AUO Green Solutions - Protecting Water Resource
Being a global leading TFT-LCD supplier, AUO is constantly seeking a win-win situation in company's growth and environmental protection by applying “AUO Green Solutions”. From product design, supplier management, production assembly to customer service, we continue to strive for ways to mitigate impacts on the environment in all phases while committing to developing more eco-friendly products. We aim to fulfill our corporate social responsibility by achieving the goal of protecting Mother Nature as we move forward to advance business growth and explore new opportunities.
When it comes to protecting water resource, AUO has always been an active player. We have devoted ourselves to continuously improving water quality, setting for ourselves higher standards than the current regulations. AUO’s Lungtan site, for example, is working proactively in the development of water treatment technologies for discharged water. Proprietary technologies to fully recycle discharged water have been under development for a long time, with breakthroughs now available to move toward the goal of “100% recycled discharged water”. The ensuing necessary administrative applications to the authority are in the process and construction will be implemented after the applications are approved. We hope that win-wins can be achieved for the communities, industry and environment.
Through constant self-examination, AUO strives to offer a cleaner environment for all. At AUO’s fab in Lungke Science Park, starting from the beginning of the site construction, the construction team abandoned the conventional water management mechanism and adopted the more advanced way to simultaneously reclaim water during its processing stage. AUO also injected another 800 million NTD for a water management and recycling system in the site, continuing to improve the effectiveness of discharged water recycling process and equipment efficiency. The system can reclaim up to 15,000 tons of water per day.
Currently, AUO adopts scientific control method in its water management mechanism:
Cooperation research projects with academic institutions
A 3-years joint research project with National Chiayi University on effluent toxicity and environmental hormone studies was initiated in 2008. AUO also has commissioned National Tsing Hua University in 2011 to perform a research project on the effluent discharged from the Lungke site with the application of the US EPA's Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) for an acute toxicity effects analysis, in the hope of identifying the real sources of contaminations to invertebrates (Daphnia similis) and using the information as the basis of monitoring and improving specific target substances.
AUO installed a Microtox system to test water quality in its Lungtan site. The system conducts water tests automatically every day to monitor water quality in real time, hoping to minimize impact on the ecosystem.
As traditional water testing mechanism cannot sufficiently determine all chemical compounds in the water, biological control method enables more precise analysis by taking advantage of creatures' biological reaction to water quality. In other words, the method seeks to understand if creatures' metabolism is suppressed in any ways or other abnormalities related to water quality. Microtox is the best system available right now to meet the water testing requirements of businesses thanks to its efficiency. Nevertheless, the competent authority in Taiwan has not yet established a common standard in this area and such systems are normally used in relevant research institutions. AUO, with recommendations from experts and scholars, led the industry to install the Microtox system. With this system, AUO voluntarily monitors the water discharged from its Lungtan site, aiming higher than government standards to understand how discharged water may affect Xiaoli Creek and to safeguard water quality.
Effluent Issue in Lungtan Site
The Lungtan site is located within the districts of Taoyuan County and its effluent should be guided to Xiaoli Creek, but since the downstream of Xiaoli Creek enters the Hsinchu County, its residents have requested AUO to discharge its effluent somewhere in the Taoyuan County. To accommodate opinions raised from residents, AUO filed an application together with Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd , who was also discharging into the same stream, for a change in discharge route, to Taiwan EPA. The application was approved on September 18, 2009. Based on the approval report, the review committee finalized the resolution stating that the effluent should be discharged to Old Street Creek in Taoyuan County.
In order to fulfill this statement, AUO promptly applied to the Taoyuan County Government for changing the sustainable water body to Old Street Creek since 2009. AUO also made efforts to improve discharge water quality, making it higher than the current standard required.
On February 13, 2012, the Taoyuan County Government agreed to extend the discharge permit from the Lungtan site into Xiaoli Creek to February 10, 2013, but did not agree on the change of discharge route to Old Street Creek. Regarding this situation, Taiwan EPA specifically issued a notification on March 15, 2011 to the Taoyuan County Government and revoked the extended permit to be expired on March 30, 2012.
Since the Ministry of Economic Affairs already explained that Xiaoli Creek was no longer categorized as a source for drinking water in a letter dated March 13, 2012, Taiwan EPA had also referred to the letter on March 19, 2012 and stated that discharging into Xiaoli Creek no longer violates Environmental Assessment regulations. Therefore, the Taoyuan County Government should examine the facts and extend AUO's permit for effluent discharging. The Taoyuan County Government thus extended AUO’s permit to discharge into Xiaoli Creek from March 21, 2012 to November 12, 2016.
According to the results of scheduled river water quality inspections conducted by Taiwan EPA between 2010 and 2011, the heavy metal contents found in Xiaoli Creek (Sansheng Bridge Inspection Station), including cadmium, lead, hexavalent chromium, mercury, selenium, copper, zinc and silver, all conformed to the related environmental standards of the Land Surface Water Body Human Health Protection (except for manganese, which was caused by the geology of that particular region).
During this period, a total of 48 inspections were conducted to the quality of tap water sources in water purification plants by Hsinchu County Environmental Protection Bureau, and most conformed with the standards for drinking water sources; a total of 913 cases of scheduled monthly tap water quality inspections in the district showed that all results conformed with the standards for drinking water quality.
