[Memory for a Better Life] Explore How Semiconductors Create Better Lives for Humankind

By April 22, 2020 May 7th, 2020 No Comments

To greet the Earth Day, SK hynix is launching a new editorial series titled “Memory for a Better Life”, where we will look at how our technologies are shaping the world around us. The articles will show SK hynix’s concern for environmental issues, how we take the initiative with social responsibility, and further display how we are committed to creating a better life for the humankind.

SK hynix is continuing to implement its progressive environmental management agenda through a sustainable management strategy that will contribute to society and facilitate effective solutions for numerous social and environmental problems, as well as achieving financial growth in these areas.

Sustainability at SK hynix

Semiconductor manufacturing plants require a significant amount of energy and water to run every day. One manufacturing plant can use “anywhere between 2 to 4 million gallons of very, very pure water—we call it ultrapure water—per day,” according to IEEE Spectrum’s report Engineers of the New Millennium: The Global Water Challenge Special Report1. That is “roughly equivalent to the water usage of a city of maybe 40,000-50,000 people.” This is why continuous contribution to environmental conservation is so important for companies in this industry.

People like Technical Leader (TL) Lee Yong-Je at SK hynix’s Environment Team are one of the experts in this area, he emphasizes, “Semiconductors, which are rapidly increasing in demand due to the development of the fourth industry, require a large amount of chemicals and water for production.” He also says, “This requires active efforts to reduce usage as well as ensure proper disposal of contaminants.”

Figure 1. SK hynix ECO-mark

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From the establishment of our ‘Green Product Team’ in 2007 to our transition to phthalate-free products in 2015, SK hynix has always been focused on developing environment-friendly products with advanced technological competitiveness. Our commitment is shown on each product with a distinctive mark of a sprout and green wings to represent the rebirth of nature and symbolize SK hynix’s environmental management initiative. This “ECO-mark” conveys our passion to contribute to customers and society with ecological practices, and environmental awareness down to each employee.


Chart 1. SK hynix Green Product History
(For more information, please check out “Eco-Friendly Policy and Product.”)

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In fact, this year, SK hynix became the first Korean company to obtain the “Zero Waste to Landfill Validation” from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for all of its production sites across the world including Icheon and Cheongju sites in Korea, and Wuxi and Chongqing sites in China.

We continue to make efforts to manufacture eco-friendly products for environmental conservation, aligning with environmental regulation, and developing the product for mass production. And this determination to minimize the secondhand effects that may occur to nature are monitored throughout the entirety of each product’s life cycle – from production to abolition.

SK hynix establishes internal environmental standards greater than what is required by law to not only preserve the earth’s environment, but also to promote the industry to contribute as well to sustainable development. Our low-energy and low-carbon product process is designed for reducing the environmental stress adopted from the beginning of the product development, and therefore only uses those raw materials free from hazardous substances in production. Also, efforts are being made to regulate the additional disposal of hazardous substances by developing a substitute to do the same job even better and safer for the planet.

Looking ahead

As one of the globally leading semiconductor manufacturers, SK hynix is determined on delivering its legacy of highly competitive products while seeking to create both economic and social value.

To achieve this goal, in October 2018, SK hynix announced its “2022 ECO Vision” with both medium and long-term goals to create social value through eco-friendly semiconductor manufacturing plant management globally. SK hynix will continue its endeavor to become a leading company taking part in conserving the environment and resolving ecological problems for the next generation through its pioneering environmental management.

“SK hynix established 2022 ECO Vision by reflecting on the characteristics of manufacturing semiconductor products rather than simply dealing with contaminants and implementing regulations,” stated Lee Yong-Je. “In the future, 2022 ECO Vision will serve as a compass for environmental affairs and contribute to achieving happiness for stakeholders and local communities.”

In this series, we will continue to introduce SK hynix’s eco-friendly activities and define what that looks like through the lens of our company and the semiconductor industry as a whole. Our next article will go more into detail on SK hynix’s internal efforts to be eco-friendly, and will introduce some of our eco-friendly practices that are related to 2022 ECO Vision. Until then, Happy Earth Day from SK hynix!

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1“Engineers of the New Millennium: The Global Water Challenge Special Report”, Aug 2009, IEEE Spectrum.