Applied Materials' Collaborative Pathway to Net Zero

By Chris Librie
Jul 21, 2023 4:45 PM ET

SEMICON West 2023 is now in the rear-view mirror, yet its impact will be felt for many years to come. For the first time in my experience as a sustainability professional, I witnessed industry leaders coming to grips with an inherent contradiction: the promise of semiconductors marching toward becoming a $1 trillion market, while simultaneously creating a path to Net Zero carbon emissions. The industry’s growth and carbon footprint are invariably linked, presenting an enormous challenge that we must meet as an industry.

Applied Materials President and CEO Gary Dickerson presented a keynote titled, “A Collaborative Pathway to Net Zero,” where he delivered a call to action for the entire semiconductor industry to get serious about collaborating to execute real, achievable plans to reach Net Zero in carbon emissions. Gary shared Applied’s playbook for Net Zero – a framework we’ve been developing for more than a year. Significantly, that playbook goes beyond our own Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, which come from running the company and from the energy we purchase. In fact, Applied has made great progress in reducing our Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which Gary shared and you can read more about in our latest Sustainability Report.

However, the bulk of Gary’s talk was about Applied’s Scope 3 emissions, the upstream emissions from our supply chain and the downstream emissions from the use of our products by customers. Since these are not in our direct control, you might say that’s someone else’s problem. But Applied agrees with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) framework, which says companies need to influence their Scope 3 emissions as well to achieve Net Zero.

It’s not an easy task. Gary showed that as we grow industry revenue, we grow carbon emissions. In fact, as the new AI and IoT computing era promises to double semiconductor revenue by around 2030, carbon emissions are forecast to quadruple. If we don’t collaborate to bend that curve as semiconductors become more pervasive throughout the economy and society, our industry won’t become more sustainable.

That’s what the playbook is all about. Gary showed the pathway for Applied to get to Net Zero. And it’s a playbook that other companies can evaluate for their own Net Zero strategies. We stand ready to work with the entire industry ecosystem, and we’re grateful for the comments Micron, ST Microelectronics and Schneider Electric contributed to Gary’s keynote. Applied is also excited to join Intel as a founding member of the new Catalyze program announced by Schneider Electric at SEMICON West. We have posted Gary’s SEMICON West keynote slides and prepared remarks on our website.

Let’s collaborate to make possible a better, more sustainable future!