Life Cycle Thinking to Drive Green Chemistry in the Electronics Supply Chain

Organizers: Michael Kirschner, President, Design Chain Associates, LLC; Dr. Leo T. Kenny, President, Planet Singular; John Katz, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency

The supply chain of the electronics industry is long, vast and convoluted. Improving the sustainability of product and process chemistry is challenging because chemical selection is normally done (often far) upstream of the brand owners and, given the nature of the products, many electronics companies have little or no chemistry expertise. Poor and inadequate processes to connect downstream concerns and requirements regarding environmental/human health performance with upstream decision points limits opportunities for implementing green chemistry and engineering solutions.

Challenges include chemistry knowledge; toxicology expertise; supply chain communication and motivation; management engagement; material composition collection, information, and interpretation; lack of information on how suppliers use chemicals; a wide diversity in processes where chemicals are used, and lack of worker knowledge of – and control over – the hazards associated with the chemicals they use; intellectual property concerns; cost, volume, quality, and availability of solutions; and many others. But the industry is huge and innovative, and opportunities abound throughout it if adequate visibility and incentive can be provided to design out issues up front.

We seek speakers who can highlight where opportunities exist and solutions are needed; areas where solutions are being developed and implemented for materials, processes and products across the semiconductor and electronics design and manufacturing supply chains; and examples of how and where industry, academia and government can and are working together.