Article AbstractSustainability Standards and Metrics: Reach for ANSI-ISO?
Thomas P. Redick; Global Environmental Ethics Counsel
To remain competitive in the global marketplace for customers and investors, semiconductor equipment manufacturing will need to stay one step ahead of emerging sustainability" standards. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), US representative to the ISO (International Standards Organization) provides accreditation and publishes standards for over 250 standard-developing organizations involved in the manufacture, import, export, processing, distribution, and use of various products, including semiconductor equipment. Existing and new ANSI-ISO standards are emerging defining sustainability and life cycle analysis" (LCA) in various industries, with semiconductor manufacturers facing challenges to define their footprint (from climate emissions to hazardous waste or energy use). As sustainability" becomes a broad movement that encourages companies to go beyond compliance" in the semiconductor industry, industry standards will play a key part in making business operations and products more sustainable" with standards that define metrics for measuring progress toward sustainability objectives. This article will give a brief overview of various relevant sustainability initiatives and standard-setting processes, outline the obligations this can entail for the supply chain and explain how to avoid 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 closing, the article suggests making the best use of various standard-setting processes to bring a new concept (Moore's Corollary" to Moore's Law") into existence, so that doubling of computer memory can be parallel to doubling the rate of emissions reductions every two years.