Sustainability is a big business. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global market for sustainability and green technology will reach $36.6 billion by 2025. The market is blossoming because companies in nearly every industry are realizing they can no longer afford to not make sustainability a part of their business plan, and they can no longer afford to make empty promises. Rather, companies must talk the talk and walk the walk. How? By setting goals and benchmarks, making their goals and benchmarks public, measuring progress, being transparent about that progress, and, in general, holding themselves accountable as critical contributors to the problem that is climate change and, therefore, critical players in the solution.
Intel recently announced its own plans to contribute to the solution by pledging to reach net-zero GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in its global operations by 2040. The company says it will also increase the energy efficiency of Intel products and platforms and lower products’ and platforms’ carbon footprints. Beyond its own operations, Intel also pledged to work with industry partners and customers alike to create solutions “that lower the greenhouse gas footprint of the entire technology ecosystem.”
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement the company is in a unique position to impact the entire tech ecosystem through its march toward net zero, and he is right. As a global leader in semiconductor design and manufacturing, Intel’s action or inaction in addressing a relatively nebulous, though substantial global threat like climate change is significant—because where leaders go others will follow.
To meet its ambitious goal of net zero by 2040, Intel has set some benchmarks or milestone goals for itself in the next decade. For instance, by 2030, the company commits to achieve 100% renewable electricity use across its global operations. It also pledges to invest around $300 million in energy conservation at its facilities, to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program standards for all new factories and facilities, and to launch a cross-industry R&D (research and development) initiative that aims to identify greener chemicals with lower global warming potential and develop new abatement equipment.
Proactive investment and innovation go a long way in making the most impact in the fight for our planet. Intel estimates its efforts so far have resulted in 75% lower GHG emissions today than what would have been had the company not began its journey a decade ago. A Scope 3 strategy is also in place at Intel, ensuring the company is also thinking about its entire value chain and the emissions it creates. By partnering with supply-chain partners and suppliers, the company hopes to identify areas of improvement and support the transition to net zero across the board.
Specifically, Intel says it’s committed to driving supply chain GHG emissions down 30% lower than they would be in the absence of investment and action by 2030. It’s also setting a new goal to achieve a five-times increase in performance per watt for Falcon Shores—its next-generation CPU-GPU. This adds to Intel’s existing commitment to increase product energy efficiency by 10 times for client and server microprocessors. This may seem like an awful lot of promises, but Intel is also following industry best practices of demonstrating progress along the way and continuing to set new goals for itself and its surrounding ecosystem. Also, by continuously talking about sustainability, the company is doing a service to the planet by reminding stakeholders what truly is at stake.
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