Sustainability: Environmental responsibility: Sustainable sites

TI's manufacturing and office buildings are more than just a place to work. They serve as a common space for collaboration and incubators for new ideas and new technology.

How we build and operate these facilities is an integral part of our current and long-term sustainability. We believe responsible, sustainable operations can meet current resource needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

We successfully constructed the world's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified semiconductor manufacturing facility. It is our goal to continue to reduce the resource consumption and environmental impact of all our facilities. We have a specific facilities strategy to help guide our efforts.

Our sustainable manufacturing practices include, more broadly, ensuring the safety and health of our employees and neighboring communities, developing products responsibly and complying with relevant laws, regulations and customer requirements.

In everything we do, where feasible and relevant, we work to reduce our impact on the environment and local communities, including the protection of local biodiversity.

Facilities strategy

We rely on two primary strategies to operate buildings more sustainably:

  • For new construction, we adhere to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building standards. LEED addresses five key areas of green building practices: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and the atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
  • For existing buildings, we share and implement best practices among global sites.

These practices help us reduce natural resource consumption, environmental impact and operating costs. Reducing energy use also enables us to shrink our carbon footprint.

LEED for new construction

The internationally recognized LEED green building certification drives facilities closer to our corporate goal of zero wasted resources, the sustainable use of natural resources, the efficient use of energy and raw materials, and the prevention of pollution. Since 2004, we have incorporated LEED design principles into all new building construction and have certified four new facilities to date:

  • Richardson, Texas, administration building (2008, LEED Gold).
  • Richardson, Texas, manufacturing facility (2008, LEED Gold).
  • Baguio, Philippines, Phase V manufacturing facility (2009, LEED Silver).
  • Clark, Philippines, manufacturing facility (2010, LEED Gold).

These sites alone comprise more than 2 million square feet of LEED-certified space, which is more than 9 percent of our total space worldwide.

Existing buildings

Our existing sites share best sustainability practices, which incorporate many LEED-related measures, to benchmark and compare operating performance and programs. These practices include using energy-efficient lighting; implementing methods to reduce water use; and improving heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system efficiency.

We categorize these practices by system and regularly update our best practice guidelines. Sites assess their system-level performance every other year and make applicable improvements as needed.

In addition to our LEED certifications for new construction, our Santa Clara, Calif., site upgraded the interior of a 42,000-square-foot building on the campus. This project earned the LEED for Commercial Interiors Gold certification.

Sustainable manufacturing

We work toward sustainable manufacturing by reducing waste and inefficiency in operations, including our manufacturing facilities, office buildings and distribution activities. We also work to preserve the rights and working conditions of our employees, including the safety and health of our neighbors.

We have established sustainability goals to guide our efforts and continually improve our performance. All employees are expected to help us achieve our sustainability goals. Groups that manage these efforts include Quality; Procurement and Logistics; and Worldwide Facilities, including the Environmental, Safety and Health (ESH) team.

We also subscribe to external voluntary programs to help guide our sustainable manufacturing practices, such as the International Organization for Standardization and the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition.

Semiconductors

We manufacture billions of integrated circuits (semiconductor chips), which involve using considerable amounts of water, energy and chemicals. To conserve natural resources, reduce potential environmental impacts and protect employees, we use safer chemicals when feasible and incorporate conservation, efficiency and recycling practices into everyday operations across all sites, where we can.

Outlined below are our management practices and conscientious approach to chemical selection and screening process that includes topics such as nanomaterials, restricted chemicals, chemical handling, Europe and China’s banned substances, lead, halogens, antimony and red phosphorous.

Chemical selection and screening

We screen all incoming chemicals before incorporating them into our semiconductor manufacturing processes in both our fabs and assembly sites.  Screening includes a review of customer concerns and regulatory standards, in addition to any environmental, safety and health (ESH) controls required for their use. We incorporate restrictions and standards related to chemicals in our contracts with suppliers.

If concerns about a chemical or other material arise during review, the matter is elevated to a chemical and material review board staffed by company experts. If a chemical or material is thought to be necessary for manufacturing but still raises concerns, our manufacturing leaders review the issue; where appropriate, they authorize additional time and resources to seek a safer alternative, or implement more stringent use controls.

