Water is a central resource to all aspects of life and business, therefore water management is a crucial element to ensure sustainable use of resources and safeguard business continuity.
We understand sustainable use of water as the efficient water management practices throughout all stages of our operations, always taking into account the water needs of surrounding communities.
We emphasized the high priority of this topic in the 2014 fiscal year by endorsing the UN’s “CEO Water Mandate”. This is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General that aims to promote a positive impact on the ongoing global water crisis by joining forces with global business leaders to advance water sustainability solutions. As an endorser, Infineon pledges to show continuing support to water preservation and conservation as seen in our environmental sustainability practices and concretely in the efficient management of water at our production sites.
According to the definition of the “World Business Council for Sustainable Development” (WBCSD), water stress begins with an available total amount of renewable water resources of less than 1,700 cubic meters per person in the population per year. We used the “Global Water Tool Version 2015” of the WBCSD to perform a risk analysis at country level. The results show that only our manufacturing site in Singapore is located in a water stress area. This site consists primarily of office and test operations with a comparatively low level of water consumption. Although during 2018 fiscal year only 0.63 percent of our total water volume was consumed there, we implemented measures to ensure efficient water use at site as well. Two buildings at site have been awarded the “Water Efficient Building” certificate of the local water authority “PUB”. Since March 2016 a technical innovation has made it possible to make more efficient use of the water in the cooling towers, reducing annual water requirements by more than 4,500 cubic meters.
Water consumption at Infineon:
The starting point for our successful water management is the published water balance. Infineon water supply is based on on-site sources (groundwater fed by surface water) and also on local suppliers. It's a fact that semiconductor industry in general requires water for production. However, at Infineon only a smaller part of the water withdrawal is consumed for that whereas a large part is used for cooling purposes only. So, actually approximately 60% of the water withdrawal is returned back to nature with equal or better quality than before.
The following graphic represents Infineon's water consumption and water intensity of the past 5 years.
Even though our increase in production led to a higher water consumption, our current water intensity per revenue is within the average of the last 5 years.
Additionally, we strive to improve water efficiency and to reduce water use. Therefore, we take several actions to increase our water recycling rate to use water more efficiently. For example, cooling water can be used afterwards to produce ultrapure water for manufacturing. Moreover, in some cases this ultrapure water can be also used for other purposes like washing processes.
Waste water is another priority in our water management. Only after all technical possibilities of water reuse are exploited, Infineon discharges its waste water directly or indirectly depending on its quality, local conditions and official permissions.