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Author: scdII Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2247  
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 12:32 PM
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Foolishjk asked:
why is Intel (or any other chip maker) considered "socially responsible" when their manufacturing processes consume enormous amounts of water? Is this water re-usable (like brown water from car washes for instance)?

As arosen's post suggested, chip manufacturing is a pretty dirty business, but it is rapidly improving, and it is possible to single out some companies for above average performance. In my SRI Report Card, I gave Intel a B+ for environmental consciousness. Although I'm beginning to feel that may have been a tad generous, they are still by far the best in their industry. Although they're not perfect, Intel has been working hard to reduce water usage and cut greenhouse gas emissions -- neither of which has risen appreciably despite the dramatic growth of their business. Intel also recycles about half of its solid waste and rewards its employees for achievements in environmental performance. Plus, they get brownie points for openness by publishing a detailed "Environmental Health and Safety Performance" report online (also available in PDF format) at http://www.intel.com/intel/other/ehs/prog4.htm
In addition, INTC has very good labor relations, great benefits, high diversity standards, and was at last count the #1 giver in the country to education-related causes.

Does anybody know whether their manufacturing processes produce nasty byproducts and how those byproducts (if any) are handled?
Here is a very technical list of all the chemicals used in or produced by the manufacture of semi-conductors (there are a ton of them): http://open.igc.org/svtc/inventory.htm
For info on the health effects of many of these substances, you can look them up individually at http://www.scorecard.org/chemical-profiles/
or you can wade through the links in this article titled "Global Semiconductor Health Hazards Exposed!" http://open.igc.org/svtc/natsem/natsem1.htm put out by this topic's chief watchdog, the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (http://open.igc.org/svtc/svtchome.htm).

This very helpful (and non-techie) site from Corporate Watch breaks down the components of a typical PC and assesses the environmental impact of each part: http://www.corpwatch.org/trac/feature/hitech/computer.html

As for that "age-old SRI debate: is it possible to be a socially responsible company in an inherently environmentaly un-friendly industry?"
I believe it is, but one has to be VERY wary of claims to that effect and do one's DD so that one doesn't fall for claims that are all PR and no substance (aka "Greenwashing"). Compare, for example, the evidence provided for Intel (a well-intentioned, progressive company in a problematic industry) with the recent discussion on BP-Amoco (IMHO, a company in an industry that is anti-environmental by definition, that disproportionately plays up its few environmentally friendly actions)http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13609829 .

Hope this helps!
Susan
(who has money in INTC, but doesn't offer investment advice, just SRI info)

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