AMD and Apple foundry, TSMC, promises to cut emissions to net zero by 2050

TSMC semiconductor manufacturing process showing multiple wafers stacked up
(Image credit: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd)

The company responsible for almost the entirety of AMD's processors and graphics cards, and both next-gen consoles, TSMC, has outlined a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It's no secret that manufacturing semiconductors uses a lot of energy and resources. You'd think power, for one, but water too is required in huge amounts during the chipmaking process. That's why it's especially important, as we all try and cut our carbon footprint, that major manufacturers are following suit. 

And we're starting to see that now, such as TSMC's latest sustainability promise:

"TSMC is deeply aware that climate change has a severe impact on the environment and humanity. As a world-leading semiconductor company, TSMC must shoulder its corporate responsibility to face the challenge of climate change," Dr. Mark Liu, chairman of TSMC, says. "In addition to becoming the world’s first semiconductor company to join RE100, this year we have answered the call to action on net zero and published our TCFD report, aiming to broaden our green influence and drive the industry towards low-carbon sustainability."

TSMC says it will aim to cut its emissions growth by 2025, reduce emissions to 2020 levels by 2030, and then hit net zero by 2050.

There's a long way to go before the actual chipmaking process can be considered eco-friendly, so we're likely to see a mix of tactics used by the silicon spinning giant to live up to its promise. It says these include mitigation measures, more green innovations, and more renewable energy usage.

Energy consumption accounts for 62% of TSMC's emissions, The Guardian reports, so a big part of this promise will be diving into more renewable energy sources. It also says TSMC recently purchased unfettered access to a new Ørsted wind farm in the Taiwan Strait, near to where most of the companies' major operations are located.

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But will TSMC's 2050 promise be enough or come quick enough? Those are good questions to ask not only for Earth's sake but even TSMC's long list of clients. Large tech companies are beginning to ramp up their own sustainability pledges, and, as 9-to-5 Mac cleverly points out, TSMC is actually caught up in one of them.

Apple, one of TSMC's largest clients today, aims to have a net zero emissions supply chain by 2030, which is some 20 years ahead of TSMC's pledge. So those two will be discussing what their options are at some point in the near-future.

Of course, it's not just TSMC or Apple with the burden of the responsibility here. Every tech company has a large part to play in reducing C02 emissions worldwide, and at least TSMC's pledge goes to show there's really no excuse for not taking sustainability seriously.

If semiconductor manufacturers can cut emissions, so can just about anyone.

Speaking of being more eco-friendly with your electronics, let's talk about e-waste and what to do with it.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.