Intel, best known for putting its technology inside all our electronic things, has released its 2017-2018 Corporate Responsibility Report that gives us outsiders insight into the work its doing to be more sustainable in its global operations. Intel’s operations are energy intensive and consume a significant volume of water so the environmental portion of the report is primarily focused on those, along with waste generation.
Water Usage Reduction
On the wet side of things, Intel has invested more than $237 million USD over the last 20 years in water conservation projects at its facilities around the world, resulting in savings of 60 billion gallons of water. Building on its long-standing commitment to water conservation, Intel made a corporate commitment in September 2017 to restore 100% of its global water by 2025.
A key step in this direction is Intel’s water recycling plant that is currently under construction in Hillsboro, Oregon. When the three-year construction project is complete, the plant will be able to recycle about 1 billion gallons per year, making it Intel’s largest water recycling plant in the world.
Intel has also been bullish on renewables and is already running its US and European operations off of 100% renewable power. Globally, that drops to an impressive 75% renewable energy mix. It is easy to gloss over Intel’s leadership in corporate adoption of renewable energy, but it has stood out for the last 10 years as a leader in voluntary renewable energy adoption as part of the US EPA’s Green Power Partnership (GPP) program.
The company isn’t just purchasing renewable energy certificates or power indirectly, it is also investing directly into renewable energy generation for its facilities around the world, and it has also doubled the number of on-site renewable energy projects since 2015. It has installed projects using 19 different technology applications including solar, wind, bio-energy, and chemical/fuel cell, to name a few.
In parallel, Intel is pushing to reduce the energy its facilities consume, pouring more than $185 million USD into approximately 2,000 energy conservation projects since 2012. These projects aren’t just sinkholes for green spending, they have driven reductions of 3 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy and returned $400 million in savings through the end of 2017 to the company.
Intel is not only looking at energy consumption, but also the emissions its operations produce. It has set a target of reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions by 10% on a per unit basis by 2020 from 2010 levels. To date, Intel has slashed direct GHG emissions by 20% on an intensity basis from 2010 levels.
On the waste front, Intel continues to make progress against its goal of zero waste to landfill by 2020:
“Intel achieved a recycling rate of 85 percent of its non-hazardous waste in 2017, and remained on track to achieve its goal of a 90 percent non-hazardous recycling rate by 2020. Intel is also on track to meet its 2020 goal of zero hazardous waste to landfill by 2020.”