Intel’s Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Commitment is Key to Delivering Green Tech

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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[Intel]

Microprocessors are the backbone of our digital infrastructure and a key enabler for a more sustainable economy and carbon neutral future. Intel has made a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our operations by 2040.

Robert Wright is Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Intel Ireland.

Europe’s climate targets are based on the principle that the green and digital agendas can be pursued in tandem, achieving overall net-zero emissions by 2050 decoupling economic growth from resource use. Intel shares this ambition and is committed to making a unique contribution to implementing these goals. As one of the world’s leading semiconductor design and manufacturing companies, Intel plans to invest up to 80 billion euros in new manufacturing capacity in the EU, thereby enhancing the entire semiconductor value chain across Europe over the next decade. We are at the same time making a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2040, while also ensuring that our products are energy efficient in order to also help create solutions that lower the footprint of the entire technology ecosystem.

Global warming must be limited to an increase of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and we must rethink the way we operate and plan for the future to prevent the world from overheating. For Intel, pursuing ambitious sustainability targets coincides with a fundamental rethink of how chips are made. Next generations of chips are not only about packing more performance into the computing power of technology in accordance with Moore’s Law but also about continually innovating and designing microchip architecture more efficiently to optimise power consumption.

To deliver on our net-zero greenhouse gas commitment by 2040, we must significantly reduce the environmental impact of our operations while ensuring best in class sustainability standards in our new European investments. This is why we are efficiently managing our existing facilities and committed to build ever greener and efficient new buildings. Our new factories and facilities, including the proposed new fab in Magdeburg, Germany, will be designed and built with sustainability and energy efficiency as key guiding considerations.

We will continue our commitment to purchasing and using renewable electricity. For example, 100% of all electricity supplied to our Leixlip campus is generated from renewable sources and by 2030 we have committed to reach 100% renewable electricity globally.

We are also committed to reducing our energy consumption, investing approximately $300 million in energy conservation across our facilities to achieve 4 billion cumulative kilowatt-hours of energy savings by 2030.

Additionally, we will work across our supply chain, identifying ways in which our partners can implement energy conservation and renewable energy sourcing in order to drive greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chains to at least 30 percent lower by 2030 than what they would be in the absence of any action.

Helping our customers to achieve net-zero is another priority. By 2030, we aim to increase product energy efficiency tenfold for client and server microprocessors. Through our investments in leading edge chip manufacturing and research and development, our customers will benefit from more efficient semiconductors and solutions. We’re also helping customers achieve platform carbon reductions, through rethinking the layout, selection, and modularity of all internal components to reduce the size of main boards and reduce their overall energy consumption. The shift towards bio-based printed circuit boards will help separate materials and components when recycling and reduce overall electronic waste.

To demonstrate how significantly microchips can drive sustainability through the value chain, let’s look at an example from France’s largest Grid Operator, Enedis. Managing the ebb and flow of energy consumption and supply is a key challenge for widespread use of wind and solar power. Enedis is working with Intel to increase availability of renewable energy, utilising Intel technology with the existing energy grid infrastructure to overcome this. With Enedis, we have helped upgrade its more than 800,000 secondary substations with technology that provides real-time control across the network.

Our economies and societies across the world are facing a multitude of simultaneous challenges including adapting to rapid technological change, mitigating the effects of climate change, and responding to an increasingly unstable geopolitical context. We cannot afford to prioritize any of these challenges to the detriment of the other.  By investing in leading-edge manufacturing, produced to the highest standards in efficiency and sustainability, Intel will work with Europe’s semiconductor and ICT industry to ensure that the EU economy can benefit from the green and digital transformation that is already underway, whilst safeguarding the EU’s digital sovereignty by making chips right here in Europe.

We are committed to, therefore, not only making more microchips here in the EU, but doing so in a sustainable way by delivering net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and by leading our industry towards sustainable computing as a basis of differentiated competitive leadership.

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