by FAREZZA HANUM RASHID
MICRON Technology has been making strides in its sustainability initiative since it began investing in environmental, social and governance (ESG) in 2021.
Their coverage is wide-ranged and diverse, which include artificial intelligence (AI) tools for safe and efficient manufacturing as well as partnerships with industry peers and startups to improve its environmental impact.
Micron had recently released its 2022 Sustainability Report and shared its continued progress towards environmental targets and harnessing executive voices to amplify its leadership and investment in sustainability.
Micron’s ESG priorities incorporate the design and manufacture of its products and how it grows its business, support its people and communities and power a future that enriches life for all.
The leader in memory and storage solutions has also embedded sustainability into how it finances its growth through the issuance of the first US$1 billion green bond and nearly US$3.7 billion in sustainability linked credit facilities.
“We made strong progress toward our environmental goals and, in calendar year 2022 (CY22), announced new aspirational commitments and new shorter-term, timebound targets for emissions and renewable energy,” it said.
Micron also achieved several accomplishments toward its six diversity, equality and inclusion commitments and in increasing engagement among team members.
Among the awards and recognitions earned in 2021 and this year, so far, include World’s Best Employers (Forbes), Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America (S&P Global), Best Workplace for Disability Inclusion (Disability Equality Index), America’s Most Responsible Companies (Newsweek), Caring and Concerned Employer (Malaysia), and Corporate Equality Index (Human Rights Campaign), among others.
Earlier this year, Micron set new commitments to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its operations (scope 1) and purchased energy (scope 2) by 2050.
“To accomplish these commitments, we are targeting milestones to achieve 2030 scope 1 emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement — a 42% absolute reduction compared to our CY20 baseline.
“These commitments build on our existing short-term targets and long-term aspirations for emissions, energy, water and waste. Looking ahead, we are evaluating emissions in our value chain (scope 3) and opportunities to establish targets there,” it said.
To achieve these sustainability goals and enhance its environmental stewardship, Micron realised that it had to make progress in all areas, and not just its own operations.
“We can do a lot to further enhance environmental protection in our facilities, in the communities where we operate and among suppliers we use,” it added.
Some of the actions taken by Micron include expanding rooftop solar panels in Singapore and Japan by 2 megawatts (MW), which provides over 600,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy, as well as actively securing renewable energy procurement opportunities in some countries, which resulted in 85 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) of scope 2 emissions avoided.
Micron also achieved a 90% reuse, recycle and recovery (including energy recovery) rate in CY21 by enhancing waste recovery systems, improving waste stream segregation, and engaging with alternate waste disposal vendors.
For water, 53% was conserved through reuse, recycling and restoration efforts whereby Micron enhanced its water reuse and recycle infrastructure, as well as engaging in water restoration projects.
Additionally, many of Micron’s newest buildings have achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status.
To earn these certifications, features such as solar-enabled rooftops designed to harvest rainwater, plants that cover approximately 30% of the building’s outdoor space and water-saving technologies that reuse and recycle 75% of water consumption were incorporated.
“At other sites globally, we are making improvements and adding features like charging ports for electric vehicles, equipment that improves indoor air quality, designated spaces for rest and fitness, and more,” Micron said.
Micron also had some of its suppliers on the same sustainability boat.
In 2021, Micron requested CDP survey responses from its top suppliers where the feedback will provide a baseline against which it can monitor suppliers’ progress on emissions reduction and other metrics.
The abovementioned US$1 billion green bond was among the largest of its kind in the semiconductor industry.
It directly supports environmental projects across Micron that will reduce its carbon footprint and make the facilities more efficient.
According to Micron’s vice president and treasurer Greg Routin, the US$1 billion commitment on green capital expenditures by 2028 came at an opportune time as Micron was already looking to refinance and restructure key elements of its capital structure.
“We had several planned capital investments to make, such as obtaining LEED certification for our new fab in Taiwan,” he said.
Routin admitted that the time-based targets as well as the key performance indicators that he and his team laid out are aggressive and that they have had expanded discussion sessions with Micron’s financial partners.
“Even more gratifying is seeing the broader influence of our actions. All these efforts are part of the many steps Micron is taking to make meaningful change in the communities where we live and work,” he added.