Nanomaterials

We work within the industry to assess new substances. For example, we are actively involved with research consortia to evaluate the use of nanomaterials for specific functions. Currently, we only embed nanoscale features and structures within select semiconductors.

Nanomaterials are not yet regulated, although standards bodies are gathering information to identify potential ESH impacts. We are working with industry partners to study these materials further to ensure that our management systems provide appropriate controls and protections, should they be needed.

Restricted chemicals

Producing world-class semiconductors involves the use of hazardous and nonhazardous chemicals and gases, which is why TI has stringent controls in place to manage them. We also periodically assess the potential environmental, safety and health impact of these materials as new scientific information becomes available and regulations are adopted.

We are committed to identifying and using the safest and lowest-risk materials in operations whenever possible. At a minimum, we focus on compliance with all applicable conventions, protocols, laws and regulations for chemical use. For example, we:

  • Prohibit the use of Class I and Class II ozone-depleting substances in manufacturing.
  • Prohibit the use of persistent organic pollutants as defined by the United Nations Environmental Program.
  • Prohibit chemicals on the Prior Informed Consent list under the Rotterdam Convention.
  • Support the mission and objectives of the Basel Convention (Annex I, II, III and VIII), which addresses environmental protection through the proper management of used chemicals and materials.

In addition, we do not manufacture products that contain radioactive substances, and we select the lowest-risk chemicals for use whenever possible. (Click here for a complete list of chemicals TI restricts.)

Chemical handling

After we approve chemicals for use, we carefully manage their transport, distribution, use and disposal. The basic goal of our chemical-safety program is to minimize human contact with all chemicals. We accomplish this in six ways:

  1. Availability of information. We work closely with our chemical supply chain to ensure that employees and contractors have up-to-date usage and handling information.
  2. Engineering controls and personal protective equipment. We provide engineering controls such as safety interlocks and ventilation to minimize employee exposure to chemicals. Employees who work with or near hazardous chemicals or gases in areas without built-in engineering controls are required to wear personal protective equipment and understand how to properly use it.
  3. Chemical dock operations. We tightly control and protect chemical deliveries and storage by asking chemical professionals to handle all chemicals at one central location per site. An internal numbering system controls internal delivery and safety procedures.
  4. Just-in-time purchasing. Our inventory controls reduce potential chemical storage risks while maintaining an appropriate supply.
  5. Closed chemical delivery system. Chemicals are automatically fed to work locations through a series of carefully constructed distribution systems with appropriate leak detection, ventilation and abatement controls. We use double-walled piping and additional containment systems where needed.
  6. Management of used chemicals. We minimize any amount of discharged chemicals through several protective measures, including wastewater treatment, wet scrubbers, thermal oxidizers and absorbers. Where on-site treatment is not available, licensed disposal contractors recycle and reuse valuable materials or dispose of waste appropriately.

Europe and China’s restricted substances

Both the European Union (EU) and China have issued stringent standards for product content and have banned some chemicals altogether. For example, the EU's Restriction on Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) regulation has been in effect since 2006. It was recently updated (RoHS2) in an effort to resolve uncertainties and increase market surveillance and enforcement.

RoHS restricts new electrical and electronic equipment containing cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl and polybrominated diphenyl ether flame-retardants above specified thresholds from entering the EU. We have reviewed RoHS2's new equipment categories to ensure compliance and meet customer information needs. About 95 percent of our worldwide net product sales are shipped in accordance with all EU RoHS legislation.

To comply with the EU's Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), TI and other manufacturers must gather (and under some circumstances) file information about the properties of chemical substances used in Europe. We also provide information to customers about the status of REACH-listed substances in our products.

China published its own set of production requirements: the China Management Methods for Controlling Pollution by Electronic Information Products (China RoHS). Although our components are not required to meet China RoHS labeling requirements (which apply primarily to end-equipment manufacturers), we changed our shipping labels and provided additional information to our customers so they can more easily meet their compliance needs.

Lead

Long before legislation required such measures, TI led the industry in developing lead (Pb)-free alternatives for products. We introduced our first Pb-free alternative, a nickel-palladium finish, in 1989. We completed most component conversions well ahead of the EU RoHS deadline. For products not identified for conversion, we work with customers to find suitable RoHS2-compliant or other green solutions.

