Other reports


TAG overview

Within our Electronics business sector, we are committed to shaping the digital transformation in a sustainable way. Guided by our commitment to sustainability, we embrace a comprehensive approach in assessing and developing our product portfolio. This starts at the R&D stage and includes supporting our customers with their sustainability endeavors and actively collaborating with our partners in the industry to help solve existing sustainability challenges.

Our approach to sustainable product design

In our Electronics business sector, we aim to reduce any potential adverse environmental impacts caused by the manufacture, packaging, transportation, use, and disposal of our products. We aim to embed sustainability into our operations and apply strict sustainability criteria to prioritize new green and innovative materials that deliver sustainable value to our customers. We also believe in the importance of collaboration to reach ambitious sustainability goals and proactively engage in partnerships with our customers to collectively drive more sustainable value creation.

Our holistic approach comprises the following elements:

  • Sourcing responsibly: As a member of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, we support the responsible sourcing of minerals, such as tantalum, tin, tungsten, gold, and cobalt. Our efforts help the respective supply chains make positive contributions to global, social and economic development.
  • R&D: In 2023, we continued to implement a sustainability scorecard, which enables us to focus on sustainable criteria while developing products and solutions across all Electronics R&D projects. All our R&D projects successfully underwent sustainability assessments using this scorecard. Its detailed evaluations offer a comprehensive overview of our innovation portfolio and how it contributes toward our own sustainability goals as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
  • Process development: We have implemented a digital tool that automatically calculates sustainability indicators, including process mass intensity as well as solvent and water intensity. It enables us to perform carbon footprint modeling and analyze the impact of recycling as well as the energy needed for individual process steps. It also enables R&D scientists to select the most sustainable synthesis route as early as possible. The tool helps us to more effectively steer our future portfolio.
  • Sustainability Performance Assessment of the current product portfolio: In 2023, we continued the pilot review of our product portfolio to understand its sustainability profile and determine whether greener and equally effective chemistry alternatives are available. A multi-functional team is working to establish a process that puts greater emphasis on the sustainability and green chemistry aspects of our product portfolios. Our Product Sustainability Committee oversees the sustainability assessment process and results.
  • Contributing to our customers’ sustainability goals: We work to establish partnerships with our customers to optimally understand how our products and activities can contribute to their sustainability goals and to work towards solving the sustainability challenges of our industry. For example, we are actively involved in collaborations to develop and produce new process gases with a lower global warming potential. We also established a partnership to fund a new academic research program for more sustainable innovations in the semiconductor industry.
  • Continuous improvement through digitalization: We aim to strengthen the use of data and digital solutions to further improve processes and implement sustainable changes. For example, we have analyzed the carbon emission drivers at the production batch level for a selected product. The proposed re-design of the process has enabled our teams to implement new and innovative steps that have reduced waste by approximately 35% compared with the original production batch. Carbon emissions have also been reduced through the application of the re-designed process.
Roles and responsibilities

We have implemented a sustainability governance structure across our Electronics business sector to ensure that we effectively implement our sustainability strategy across all Electronics business units. Since mid-2023, three different committees – the Commercial Leadership Board, the Supply Chain Leadership Board and the Technology Leadership Board – have been taking sustainability-related decisions, each in their area of expertise and responsibility. In addition, a dedicated sustainability program team coordinates sector-related sustainability activities. The team orchestrates key initiatives across all our Electronics business units in support of our sustainability strategy. In 2023, we also established an Electronics-wide sustainability network to closely connect sustainability experts and representatives across our business and to ensure integration and alignment of activities.

Our commitment: Adhering to chemicals and product policies

Product safety is one of our highest priorities. Starting at the development stage, we investigate potential adverse impacts that chemical substances may have. We aim to meet all statutory requirements along the entire value chain for our chemicals. 

Within our Surface Solutions business unit, we aim to meet the strict standards of the EU Cosmetics Regulation for all our raw materials intended for the cosmetics industry. In addition, these raw materials should be produced in line with Good Manufacturing Practices for Cosmetic Ingredients (EFfCI GMP).

Adhering to the Convention on Biological Diversity

We support the general principles laid out in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), especially the third objective: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Nagoya Protocol. This is an international supplementary agreement to the CBD. A key element of this principle is access and benefit-sharing, which ensures that countries providing genetic resources and traditional knowledge also benefit from their use.

We apply a Group-wide standard entitled Access to Genetic Resources, the objective of which is to define requirements, roles and responsibilities to ensure compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, even in countries that are not party to it.

We have established an internal exchange across our business sectors for aligning and sharing information on initiatives related to access and benefit sharing. In 2022, we successfully filed a due diligence declaration for two product developments with a genetic resource to the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) in accordance with current EU regulations. Based on one of the BfN’s recommendations, we established a collaboration with the University of Oldenburg (Germany) in 2023. This new information exchange aims to clarify the practical implementation processes and enable improvements for authorities and the industry.

A wide range of solutions

Colloida silica

We began introducing next-generation colloidal silica products with increased efficiency, significantly reducing the amount of silica required per wafer. This supports the efforts of our customers in the semiconductor materials industry to use more environmentally sustainable materials, while improving performance and reducing costs. Our latest particle designs can achieve a 60% to 90% reduction compared with the original formulations. This innovation also enables silica to be supplied in concentrated form, reducing its packaging and transportation requirements by a similar degree. Customer feedback has been promising and we are continuing to work together to integrate these new products and reduce the environmental footprint of semiconductor manufacturing.

NMP-free removers

The production process for semiconductor devices requires numerous cleaning steps to remove the photoresists used to pattern the circuit design. These cleaning methods require complex solvent chemistries that selectively remove these photoresists without damaging the sensitive electronic components.

