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Author: JohnQuixote Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2247  
Subject: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/9/2000 6:54 PM
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Foolishjk wrote, Meanwhile, I have an SRI question: 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)? Also, what about their manufacturing processes? Does anybody know whether their manufacturing processes produce nasty byproducts and how those byproducts (if any) are handled?

Excellent question, Foolishjk! I'm eager to hear whatever responses may come! (Hence I decided to put this under it's own subject heading.)

Cheers!
John Quixote

P.S.
Just a few minutes ago I posted a similar question regarding another semiconductor maker. See http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13669046

This company, Cree, is altogether incomparable to Intel except for the fact that they both make semiconductors. Cree makes super-bright LEDs, radio-frequency chips, and Silicon Carbide (SiC) powerchips (used in heavy electrical control equipment), and has an entirely different market than Intel. I understand that shareprices for Intel and the other semi-makers have been falling lately on news of computer-chip industry slow-downs. While Cree's price is also dropping, these computer-chip industry woes are not applicable to Cree. Might be a good time to check it out! Here's a good starting point for your DD: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13664948

;-)
JQ

(Note: This is not a recommendation. I make plenty of mistakes. Do your own DD and you might be as tickled as I was to learn about this neat company!)
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Author: arosaen One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1288 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 2:42 AM
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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)? Also, what about their manufacturing processes? Does anybody know whether their manufacturing processes produce nasty byproducts and how those byproducts (if any) are handled?


I think that environmental responsibility has a lot to do with relative performance. I suppose one could say that manufacturing chips at all is not socially responsible, but if you're reading this you probably realize how un-practical this view is. My understanding is that one of the reasons that chip manufacturers use so much water is that it's a hellova lot better than the toxic solvent baths they would use to clean things if the environment were not to be considered. That being said, they could probably use less water, they could make the printed-wiring boards more recyclable, and lots of other stuff.

I don't know anything about Intel in particular, but I think it is possible to consider a chip manufacturer to be socially responsible if they are a leader in figuring out ways to pollute less, use less non-renewable resources, etc., and implement these methods.

I've only been participating (okay, mostly lurking) on this board for a little while, but it seems like it's an age-old SRI debate: is it possible to be a socially responsible company in an inherently environmentaly un-friendly industry? My personal opinion is that it is possible to be responsible by being a leader in changing the industry toward environmental benigness, even if getting there seems really far away. Otherwise it would be hard to find many companies that are environmentally friendly enough already to be considered socially responsible. This is because all companies were created and have evolved in an economy that rewards environmental (and social for that mater) apathy with cash. I think we should acknowledge the ones who are moving against the tide by bringing us in the direction of sustainability, even if we're not even close yet.

my two cents.

arosaen


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Author: foolishjk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1289 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 8:27 AM
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Hi John!

Many thanks for the new thread. I'll be interested in the responses as well.

Foolishjk

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Author: foolishjk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1292 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 9:15 AM
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Hi arosen!

As usual, cogent reply! Thanks.

I think that environmental responsibility has a lot to do with relative performance. I suppose one could say that manufacturing chips at all is not socially responsible, but if you're reading this you probably realize how un-practical this view is.

Agreed. If I've learned one thing about SRI, it's that there are tradeoffs. I suppose if one can't live with tradeoffs, one should look elsewhere for investing ideas.

My understanding is that one of the reasons that chip manufacturers use so much water is that it's a hellova lot better than the toxic solvent baths they would use to clean things if the environment were not to be considered.

This is extremely helpful.

I think it is possible to consider a chip manufacturer to be socially responsible if they are a leader in figuring out ways to pollute less, use less non-renewable resources, etc., and implement these methods.

That's what I hope to determine, both about Intel and other chip companies.

an age-old SRI debate: is it possible to be a socially responsible company in an inherently environmentaly un-friendly industry? My personal opinion is that it is possible to be responsible by being a leader in changing the industry toward environmental benigness, even if getting there seems really far away. Otherwise it would be hard to find many companies that are environmentally friendly enough already to be considered socially responsible. This is because all companies were created and have evolved in an economy that rewards environmental (and social for that mater) apathy with cash. I think we should acknowledge the ones who are moving against the tide by bringing us in the direction of sustainability, even if we're not even close yet.

Very well put! I could not agree more strongly. It may be that others on this board will disagree, but my feeling, like yours, is "reward honest striving." Assuming the numbers work. :-)

Thanks again.

Foolishjk



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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: 1302 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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Author: foolishjk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1303 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 12:49 PM
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Susan,

Many thanks for the boatloads of info! You've given me some food for thought on Intel.

I mainly asked about them originally because, as the biggest chip maker, there would be lots of info.

I'll be getting a start soon on looking at chip manufacturing companies and will let you know if I turn up anything.

Thanks again,

Foolishjk

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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: 1305 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/10/2000 1:31 PM
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Thanks jk,
I'd appreciate any info you'd like to share. SRI DD can be tough, especially when you're not sure which sources to trust. I think the ones I gave you are pretty reliable, but it always helps to get another opinion.

As for INTC, there seems to be some question right now about how good a financial bet they currently are. (Right now they're down about 50% from where I bought them. Ouch!) But, as I'm sure you've heard, the good thing about the market is that it ultimately goes back up. So I'm with Intel for the looooooooong haul. Hence, I'll be watching them for some time and will likewise let you know if I read of any new developments.
Cheers :0)
Susan

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Author: JohnEBgood Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1314 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/13/2000 11:58 PM
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This is my first post on this board....Susan got
my attention by her very interesting post on the
Intel board.

I have to say that it never occurred to me that
chip-making is such a "dirty business"....and I'll
bet that most citizens are totally unaware!
(unless, I guess, they happen to have a factory
in their backyard)

If you don't mind, I'll use this forum to air a
pet peeve of mine. While I agree wholeheartedly
that we need to watch and control envirnomental
damage by industry, people always seem to forget
that environmental awareness begins at home .

An example related to Intel? Well...I'm sitting
here typing this on the keyboard of a 5 yr old
Dell PC with a Pentium 100 chip. It has served
me well, but it's clearly time to upgrade.

For about $900, I can get a new Pentium III @
800MHz, a 7.5 gig hard drive, 64MB SDRAM.....
a free year of AOL, new software, etc.
(I do NOT own Dell stock, BTW)

My point is that it would be silly to upgrade
my current PC piecemeal....so I'm sure I'll buy
a new one. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE OLD ONE ????

I've seen dumpsters FILLED with "obsolete" PC's.

Sadly....unless I think of a reasonable way to
recycle all this hardware....it may find its way
into the trash with its cousins.

I really wonder what is the enviromental impact of
such waste....compared that produced by, say, all
the Intel chip factories in the world.

As I sad....I'm all for SRI...and I'm glad
to find this board. I hope that you understand my
concerns...since it seems that the general public
wants to blame big industry for all our environmental problems (ask Al Gore!)

Jack

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Author: BankerNoMore Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 1316 of 2247
Subject: Re: Intel socially & envir'ly responsible? Date: 11/14/2000 2:57 AM
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Jack,

When you upgrade just donate your PC.

There are probably many organizations that would be pleased to take it.

If you're unsure who might be interested, you might check with a school, Salvation Army, Goodwill, or a library - someone will either take it or have some thoughts.

Many folks actually still don't have computers (or at least ones of that strength).

Dave



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