Intel’s Challenge: Net-Zero GHGs Across Operations

Intel’s 2040 greenhouse gas reduction goal requires immense internal and external collaboration.




In April, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced plans to further reduce Intel’s direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and develop more sustainable technology solutions. Intel pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its global operations by 2040 to increase the energy efficiency and lower the carbon footprint of Intel products and platforms, and to work with customers and industry partners to build solutions that help communities mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

While a goal set nearly two decades into the future may seem far away for some industries, technology development cycles often take up to 10 years, which means 2040 is just around the corner. The critical work to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases in Intel’s operations is already under way, being spearheaded by the Technology Development and Manufacturing Supply Chain and Operations organizations, under the leadership of Dr. Ann Kelleher and Keyvan Esfarjani.

Dr. Ann B. Kelleher, executive vice president and general manager of Technology Development at Intel Corporation.

Being stewards of Moore’s Law means innovation is ingrained in our DNA.

Historically, innovation was looked at under the lens of engineering. Today, innovation must also be viewed under the lens of sustainability. Sustainability is not just a “do good” activity — chemical and water use, energy consumption, and waste disposal, all have an impact on our total cost of operations and affect the bottom line. 

I’m very proud that our cumulative greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade are nearly 75% lower than what they would be in the absence of investments and actions. To further reduce our emissions to net zero will be incredibly challenging.

It’s a long road from research to pathfinding to development and, finally, to high-volume manufacturing, when we’re shipping products to customers. This means our Technology Development research teams are thinking 10 or more years into the future. This also means that the work has already started to support a commitment as ambitious as our net-zero in operations greenhouse gas goal.  

Chemistry is critical to our industry — innovating to meet future regulatory impacts with greener and safer chemistry is imperative. A key part of our greenhouse gas footprint is the chemicals we use in our processes, many of which have spent 20 to 40 years in development. Finding suitable replacements for those could take a long time. This challenge isn’t unique to Intel. Our peers across the semiconductor manufacturing industry face it, too. That’s why we’ve committed to a cross-industry R&D initiative to identify greener chemicals.

There are unknowns for all our goals, but solving seemingly impossible challenges is what Intel does best. And we are very realistic about the challenges that lie ahead. We also know that no company can mitigate climate change on its own and we can only succeed if we learn and improve together.

On this journey, there will be a lot of learning and innovation, even frustration, but there will also be a lot of gains and rewards. Some of the changes may happen quickly; some will take many years. But if we don’t start the journey of many years now, we will never get there.

Keyvan Esfarjani, executive vice president, chief global operations officer and general manager of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations at Intel Corporation.

As a leading integrated device manufacturer, or IDM, Intel is uniquely positioned to drive sustainability in semiconductor manufacturing. One of the key benefits of our IDM 2.0 strategy is that it allows us to design the best products and manufacture them in the best way possible. I firmly believe that our long-standing commitment to sustainability creates value for society, the communities in which we operate, our investors and our customers.

At Intel, achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations requires immense internal and external collaboration, and significant innovation and investments within our operations. When new manufacturing processes are defined and qualified by Technology Development, our teams work together to build out new approaches across our global manufacturing network. New processes also require mobilizing hundreds of suppliers to deliver the required equipment, chemicals and gases at scale. We’re working with our suppliers to do this more efficiently and to drive sustainable practices throughout our value chain. Ultimately, our hope is to help the entire technology ecosystem get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

A key interim milestone on our journey to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 is achieving 100% renewable electricity across our operations by 2030. In 2021, we continued to make excellent progress, ending the year at 80% renewable electricity use globally and 100% in the U.S., Europe, Israel and Malaysia. As we set our sights on the remaining 20%, we’re working with local regulators to increase the availability of renewable electricity in our communities.

We’ve recently announced new manufacturing investments in the U.S. and Europe to meet the insatiable demand for semiconductors. We’re not slowing down on any of our sustainability commitments with this growth. Our new facilities will be built to LEED standards and we’re incorporating energy efficiency into the design of our factories.

Intel’s purpose is to create technology that enriches the life of every person on Earth. Our commitment to sustainability is key to making that a reality — technology can help lower the environmental footprint of many other industries. We are proud to design and manufacture more sustainable technology that supports the world’s digital transformation.

Intel is committed to the continued development of more sustainable products, processes, and supply chain as we strive to prioritize greenhouse gas reduction and improve our global environmental impact.  Where applicable, environmental attributes of a product family or specific SKU will be stated with specificity.  Refer to the 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report for further information.