In many cases, however, the most effective solvents also pose significant environmental hazards. For example, NMP, a mainstream solvent common in wafer cleaning, is highly toxic and classified as an SVHC (Substance of Very High Concern) under the European Union’s REACH regulation. In response, we have continued expanding our portfolio of formulated cleaners and have committed to not using NMP in new product development.

PFAS replacement program

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have unique chemical properties and are widely used in our daily lives. Today, the highly complex manufacturing of chips is impossible without process chemicals containing PFAS. At the same time, persistent PFAS exposure may lead to adverse effects for the environment and human health. We therefore support the search for PFAS substitutes and are actively conducting our own research in this area. We also work in close consultation with our customers on products and solutions for replacing PFAS. We already offer alternative products for some applications. For example, we have made progress in replacing PFAS surfactants in our products with non-PFAS alternatives in photoresists, solvent-based bottom antireflective coatings as well as rinse solutions and are transitioning our customers to the new versions.

Dynamic liquid crystal glazing

Liquid crystal dynamic window glazing automatically adjusts its tint level within seconds based on weather conditions. The self-darkening glazing effectively regulates glare and solar heat gain without blocking the view. As a result, it increases occupants’ visual and thermal comfort while reducing life cycle GHG emissions by 40% compared with conventional outside shading. We offer these products under the eyrise® brand. Real estate investors regard eyrise® as an important way to help them deliver on their ESG targets and have installed more than 10,000 m2 of our product since its launch in the premium commercial segment in 2021.

Natural cosmetic ingredients

We continuously work with our partners in the cosmetics industry to find more natural cosmetic ingredients that comply with strict criteria. As of the end of 2023, 103 of our cosmetic pigments and active ingredients had been confirmed to be compliant with Ecocert’s COSMOS standard for organic and natural cosmetics. The review, based on COSMOS’s new standard version 4.0, was completed for 98 cosmetic ingredients. We have also obtained halal certificates for all our cosmetic ingredients.

Vegan cosmetic products

A growing number of consumers view the use of non-animal and non-animal derived ingredients, i.e. vegan and plant-based raw materials, as a critical product attribute. Therefore, the majority of our cosmetic raw materials, including our special effect pigments and functional fillers, contain no components of animal origin, by-products or derivatives and are thus suitable for vegan cosmetics.

Making product packaging more sustainable

Our Electronics business sector uses a variety of packaging types, each tailored to the specific needs of the individual business units and with its own unique sustainability characteristics.

Reusable packaging

The packaging for specialty gases, thin films and some patterning products manufactured by Semiconductor Materials is designed to be reused. Our reusable packaging types include various sizes of cylinders and tube trailers for bulk specialty gases, smaller stainless steel and quartz containers for thin films and totes and drums made of high-density polyethylene for patterning.

Once our customers have used the product inside the container, the used containers are returned to our production facility for cleaning, refurbishment and refilling. This cycle greatly reduces the number of containers to be disposed of. It reduces demand for the manufacture of new containers and the associated resource requirements, thus moving us closer to a circular economy.

Plastic drum recycling

Our facility in Dallas, Texas (USA) specializes in producing materials and solutions for the semiconductor industry, with a focus on the planarization product portfolio. Typically, these raw materials are transported in plastic drums that are ultimately discarded as waste at the end of the production process. We have successfully developed ways to shred the drums and convert them to high-density polyethylene, a new raw material with multiple applications. Through this initiative, we processed more than 64 metric? tons of waste and eliminated drum disposal costs. We also expanded the reach and benefits of this recycling solution by processing waste from a customer’s facility.

Recyclable packaging

For large quantities of products in our patterning and planarization business, we use totes for packaging. Totes are typically made of high-density polyethylene. One of our main tote suppliers has a recycling program in place that our customers can also use. Each tote from this supplier has a return ticket attached to it and the supplier picks up the used tote so that its parts can be reused or recycled.

Redesign packaging labeling approach

With Iriotec® 8000 pigments, we enable inkless printing with contact-free and durable laser marking technology. These pigments make it possible to mark plastics, which in turn makes them easier to trace and recycle, restoring value to used plastic packaging. The laser marking provides a unique identifier and acts as a digital product passport between the product and the database. It can replace ink and paper labels, reducing the waste associated with label removal.

In 2023, we showcased ways to improve the circularity of plastic packaging, highlighting the aesthetic appeal of effect pigments combined with the functionality of a laser marking additive in post-consumer recycling polymers. We collaborated with customers to demonstrate that recycling packaging containing effect pigments and laser marking has no impact on plastic sorting and provides attractive coloration after recycling. This approach enables the pigments to be reused in the production of new plastic products. We also started to promote this cosmetic packaging by using laser-marked, label-free tubes in our selected sample cosmetic kits.

Due diligence
Due diligence means a risk analysis exercised with particular care that is done in preparation for a business transaction, e.g. an acquisition.
Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)'
ESG represents an evaluation of a company’s collective conscientiousness for environmental, social and governance factors. An ESG score is compiled from data collected surrounding specific metrics related to intangible assets within the enterprise.
Good manufacturing practice (GMP)
A system for ensuring that products are consistently manufactured and controlled according to quality standards. These guidelines are used in the production of medicines, active pharmaceutical ingredients and cosmetics, as well as food and animal feed.
N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone is a polar aprotic compound that is miscible with water and has good solvency properties. NMP is used in the manufacture of polymers, semiconductors, batteries, and pharmaceuticals. The ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) has designated NMP as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) and included it in the candidate list for authorization.
An evaluation tool for measuring, documenting and controlling activities using metrics.
Thin films
A very thin layer (one atom or one molecule thick) of a substance deposited on a supporting material such as a semiconductor. Customers use our products to create such thin films.

Share this page: