Imec’s semiconductor sustainability program grows

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Imec reports that it has succeeded in bringing together stakeholders in the semiconductor value chain with the intent to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. The Leuven-based research institute launched the Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies and Systems (SSTS) program last year, with Apple as the first public partner. Imec hasn’t provided a complete list of companies that have since joined, but they include ASM, ASML, Kurita, Microsoft, Screen and Tokyo Electron.

Credit: Imec

Semiconductor manufacturing requires large amounts of energy and water and creates hazardous waste. While system and fabless companies are already investing in decarbonizing their supply chain and products, committing to be carbon neutral by 2030 or 2040, they typically lack accurate insight into the contribution of chip manufacturing of future technologies as there’s limited lifecycle analysis data available.

To tackle this problem, Imec says an ecosystem approach will be key. “Assessing the environmental impact is the first step, so we can make informed choices when we move to the next technology generations. Equipment, material and tool suppliers are key in the early-phase plans; they can for example create more environmentally friendly processes and tools to solve high-impact problems in these future technologies. We’re also talking to foundries to help verify and benchmark the results,” states Lars-Åke Ragnarsson, SSTS program director.