Celebrating Earth Week and Progressing on Our Sustainability Goals

John Compani, Senior Member of the Technical Staff for EHS and CSR, GlobalFoundries

Sustainability and resource conservation are longstanding principles of GF’s global operations. We recognize climate change is an unprecedented global challenge, and we are committed to sustainable manufacturing and minimizing our impact on the environment through continual improvement.

The theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest in Our Planet.” This year, GF celebrates Earth Week in honor of Earth Day (April 22). In the spirit of GF’s Earth Week, I would like to highlight a few of GF’s 2022 resource conservation efforts in the following areas: electricity consumption, water usage, greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous waste and chemical usage.

Electricity Consumption 

Semiconductor manufacturing requires a significant amount of electricity, and energy conservation is a high priority for GF. In 2022, our sustainability and efficiency efforts produced an annual savings of over 30 thousand megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity – enough to power approximately 2,800 U.S. households for a year. 

Example projects included: 

  • Our fab in Dresden, Germany, reconfigured the operating schedule of turbo air compressors for energy optimization. The change required no capital investment and resulted in savings of 800 MWh/yr of electricity. 
  • Efficiency improvements implemented for process chilled water flow at GF’s site in Singapore resulted in 2,800 MWh/yr of electricity savings.

Water Usage

As part of our water conservation efforts in 2022, teams across GF implemented projects with a cumulative annual savings of over 800,000 m³ (209 million gallons) of water – about the water used by more than 1,800 average U.S. households in one year. The savings were driven by extensive water reclamation programs in place at our manufacturing facilities, with 39% of our total water use in 2022 covered by recycled and reused water.

Notable initiatives around the globe included:

  • Our Singapore fabs achieved a combined 70 percent recycling rate in 2022 through extensive state-of-the-art water recycling capabilities.
  • A reclamation project at our fab in Malta, New York, resulted in approximately 318,000 m3/yr of water savings by improved sensing and optimized water treatment in industrial reclaim water tanks.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2021, GF announced its Journey to Zero Carbon goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2020 to 2030, even as the company expands its global manufacturing capacity. To meet the goal of reducing absolute greenhouse emissions by 25%, GF is applying a variety of approaches and investments tailored to our global manufacturing footprint.

Examples of our progress in 2022 includes:

  • Numerous energy efficiency projects across the company resulted in more than 3,200 metric tons of carbon equivalents of annual emission reductions related to the generation of electricity
  • Our fab in Vermont continued with its multiyear strategic plan to upgrade point of use abatement systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in process exhaust streams
  • Our Singapore fabs executed multiple process optimizations, including the retrofit or upgrade of process chamber cleaning methods that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Hazardous Waste & Chemical Usage 

GF has rigorous chemical review and pollution prevention programs across our manufacturing sites, with a focus on source reduction. Source reduction includes activities and projects that minimize the use of chemicals or the generation waste. These activities typically result in reduced consumption, reduced waste, and reduced cost. For 2022, teams across GF completed a variety of projects for a combined benefit of over 300,000 kg (about 660,000 lbs.) per year of reductions in chemical consumption and waste generation. 

Examples of GF’s 2022 initiatives included: 

  • The chemical mechanical planarization team at our fab in Malta, New York, optimized the use of cleaner recipes for certain equipment, realizing a 52% reduction in the use of this chemistry. This saved over 41,000 liters/yr of chemicals and other consumables. 
  • An improvement to auto cleans at our fab in Dresden, Germany, resulted in reduced chemical consumptions of 30,000 kg/yr.

GF won awards for solvent use reduction projects that directly reduce hazardous waste generation. Most recently our Vermont fab won the EPA 2022 Environmental Merit Award and our Vermont and Malta, NY fabs won 2022 MVP2 (Most Valuable Pollution Prevention) Awards.

The above are some select highlights of our 2022 resource conservation efforts. We will share further details on these and many other sustainability and conservation projects in GF’s forthcoming 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, to be published in June. 

In the meantime, click here to learn more about corporate responsibility and ESG at GF.

John Compani is a Senior Member of the Technical Staff with GF’s Global EHS & CSR Team. He is based in Malta, NY with focus on GF’s Environmental Performance, Resource Conservation and Sustainability efforts.