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Innovation

Texas Instruments Goes Big in Sustainability

If you’re going to stick “Texas” at the front of your company name, you’d better have big plans and big ambitions. For Texas Instruments, that hasn’t been a problem. The Dallas-based company, which celebrates its 90th birthday this year, has built itself into a global technology powerhouse with its lineup of analog and embedded semiconductors sold to various industrial, automotive, electronics, communications equipment, and enterprise system markets. The company posted more than $14 billion in revenue last year and boasts 30,000 employees around the world.

Texas Instruments, or TI for short, doesn’t only think big in terms of business. It’s also a leading corporate citizen – so much so that it’s been named a Top 100 Best Corporate Citizen by 3BL Media for 21 straight years. The company’s efforts to lower its carbon footprint have drawn accolades as well. TI’s sustainability practices have been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index 13 years in a row, and it was the first semiconductor company to earn verification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Take a peek at Texas Instruments’ website, and you’ll find a vast, multi-pronged sustainability program designed to help the company operate more efficiently, conserve natural resources and materials, and greatly reduce its impact on the environment. As part of that program, TI has identified several areas where it looks to make improvements, including air emissions, greenhouse gases, building design, biodiversity, and energy consumption.

Here’s a look at some of the things TI is doing.

Air Emissions

TI’s goal here is to keep its air emissions below permitted limits. TI’s strategy to reach that goal includes the following:

  • Phasing out ozone-depleting substances in manufacturing support equipment
  • Using thermal oxidizers, catalysts, and abatement systems to reduce or remove pollutants before they are emitted
  • Improving building and equipment efficiency
  • Limiting the use of stationary combustion engines such as diesel generators. TI has already stopped using Class I and Class II ozone-depleting substances in its manufacturing processes, including those that are known or expected to have harmful effects on the stratospheric ozone layer.

Greenhouse Gases

In 2015 Texas Instruments set a five-year goal to reduce absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 15% by the end of 2020. It’s already ahead of that goal, having cut absolute emissions by 15.6% at the close of last year. The company’s program to reduce direct Scope 1 emissions – the energy and resulting carbon pollution owned or controlled directly – includes the following:

  • Installing efficient manufacturing technologies
  • Eliminating nonessential fluorinated gases, using alternative gases, and reusing gases
  • Installing thermal point-of-use abatement devices that treat the exhaust of gases used in semiconductor manufacturing

TI looks to reduce indirect Scope 2 emissions – those created by electricity, heat, and steam it buys for manufacturing or other operations – by improving efficiencies in its manufacturing systems, buildings, and tools. 

Building Design

TI’s focus here is on designing new buildings that require fewer natural resources and electricity. This not only saves money – but it also reduces the environmental impact of constructing new facilities. As part of the effort, the company has moved toward manufacturing plants that make 300-mm wafer fabrications. These plants produce less potent greenhouse gases than the older 150 and 200mm plants and also require less water and energy.

Meanwhile, TI has plans to close a pair of older manufacturing facilities in the Lone Star State and has begun construction on a new 300-mm advanced analog fabrication plant in Richardson, Texas.

“We expect that these changes will improve our environmental and financial performance,” Texas Instruments said on its website. “Moving production from 200 mm to the more efficient 300 mm reduces energy consumption per chip by approximately 56% and water consumption by about 21%.”

Biodiversity

TI’s biodiversity efforts include planting indigenous trees on its various business and manufacturing sites and taking part in community cleanup events in locations around the world. The company points to the work it did when a pair of storms affected its North Texas campuses in 2019. Texas Instruments teams planted more than 600 vitex, crape myrtle, chinkapin oak, pond cypress, and live oak trees at its Dallas site, replacing more than 250 mature native trees that were lost in the storms.

Energy Consumption

TI’s manufacturing operations account for about 90% of its total energy use, which makes them the focal point of its global energy strategy. Its goals in this area include the following:

  • Securing reliable, affordable, and renewable energy supplies
  • Building and retrofitting buildings and factories to optimize efficiency as well as using more efficient equipment
  • Designing and manufacturing semiconductor products that enable energy-efficient electronics, and investing in research and development to further reduce energy consumption. TI also stacks chips vertically in its product packaging, which reduces motherboard space as well as total energy and cooling costs in its customers’ end products

Running alongside Texas Instruments’ moves to reduce its carbon footprint are continued efforts to give back to the community. The company provided more than $31 million in philanthropic giving in 2019 alone.

Much of TI’s philanthropic focus is on education. Along with the Texas Instruments Foundation, TI last year provided a combined $7 million to U.S. education grants. 

Nearly all of the money donated will be used for improvements in kindergarten through 12th grade STEM education, with specific attention towards STEM teacher and principal effectiveness. Most grant recipients are nonprofit education partners in North Texas. More than 250,000 students and 7,000 educators will benefit from the grants – 93% of which target under-resourced students.

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