The semiconductor industry is facing a unique challenge. While semiconductors are an essential component of everyday electronics and their demand is increasing worldwide, their production requires a significant amount of energy and resources. As a result, many companies in the industry are setting ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during production to support the fight against climate change.
Despite their environmental footprint, semiconductors play a crucial role in achieving ambitious climate protection targets. They are essential in electric vehicles, wind turbines, smart buildings, and power networks. They help control these systems more efficiently, enabling them to save more energy and be more environmentally sound.
Manufacturing semiconductors, however, is resource-intensive and requires considerable amounts of electricity and water. According to a Harvard University study, almost 75% of CO2 emissions in connection with electronic communication devices are from manufacturing. The majority of these emissions comes from the production of semiconductors. As demand for semiconductors increases, the environmental footprint in production is growing, creating a challenge for companies to reduce their emissions and resource consumption.
Leading chip manufacturers and their suppliers are helping to achieve these goals with ambitious environmental strategies. Intel, for example, has committed to using 100% renewable energy, achieving positive net water use, and not landfilling any waste in its new European production facility. TSMC, one of the world’s largest semiconductor producers, aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
It has set itself the target of being climate neutral by 2040, with interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and procure 80% of purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2030. To achieve this goal, the company has signed a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Enel Green Power for the “Azure Sky” wind and storage project in the US.