Liability Prevention via Sustainability Standards and Metrics

Redick, Thomas
(GEEC, LLC St. Louis MO 63105)

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To remain competitive in the global marketplace for customers and investors, as well as avoiding liability risks that regulators may miss, semiconductor equipment manufacturing will need to stay one step ahead of emerging “sustainability” standards, including the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC). In addition to the demands of the EICC, Global Reporting Initiative, and other international standards, new standards are coming out of the American National Standards Institute and other bodies on sustainability and “life cycle analysis”. Semiconductor manufacturers face challenges to define their footprint from climate emissions to hazardous waste, energy use or labor practices. Industry “sustainability” standards will play a key part in making business operations and products more “sustainable” and resilient against future liability risks and regulatory mandates. A solid standard will metrics for measuring progress toward sustainability objectives and document resource-conservation and savings for the corporate bottom line – including the measurable benefit of avoiding liability, recalls, or significant loss of market share. Mr. Redick will outline the obligations this can entail for the supply chain and how to use standards to prevent liability, and also avoid creating liability for “greenwashing” under US federal and state laws. A comparison to the challenges raised by Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) laws will be made, with LCA providing one tool to test the validity of such “precautionary approaches” to managing waste streams. In time, a “Moore’s Corollary” to “Moore’s Law” on doubling of computer memory could lead to parallel goals to doubling of emissions reductions every 18 months (or ten years) to a reasonable target. Keywords: Sustainability, Standards, semiconductor, ANSI, EPA, green procurement, climate change.

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