any of them that might have not read the report.
      We have also taken steps in the past year to promote transparency and accountability in our supplychain, such as disclosing our top suppliers,increasing the number of supplier assessments and audits,and proactively working with our gold,tantalum,tin,and tungsten suppliers to address issues related to the traceability of conflict minerals from the democratic republic of the congo.
      By the end of 2012, demonstrate that our microprocessors are validated as conflict-free for tantalum;and by the end of2013,
      manufacture the world's first microprocessor fully validated as conflict-free across all four minerals.
      In late 2011, intel also engaged business for social responsibility to convene
      a stakeholder panel to provide input in to our human rights policy
      our eicc commitment letter,code of conduct, human rights principles, statement on conflict minerals, and other corporate governance and business ethics documents are available on our governance and ethics website.
      In 2011, intel representatives helped drive eicc working-group initiatives on conflictminerals, the prevention of human trafficking and anti-corruption, as well as a new projecton system governance and tools. Intel also hosted the first corporate executive summit for the eicc in may 2011,bringing together executives from 36 eicc member companies to discuss strategic priorities of the organization.
      Transparency. In 2011, we took a number of steps to increase the overall transparency of our supply chain responsibility efforts. for example, we provided regular updates on our actions to address conflict minerals and presented best practices on the topic at external conferences.we also expanded our disclosure on our assessment and audit findings.
      our goal is to advance our leadership in promoting transparency among other manufacturers and suppliers in china.
      whole of pages 94 95 example
      intel's efforts in 2011 focused on three key areas:driving accountability and ownership within our own supply chain through smelter identification and validation;partnering with our suppliers,smelters,industry partners,and other key stakeholders to establish conflict-free supplychains; and working with governments and non-governmental organizations (ngos) to supportin-region sourcing.

    4. Barbara Jorgensen
      June 12, 2012

      I applaud Intel's efforts and leadership position. Other chip companies, including TI, are also taking aggressive positions on their environmental footprint. Although there are numerous studies that indicate environmental friendliness eventually pays off financially, I wonder if Intel is going to bump up against the problem of cost-effectiveness vs. green. It still takes a significant investment to clean the busiess up, and Intel may have a problem if competitors becomes cost leaders becuase they are not as aggressive on cleanup. Then again, this is Intel, and maybe cost is not the only factor–its technology.

    5. Daniel
      June 13, 2012

      Bolaji, I think these are the new commitments from Intel side to reduce the chemical wastage. Every year companies may put some commitments and goals for such environmental issues but nobody is tracking whether they are success in sticking to their commitments and goals. I know some companies, having the same goals and commitments for years because they are not able to follow or they are forcing to do like that because of social commitments.

    6. Ariella
      June 13, 2012

      @RJ Mathews Thanks for that additional insight. Intel is certainly to be applauded for taking steps towards transparency and accountability. 

    7. R.J.Matthews
      June 13, 2012

      That's ok ariella agree it is always good to see a company doing the right thing.

    8. mfbertozzi
      June 18, 2012

      I ever heard about, it seems Intel acts as first in declaring similar action; others are saying it sounds as tactical announcement and it happens exactly during G20 meeting for preserving our planet (or doing so…). Where is the truth, I mean, really goal or strategy?

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