Intel Stakes $420 Million on Going Green

Intel Stakes $420 Million on Going Green
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger (Photo: Tom Williams, Getty Images)

Intel is making huge promises to make the company carbon neutral over the next decade or two, and yesterday the company broke down how it wants to get there.

In the announcement posted to the Intel site, Intel also laid out broad goals of getting to 100 per cent renewable energy by investing $US300 million (around $416 million) for energy conservation at its facilities. It also said it would launch a new research and development initiative for get “cleaner chemicals” for use in the chip-making process.

CEO Pat Gelsinger said protecting the planet requires “immediate action and fresh thinking about how the world operates.” More than that, however, the CEO added Intel needs to make it “easier for customers, partners, and our whole value chain to take meaningful action too.”

In terms of its chips, the company made specific mention of its CPU-GPU Falcon series product, which it hopes will have five times as much performance-per-watt than previous chips. These hybrid chips are not really ready for current era PCs, not to mention it’s already working on its own graphics chips to compete with AMD and Nvidia.

But the chips are also promising major improvements in terms of reducing the overall size of the main boards, plus the use of so-called “bio based boards” to reduce overall electronic waste.

The chip manufacturer is just one of a range of other companies in the tech sphere, such as competitor AMD, that are promising to drastically reduce emissions over the next decade.

Intel is also trying to make a name for itself during the ongoing chip shortage. This year, the company has already broken ground on two new factories in Arizona and is planning to spend another $US20 billion ($28 billion) for new factories in Ohio. The plan is for these factories to be open for outside companies to use as well. In yesterday’s announcement, Gelsinger did mention that new Intel factories will adhere U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards, which should mean that other companies looking to manufacture chips with Intel could reduce their environmental impact as well.

But there’s still a wider issue the company needs to address. Even if its internal operations become clean, it will still regularly deal with the international shipping companies and outside manufacturers, who are moving much slower in making their operations cleaner.

Intel does offer some information on this front. It plans to combat Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions that occur outside a company’s direct ownership but occur further down the supply chain, by working with companies in its supply chain. Intel notes it wants to work with other companies and suppliers to edge towards greener energy. The company committed to working with suppliers who promise to reduce emissions by 30 per cent over the next 10 years.

But even with that promise, Intel does offer a weak link in the wider push by companies to reduce emissions, especially when these same companies are still trying to catch up to demand. Intel is also competing with companies like TSMC, which has had problems meeting its own environmental goals.