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Semiconductors industry entities design or manufacture semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, their raw materials and components, or capital equipment. Some entities in the industry provide outsourced manufacturing, assembly or other services for designers of semiconductor devices.

Relevant Issues (9 of 26)

Why are some issues greyed out? The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Semiconductors

GHG Emissions
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Entities in the Semiconductors industry generate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly those from perfluorinated compounds, from semiconductor manufacturing operations. GHG emissions may create regulatory compliance costs and operating risks for semiconductors entities, although resulting financial effects may vary depending on the magnitude of emissions and the prevailing emissions regulations. Entities that cost-effectively manage GHG emissions through greater energy efficiency, the use of alternative chemicals or manufacturing process advances may benefit from improved operating efficiency and reduced regulatory risk.
Energy Management
  • Energy Management in Manufacturing

    Energy is a critical input for manufacturing semiconductor devices. The price of conventional grid electricity and volatility of fossil fuel prices may increase because of evolving climate change regulations and new incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy, among other factors, while alternative energy sources become more cost-competitive. Decisions regarding energy sourcing and type, as well as alternative energy use, may create trade-offs related to the energy supply’s cost and reliability for operations. As industry innovation adds complexity to manufacturing processes, new technologies to manufacture semiconductors may consume more energy unless entities invest in the energy efficiency of their operations. The way an entity manages energy efficiency, reliance on different types of energy, the associated sustainability risks, and alternative energy source access may affect financial performance.
Water & Wastewater Management
  • Water Management

    Water is critical to the semiconductor production process, which requires significant volumes of ‘ultra-pure’ water for cleaning purposes, to avoid trace molecules from affecting product quality. As manufacturing becomes more complex, entities in the industry are discovering the importance of reducing ultra-pure water use. Water is becoming a scarce resource around the world, because of increasing consumption from population growth and rapid urbanisation, and reduced supplies because of climate change. Furthermore, water pollution in developing countries makes available water supplies unusable or expensive to treat. Without careful planning, water scarcity may result in higher supply costs, social tensions with local communities and governments, or loss of water access in water-scarce regions, thereby presenting a critical risk to production. Semiconductor entities that increase water use efficiency during manufacturing may maintain a lower risk profile and face reduced regulatory risks as local, regional and national environmental laws place increasing emphasis on resource conservation.
Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
  • Waste Management

    Semiconductor manufacturing requires hazardous materials, many of which are subject to environmental, health and safety regulations, and generate harmful waste, which may be released into the environment in the form of water and air emissions, as well as solid waste. The handling and disposal of hazardous wastes produced during manufacturing may result in increased operating costs, capital expenditures, and in some instances, regulatory costs. Entities that reduce waste produced during manufacturing and ensure it is reused, recycled or disposed of appropriately may achieve a lower risk profile and face reduced regulatory risks as local, regional and national environmental laws place increasing emphasis on resource conservation and waste management.
Employee Health & Safety
  • Workforce Health & Safety

    The long-term effects of chemical usage in semiconductor manufacturing on worker health is a major area of concern for the industry. Workers in fabrication facilities, particularly maintenance workers, are at risk of exposure to chemicals known to be hazardous to human health. Violations of health and safety standards may result in monetary penalties and additional costs of corrective actions, with effects on net profits and contingent liabilities. Furthermore, such violations also may result in non-monetary penalties and reputational impacts which may decrease revenues, as well as market share. Effective management of health and safety issues include implementing effective engineering controls, introducing less hazardous chemicals if possible or using smaller amounts, and seeking chemicals presenting the fewest risks to the workforce. In addition to protecting brand value, entities taking these measures may also protect themselves from adverse legal outcomes related to both regulated and unregulated hazardous substances.
Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Recruiting & Managing a Global & Skilled Workforce

    Employees are important contributors to value creation in the Semiconductors industry. Entities face competition and challenges in recruiting qualified employees globally, including electrical engineers, research scientists and process engineers. Compensation for such employees is a significant cost component for the industry. Semiconductors entities may improve their competitive positioning by establishing education, training and recruitment policies that develop and leverage the talents of skilled, global employees to meet their human capital needs. Such initiatives may help drive innovation and improve worker productivity, thereby improving access to new markets and possible new sources of revenue, while also creating a more engaged workforce and reducing employee turnover.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
  • Product Lifecycle Management

    As an increasing number of devices become connected to each other and to the internet, semiconductor entities face greater demand for products that increase computing power and decrease energy costs. Semiconductor machinery and device manufacturers may reduce the environmental and human health impacts of their products by increasing the energy-efficiency of equipment and chips and reducing the use of harmful materials in products. As consumer demand grows for energy-efficient devices that increase battery life, reduce heat output and decrease energy consumption, semiconductor manufacturers that satisfy these may gain a competitive advantage, driving revenue and market share growth. Entities also may benefit from reducing the use of toxic materials from chips destined for consumer devices, which has implications for the end-of-life management of electronic waste, an issue of growing legislative importance in many countries.
Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
  • Materials Sourcing

    Entities in the Semiconductors industry rely on numerous critical materials as important inputs for finished products. Many of these inputs have few or no available substitutes and often are sourced from only a few countries, many of which may be subject to geopolitical uncertainty. Other sustainability impacts related to climate change, land use, resource scarcity and conflict in regions where the industry’s supply chain operates are also increasingly shaping the industry’s ability to source materials. Additionally, increased competition for these materials because of growing global demand from other sectors may result in price increases and supply risks. The management of potential materials shortages, supply disruptions, price volatility and reputational risks is made more difficult by the practice of commonly sourcing materials from supply chains that often lack transparency. Failure to effectively manage this issue may constrain access to necessary materials, reduce margins, impair revenue growth or increase costs of capital.
Competitive Behaviour
  • Intellectual Property Protection & Competitive Behaviour

    Although intellectual property (IP) protection is inherent to the Semiconductors industry business model, entities’ IP practices may be a contentious social issue. IP protection can be an important driver of innovation, but some entities may also acquire and enforce patents and other IP protection to restrict competition, particularly if they are dominant market players. Industry standard-setting can involve complex negotiations over patent rights and licensing terms, and entities use cross-licenses and patent pools to address difficulties around patent thickets. However, such industry cooperation also may raise antitrust concerns, for example, with provisions in portfolio cross-licenses that could enable price fixing. Adverse legal or regulatory rulings related to antitrust and IP may expose software and IT services entities to costly and lengthy litigations and potential monetary losses as a result. Such rulings may also affect an entity’s market share and pricing power, if its patents or dominant position in important markets are challenged legally, with significant financial consequences. Therefore, entities that balance the IP protection and its use to spur innovation and ensure their IP management and other business practices do not unfairly restrict competition may reduce regulatory scrutiny and legal actions while protecting market value.

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