Micron is Working to Enable a Sustainable Future for All

The global trend toward sustainability and carbon reduction in industrial operations has attracted a growing number of companies in recent years. Significant among these enthusiastic new boosters for sustainable production are major firms in the semiconductor sector, one of the world’s most resource-intensive industries.

Micron, a U.S.-headquartered manufacturer of computer memory and data storage products, has made substantial progress in implementing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) principles at its operations worldwide. The company’s recent efforts are highlighted in its annual sustainability report, released this July. Some achievements covered in the report include securing a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity between 2018 and 2021, as well as ensuring that 90% of waste was recycled, reused, or recovered last year.

Now, Micron has established new targets to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In line with the Paris Agreement, the company seeks to achieve by 2030 a 42% absolute reduction in scope 1 emissions from calendar year 2020. It also plans to expand the amount of renewable energy it purchases (scope 2) through steps such as its first renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA), a 40MW solar project in Idaho that was announced earlier this year.

In Taiwan, where Micron stands as the largest foreign investor and employer, the company’s implementation of sustainability measures has borne serious fruit. For example, its Taiwan facilities have reached 100% local waste abatement, and it has effectively reduced overall scope 1 emissions intensity. In addition, this May Micron signed a PPA to construct a solar power installation in Taiwan that will boast 55MW of installed capacity.

As for water, a heavily used resource in chip and electronics production, Micron has set an aspirational goal of reusing, recycling, or restoring 100% of the water used in its operations, with an interim goal of 75% by the end of 2030, despite expected double-digit annual production growth. When Taiwan experienced a 286-day drought between October 2020 and July 2021, impacting numerous businesses and residents, the response measures Micron implemented at its fabs ensured that they were able to continue operating unimpeded throughout the water shortage. It also joined hands with government agencies to cooperate in searching for water resources, demonstrating its dedication to water restoration in Taiwan.

Micron’s sustainability efforts extend to the facilities it maintains in Taiwan. Last year, the company’s new A3 plant in Taichung became its first facility to incorporate sustainable design concepts and was awarded LEED Gold, WELL, and Taiwan Green Building Material Council EEWH certification. The plant generates additional energy through roof-mounted solar panels, and it is specially designed to collect rainwater for various uses. Additionally, around 30% of the external area of the building is covered in foliage, and its modern design can help save up to 90 million watts of electricity each year – equal to the annual electricity usage of 25,685 Taiwanese households.

A3’s design also contributes to Micron’s push to use water more sustainably by conserving up to 16.3 million liters of water per year, enough to fill 6,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Given the comprehensive nature of A3’s sustainable design, Micron plans to use the plant as a benchmark for future facilities to surpass as the company seeks to fulfill its sustainability commitments.

Understanding that sustainable development is not accomplished by any one organization or individual, but rather is a collective effort, Micron consistently works to influence its upstream and downstream suppliers to also adopt sustainable practices and seek out opportunities to cooperate with local governments. It also recently refinanced nearly US$3.7 billion in credit facilities, tying the interest rates to specific ESG performance metrics, a move that has positioned it as a top-five corporate sustainability-linked credit issuer in the U.S. In October 2021, Micron published a green bond framework aligned with globally recognized Green Bond Principles and in November issued a US$1 billion green bond.

In the future, Micron will continue to focus its efforts on several ongoing sustainability projects, including increasing the rate of recycling, reuse, or recovery of waste it generates globally to 95% by 2030. In fact, the company’s Taiwan operations stand out for already having exceeded this threshold, further evidence of the attention and investment the company has devoted to sustainability in Taiwan.