For more information, download the Product Stewardship section of our 2012/2013 Annual Corporate Responsibility Report
AMD’s graphics and computing technologies power a variety of devices including PCs, game consoles and the powerful computers and servers that drive the Internet and support businesses. As part of our design efforts, AMD strives to provide products that help our customers address modern computing workloads while minimizing environmental impacts.
Making Computing More Energy Efficient
AMD is dedicated to innovation in low power and energy-efficient computing, demonstrating this commitment through our product designs and sustainable business operations. We also work with other organizations that are dedicated to our vision of reducing energy use and making computing more environmentally friendly. These include industry partners, governments, nonprofit standards bodies and research institutions.
Green Grid: The Green Grid is a global information technology (IT) organization dedicated to energy efficiency and sustainability for computing and all aspects of data center operations. AMD is a founder and board member of The Green Grid.
Standards: AMD works closely with environmental sustainability standards to address environmentally sustainable and responsible design, manufacturing, operations and end-of-life management. One such organization is EPEAT® (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), an environmental rating organization that aims to help purchasers evaluate electronic products on the basis of sustainability guidelines.
AMD is also an active contributor to government energy efficiency standards, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star® program and its analogs around the world.
AMD processors influence the power consumption, and the accompanying GHG emissions, associated with the use of a broad range of technology products. From high-performance computers and commercial servers to consumer laptops, AMD strives to improve energy efficiency per unit of performance through the design of our semiconductor products.
In 2012, we continued our work to evaluate the GHG emissions associated with the lifecycle of our products by working with researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The researchers are using the “Product Attribute to Impact Algorithm” (PAIA) to evaluate the carbon footprint of semiconductor devices.
AMD Products and Technology Platforms
AMD APUs: In 2011, AMD launched a new class of processor, the APU. The APU’s system architecture integrates a CPU with a discrete-level graphics processor onto a single chip. A carbon footprint study conducted by AMD found the integrated APU design provides an average 40 percent savings in GHG emissions, as compared to our previous generation products that were not integrated on a single chip.
AMD SeaMicro Servers: Energy and power consumption have become an important component of the total cost of ownership of a data center. In response, AMD’s SeaMicro servers utilize a server architecture that eliminates dozens of unnecessary parts and components, resulting in industry-leading computing performance per watt of electricity. By taking an end-to-end view of the entire computing system and optimizing the interworking parts, AMD has brought to market a revolutionary family of data center servers that can use as little as 1/4 the power and 1/6 the space of today’s best-in-class volume servers.
Graphics Products: AMD implements power management features in our graphics processors. For example, AMD PowerPlay™ technology manages graphics power states (voltage and frequency) based on active workloads, allowing the GPU to function in the lowest possible power state for a given computing requirement. AMD ZeroCore Power Technology shuts down the GPU when the computer enters long idle periods, which can enable greater than 95 percent reduction in power consumption during this state. AMD Enduro™ technology automatically turns off the AMD Radeon™ discrete GPU for non-intensive applications to help maximize battery life for more time unplugged.
Desktop and Mobile Products: Computing devices continue to evolve and add new features such as gesture and facial recognition, wireless connectivity directly to televisions and monitors, and streaming video. The current generation of AMD processors helps enable these features, while offering improved energy efficiency in certain operating modes when compared to previous generation technology.
AMD’s “Richland” mobile processor increases both CPU and graphics performance while decreasing power consumption resulting in improved battery life.
AMD’s latest A8 and A10 Trinity APU’s for desktops offer greater power efficiency than our previous generation technology and consume as little as 1.08 W of power in idle mode.
Embedded Systems: These technologies are used in diverse applications ranging from digital signage, set-top-boxes, telecom, thin clients, industrial controllers, gaming, medical testing applications and storage. AMD’s embedded and semi-custom APUs combine the parallel processing capabilities of a GPU with the serial processing capabilities of a CPU in a small footprint with low power.
Semiconductor products are small in size but incorporate materials that can potentially be hazardous. Regardless of the small quantities and the limited potential for exposure to these materials, we have continued efforts to reduce the hazardous materials content of our products. Outlined below are some of the actions we have taken to reduce materials content.
