Apple joins sustainable semiconductor research programme

Apple joins the Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies and Systems (SSTS) research programme

In an announcement made by imec, Apple Inc. has become the first public company to partner with the research and innovation centre as part of its brand-new Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies and Systems (SSTS) research programme. 

The first of its kind initiative aims to rally stakeholders across the IC value chain to anticipate the environmental impact that choices made in the definition phase for chip technology. Over the years, the growing dependence on semiconductor technology and its intricate processes have been the largest contributors to the industry’s ecological footprint of high energy consumption the use of chemicals, scarce materials, ultrapure water and greenhouse gases.  

"Many systems companies are carbon neutral today for their corporate footprints and have expressed the ambition to have their entire carbon footprint to net zero by 2030. They are very committed to achieving that goal, yet often lack the data to decipher the IC part end-to-end. That is where imec comes in. We have that data, and are ready to support the industry with all necessary insights, tools, instruments and numbers," said Luc Van den hove, CEO of imec.

"Moreover, companies realise they can only become carbon neutral if their whole supply chain follows suit. So, that is the snowball effect we want to create – together with Apple – today: I would like to call upon the whole semiconductor value chain not to stand at the side, but to act as one and to join forces with us to cut back the entire semiconductor industry's ecological footprint," he added. 

Fighting Global Climate Change

Determined to contribute to the fight against climate change, resources depletion, and pollution, imec has launched its Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies and Systems (SSTS) research programme to develop a holistic approach to reducing the industry’s emissions. Research reveals that almost 75% of a mobile device’s CO2 emissions can be attributed to its fabrication (with almost half resulting from IC manufacturing).

“Using concrete and reliable models, and detailed (carbon) footprint analyses, the program will help the IC-making industry cut back on its ecological footprint – as part of the global fight against climate change, resources depletion and pollution,” said imec.

"It is a programme drawing on our widely acclaimed fab expertise. It combines imec's insights in infrastructure, technology and machinery to help the complete IC value chain reduce its ecological footprint. Our aim is to inform partners of the environmental impact of certain choices made at chip technology's definition phase. That holistic view – consisting of concrete and reliable models, and detailed (carbon) footprint analyses – is what sets our SSTS program apart," concluded Luc Van den hove.

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