Although most of our customers have shifted to using Pb-free products, we continue to manufacture a few products that contain lead for those who require it. These products are usually outside the scope of RoHS requirements, such as military products or can have an exemption applied to them by our customer’s application, such as servers.

Upon request, we can provide certification and analytical data from our suppliers to support their verification of the material content in our products.

Halogens, antimony and red phosphorous

One of the challenges facing TI and the electronic industry as a whole is how to reduce or eliminate the use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs). Though there is no legislation restricting their use, many electronic product distributors are under increasing pressure from advocacy groups to eliminate this potential risk.  There are only small amounts of BFRs and CFRs contained in the products that pose no risk as sold, but the improper and unsafe recycling practices are the major cause for concern.

BFRs and CFRs have traditionally been integral to semiconductor packaging materials. At TI, these materials were mostly removed from products that were converted to Pb-free- and RoHS-compliant processing temperatures before they became an industry concern. The majority of our conversion to green compounds was completed in 2005.  Today, more than 90 percent of the semiconductor products we ship are considered green and meet low-halogen industry requirements. 

We define green to mean Pb-free; RoHS-compliant; and free of chlorine, bromine and antimony trioxide-based flame retardants. Our "Halogens, Chlorine and Bromine: Concentration in TI's 'Green' Devices" document explains the thresholds for BFRs and CFRs. Products defined by TI as green meet the Joint Electronic Devices Engineering Council’s (JEDEC) JS709 Low Halogen Guidelines. 

Our Pb-free and RoHS-compliant devices also meet globally defined restrictions as defined in documents such as the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List when applied to electronic components; what was previously the Joint Industry Guide JIG-101 and was replaced by the new International Electrotechnical Commission 62474 database in late 2013.  Our products listed as green go beyond these types of regulatory requirement lists and include compliance to low-halogen efforts. Further, other compliance documents can be found on our Eco-Info website.

Education Technology manufacturing

Our Education Technology (ET) business unit designs handheld graphing devices for math and science teaching and learning, which are used by educators and students worldwide. We develop these products with concern for environmental impact, including the type of materials used in their design, packaging and waste as well as product lifecycle. For example, we designed the TI-Nspire™ CX graphing calculator to operate on  a rechargeable battery, which can last up to two weeks on a single charge. We also help recycle rechargeable lithium batteries used in ET products as part of our involvement in the Call2Recycle program. This approach reduces energy use and waste.

While we outsource the manufacturing of our education technology products, we require suppliers and contractors to comply with applicable laws and regulations, as well as our own standards, to ensure that they are made responsibly.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity, as framed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), is the idea that variability among living organisms from all sources is essential for ecosystems to function efficiently. The key concerns related to sustaining biodiversity stem from the direct impact of activities that substantially change ecological features, structures and functions across an area.

Land uses that result in habitat conversions, degradation or fragmentation can adversely affect biodiversity. Industrial activities – such as natural resource extraction and resource recovery operations conducted in areas with sensitive populations and ecosystems – likely generate the greatest potential impact on biodiversity.

Industries that operate in non-sensitive areas, especially those practicing pollution prevention, waste reduction, sustainability and other environmental stewardship practices, present much less of a challenge to biodiversity.

TI's industrial activities are non-extractive. Our worldwide semiconductor design, manufacturing, assembly, test and marketing operations are located in industrial areas, inner-city areas, suburban areas as well as areas surrounded by agricultural farm lands. As a result, our company does not conduct the type of biodiversity assessments or reviews that natural resource extraction and recovery industries may need to perform.

However, we have researched whether endangered, critically endangered and International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List species are present at or near sites located in countries where we have manufacturing operations, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. We determined that no such species are in close proximity to our sites.

While our local environmental, health and safety personnel are typically aware of legally protected areas of high biodiversity value, such as World Heritage sites or wetlands that may be located near a manufacturing facility, the non-extractive nature of our business and absence of practices that could result in habitat degradation or fragmentation make it unnecessary for us to develop or maintain a targeted biodiversity program to catalog or otherwise further assess potential biodiversity impact.

TI does recognize the value of biodiversity, however, and voluntarily participates in several events directed toward supplementing and improving local biodiversity, such as planting indigenous trees or participating in community cleanup events. These actions are part of our long-standing policy to support and enhance the quality of life in our local communities.