Lead: Lead in electronic products has been restricted by regulation in a number of countries over the past several years. We began formulating a strategy to address lead and other substances of concern more than 10 years ago, and now offer products compliant with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electronics requirements of the European Union (EU), China and other countries. For example, we have collaborated with our suppliers and invested significant engineering resources to introduce “Lead-Free”1 CPU and APU products to the market. While small amounts of lead are still in use in some limited applications exempted by regulations, AMD continues to research no-lead alternatives. View AMD’s RoHS Compliance Statement on our website.
Halogens: Halogens refer to a class of chemical compounds containing one or more elements in the halogen family (such as chlorine or bromine). Some materials containing halogens have been linked to environmental and health concerns by some stakeholders. In response, we have developed a strategy to identify halogen-free alternatives for existing materials in our products. Beginning in early 2009, AMD introduced new microprocessor and graphics products that are “Halogen-Free2.”
REACH: Since the transfer of our wafer manufacturing assets in 2009, much of the compliance requirements for EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) regulation are now the responsibility of our supply chain partners. Nevertheless, we continue to track developments and collaborate with our supplier partners in order to address REACH requirements. For example, AMD issued a supplier specification requiring the identification and restriction of chemicals that are regulated under REACH, including phthalate compounds and other substances recently identified for phase-out under Annex XIV of the regulation.
Product Resource Efficiency and End-of-Life
Efficient use of natural resources in products and during the manufacturing of products is a key aspect of sustainable product design. The resource efficiency of IT products can be improved by making products smaller, and by integrating more functions into one device.
Power and space often account for greater than 75 percent of the operating expense of a modern data center. AMD's SeaMicro SM15000 can take as little as 1/6 of the space to do the same work as the best-in-class volume servers. SeaMicro's patented I/O Virtualization Technology allows for removal of around 90 percent of the components from the motherboard enabling a server motherboard that is approximately the size of a business card. The SeaMicro Freedom™ supercomputer fabric allows for the elimination of power-consuming rack switches and load balancers that are found in conventional rack servers.
AMD's APUs incorporate three chips previously manufactured separately (a CPU, GPU and Northbridge chipset) into a single die (chip) design. This combination of an integrated design, as well as a smaller form factor, results in less resources needed for manufacturing, as well as less material to recycle or dispose at the end of the product's useful life.
AMD products can also help extend the life of computing platforms, thus reducing electronic waste. For example, AMD Opteron™6300 platforms utilize the same socket as our previous generation products. This means that processor upgrades can occur while avoiding hardware replacements and the associated waste. AMD Extended Migration is a hardware feature that enables virtualization software vendors to provide live migration capabilities between systems with different generations of AMD Opteron™ processors.
Packaging can refer to the materials used to ship our product as well as the protective coating around a semiconductor chip. The focus of this section is on packaging materials used for shipping and handling our products.
AMD specifies the packing materials used for our products, including recyclability of materials and use of recycled content. Our packaging designers continuously seek out environmentally preferable packing materials and methods to minimize packing that meet our needs for product protection, cost, material properties and compliance with industry standards.
Our packaging requirements limit the presence of certain heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium; include marking plastic parts with the appropriate Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) International Resin Codes for recycling; and include the use of water-based inks and dyes. AMD no longer uses PVC in any of our packing materials, and incorporates the use of unbleached cardboard and clay-coated news back (CCNB) .
In 2012, AMD reduced the packaging size for PIB (processor-in-box) products by 20 percent. This reduced transportation and material costs, and improved operational efficiency. An estimated 120 tons less corrugated materials were used for PIB products in 2012 compared with 2011.
AMD ships products to our customers in trays that can be reclaimed for reuse and then recycled when no longer usable. In 2012, AMD reused approximately 140 tons of trays and recycled about 20 tons – effectively giving these materials a new useful life and keeping them out of landfills.
In 2008, AMD started the transition from wooden pallets to plastic pallets for product transportation because plastic pallets are more readily reused and recycled. Today, plastic pallets account for more than 60 percent of the total number of the pallets used. In 2012, the use of the lighter plastic pallets resulted in an approximate reduction of 220 tons CO2 (equivalent to the carbon in 318 old growth trees) and an estimated freight cost savings of $140,000. AMD also reused more than 8,000 of these plastic pallets (total weight of about 28 tons) in 2012. As part of our continued research on alternative, cost effective packaging and shipping material, AMD is evaluating the use of corrugated pallets which are lighter and cheaper than those currently used, and 100 percent recyclable.