Intel targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions in its global operations by 2040, putting together a multi-pronged initiative will span across the chipmaker supply chain – from sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution and use of its products.
It’s priority is to cut down its own carbon emissions – known Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources. They are emissions released into the atmosphere as a direct result of a company's activities. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy from a utility provider. They are GHG emissions released in the atmosphere from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling.
“The impact of climate change is an urgent global threat. Protecting our planet demands immediate action and fresh thinking about how the world operates. Intel is in a unique position to make a difference not only in our own operations, but in a way that makes it easier for customers, partners and our whole value chain to take meaningful action too,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel chief executive officer.
To realise this ambitious goal, Intel has set the following interim milestones for 2030:
- Achieve 100% renewable electricity use across its global operations.
- Invest approximately US$300 million in energy conservation at its facilities to achieve 4 billion cumulative kilowatt hours of energy savings.
- Build new factories and facilities to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED program standards, including recently announced investments in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
- Launch a cross-industry R&D initiative to identify greener chemicals with lower global warming potential and to develop new abatement equipment.
Intel’s net-zero emission announcement follow on the heels of tech giants that have come out with the same commitment. Microsoft vowed to be carbon negative by reversing carbon emissions for its corporate lifetime by 2050. Apple committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. Google claimed in 2020 to have already eliminated its carbon legacy.
A catalyst for industry-wide action to combat climate change
Meanwhile, the chipmaker is also committed to addressing climate impacts throughout its upstream and downstream value chain, also known as Scope 3 emissions.
Intel plans to partner with suppliers and customers to take aggressive action to reduce overall emissions. To date, the company is actively engaged with its suppliers to identify areas of improvement, including increasing supplier focus on energy conservation and renewable energy sourcing, increasing chemical and resource efficiencies, and leading cross-industry consortia to support the transition to a net-zero greenhouse gas semiconductor manufacturing value chain.
To accelerate progress, Intel is committed to partnering with suppliers to drive supply chain greenhouse gas emissions to at least 30% lower by 2030 than they would be in the absence of investment and action.
“Intel has been a leader in sustainability results for decades. With leadership comes responsibility. We’re now raising the bar and entering an exciting era to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2040,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, executive vice president and chief global operations officer at Intel. “This will require significant innovation and investment, but we are committed to do what it takes and will work with the industry to achieve this critical mission.”
Furthermore, Intel hopes to help its customers to achieve their own net-zero goals by providing sustainable products. For one, Intel is setting a new goal to achieve a five times increase in performance per watt for its next generation CPU-GPU, Falcon Shores. The company remains committed to its 2030 goal to increase product energy efficiency by 10 times for client and server microprocessors.
Collaborative innovations toward sustainable solutions
Intel has also set a new goal to lower emissions related to reference platform designs for client form factors by 30% or more by 2030. These efforts are taking shape with Dell’s Concept Luna prototype device, developed in partnership with Intel to showcase future possibilities for sustainable PC design.
“Collaboration is key if we want to find solutions to the significant environmental issues the world is grappling with. Intel has been an important partner in this regard, helping us drive joint innovation supporting motherboard optimization, development of the bio-based printed circuit board and increasing system power efficiency in our Concept Luna device,” said Glen Robson, chief technology officer for the Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies. “The ambition behind this ongoing work is to test, prove and evaluate opportunities to roll out innovative, sustainable design ideas at scale across our portfolio – it’s the only way we will sufficiently accelerate the circular economy and protect our planet for the generations to come.”
Also, Intel is collaborating with hundreds of customers and industry partners to create solutions that meet the need for exponentially more computing processing power, while running more efficiently and using less energy.
For instance, Intel is partnering to launch liquid immersion cooling pilot deployments for data centers across cloud and communications service providers, with companies such as Submer. This includes embracing new principles, such as heat recapture and reuse via immersion cooling.
“99% of heat generated by IT equipment can be captured in the form of warm water, practically without losses and at much higher temperatures. Through partnership with Intel, Submer is able to scale a validated immersive cooling solution that saves energy while providing the ability to capture and reuse the subsequent thermal heat,” said Daniel Pope, co-founder and CEO of Submer. “This will fundamentally change the way data centers are built and operated.”
Increasing access to renewable energy is a critical step in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Intel has developed a solution that can be integrated into existing energy grid infrastructure to create a smarter grid that can adapt to changing energy consumption needs and sources. Intel and some of the world’s largest utility operators formed the Edge for Smart Secondary Substations Alliance to modernize energy grid substations and better support renewable energy sources. France’s largest grid operator, Enedis, recently joined to upgrade its more than 800,000 secondary substations with solutions that provide real-time control across the network.
Intel’s programmable hardware and open software also deliver capabilities that enable greener solutions for customers. For example, within its data center that houses 5G communication facilities, Japan telecommunications operator KDDI reduced overall power consumption by 20% in a trial using Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel’s comprehensive power management and AI capabilities, giving it the ability to scale power consumption according to demand.