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The crucial role of semiconductors in the transition toward a greener world

With the boom in human and machine-generated data, IT capabilities, AI and connectivity, the global semiconductor market is likely to double by 2030. This poses new challenges for the semiconductor companies.

This rapid growth generates environmental challenges with the ever-growing intensive use of raw materials, chemicals, and significant emissions of process gases. Consumers, investors, and regulators now expect sustainable strategies, and the semiconductor market players must address these issues.

At Capgemini, we begin a new Sustainability for Semiconductors – article series, addressing all the core issues that affect semiconductor companies’ sustainability journey. Our first article introduces the key elements affecting this path.

Power consumption is the main challenge for semiconductor manufacturers, accounting for almost 80% of their greenhouse gas emissions. To address this issue, strategies must be developed to optimize their energy consumption as well as adopting renewable energy sources to meet the growing demand. By optimizing the energy consumption of manufacturing tools and utilizing AI, semiconductor manufacturers can reduce downtime and improve manufacturing efficiency. They can also reduce energy losses, manage cleanrooms, and use LED lighting to contribute to a greener world.

Water, process gases, and semiconductor materials are also sustainability drivers, with many manufacturers overusing these resources, requiring water recycling, alternative gases, and better traceability of the metals used, to aid the sustainability journey.

Collaboration between industry stakeholders, from suppliers to customers, is vital for manufacturers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the supply chain. This cooperation is also key for them in promoting the sustainable use and recycling of products.

Some promising initiatives are already underway, with certain companies accelerating towards a green transition, however, energy transition will be a crucial part of the semiconductor manufacturers’ development strategy to reduce their carbon footprint.

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