AUO has always followed the regulations and respected the decisions made by both Taiwan EPA and local governments. Regarding this issue, we've submitted our applications for change in discharge locations and extension of our effluent permits to related authorities according to regulation, the authorities then made decisions based on its jurisdiction. Even though we are fully confident in our effluent quality, the disputes and differences in opinions caused by the change in discharge location are no longer controllable and solvable by a private organization. Nevertheless, we will stand our ground firmly when dealing with this issue: respect the decisions made by the government, strictly control the water quality, continue to engage in neighborhood communication, and believe that all levels of government can act uniformly in administration by resolving this issue in a manner that satisfies the public while conforming to regulations.
AUO Green Solutions - Preventing Air Pollution
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has becoming a greater concern to the general public. Not only it will intensity O3 problem after photochemical reaction, it would also be harmful to human if they expose themselves in the VOCs environment for a period of long time.
AUO, a pioneer in introducing zeolite rotor concentration system
AUO leads the industry in implementing measures to prevent air pollution. By spending millions of dollars to replace all types of equipments, all AUO facilities are now equipped with zeolite rotor concentration system for VOCs abatement, making all emissions emitted by AUO facilities are above the standards required by relevant regulations. In addition, AUO is constantly seeking ways to improve air quality.
Good is never enough. Driving to build an A+ living community
For instance, AUO LK facility underwent a massive manufacturing process modification by voluntarily replacing or refining DMSO and NMP for the purpose of improving living quality in the nearby community. During the process of this change, the facility immediately encountered relevant pipeline construction and a series of tests of manufacturing process stability, which had a repercussion on its production and yield rate. Nevertheless, the project was completed in September, 2006, and since then, it has helped to improve the air quality significantly, creating a better living environment for people in the neighborhood.
AUO Green Solutions- Waste Recycling
In February, 2008, AUO announced “Green 2010”(*) Eco-Efficiency Indexes, a part of the AUO "Green Solutions" Initiative, committing itself to reach 80% waste recovery rate by 2010. To this end, AUO has set an objective for each year, as well as to audit the progress periodically.
AUO's outstanding track records in waste recycling
The total production capacity in 2007 grew by 60% compared with 2006, nevertheless, the amount of waste only increased by 1% in the same year, indicating AUO’s significant improvement in waste reduction. In addition, the reuse and recycling campaign has brought substantial green dividends, reducing approximately 80% in waste handling cost.
AUO waste recycling initiatives:
1.Starting from upstream sources
- Cutting down the material use from source: recycle and reuse packaging material or return used packaging materials back to suppliers for second usage.
- Material replacement: replace non-recyclable materials (clad metals or plastics) to recyclable materials. By doing so, not only it can be reused as packing materials, but also it can be fully recycled when completely utilized.
- Enhancing waste sorting: sorting waste by detail substance which leads to more values and ways of material reuse. For example, sort waste cans and plastic bottles out from daily waste and recycle and reuse them, which also reduce the amount of waste.
Solvent, sludge and glasses account almost 90% waste in optronics Industry. AUO, thus, treats them as the key objects to reclaim
- (1) Solvent：
-- Reuse rate of solvent is reaching almost 100%
-- Reuse priorities are as the followings
- As manufacturing process reuse by purifying: Forward used solvent to certified factories for purifying process and return them back to AUO for manufacturing process reuse. This is a win-win method for reduction in raw material usage and waste.
- As secondary raw material: Part of solvent that cannot be returned to AUO for manufacturing process reuse would be reused as raw material for other purposes.
- Supplement fuel: Part of solvent that cannot be reclaimed still possesses substantial heat, thus, can be reused as supplement fuel in a bid to reduce fuel consumption.
- (2) Glasses：
-- For glasses without liquid crystal: these are fully used as raw materials for ceramics, bricks, glaze, colored glass and other art crafts.
-- Liquid crystal glasses: those glasses were used to be treated as materials for bricks, but due to process difficulties and lack of economic scale, this method has been suspended. AUO is proactively seeking other ways to reuse these glasses.
- (3) Sludge: sludge is the impurities of waste water. AUO has injected substantial money on waste water management system in a bid to process waste water to intensely clean level, thus, large amount of sludge would collected by the system.
-- Many companies used sludge as compost, for fruit tree as an example. However, AUO is quite cautious in this method, thus, the Company hands over collected sludge to certified waste buriers for further action.
-- AUO has utilized some of organic sludge as substitution for cement.
-- AUO has proactively invested in sludge drying system for its sites starting second half of 2008, with object to firstly reduce size of sludge as well as odor and then extends to other applications.
AUO ongoing waste reclaim program
Waste reclaim and reduction are among the key AUO green policies. This policy has been fully implemented in all AUO sites and been regarded as a KPI in each year. In this regard, AUO RM & ESH Management Department, as the corporate ESH department (also known as Corp. ESH), is in charge of overall planning and supervise all relevant units, including manufacturing, R&D, site service and ESH, in fulfilling the policy.
To promote waste reclaim movement and technology development of waste reuse, AUO has been continuing extend partnership with government sectors, major research institutions, schools and waste reclaim business operators. (Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan Green Productivity Foundation, National Taipei University of Technology e.g.)
(*) The “Green 2010” goals are absolute and include an 80% waste recovery rate achievement, a 70% reduction from 2004 levels by 2010 in water consumption per substrate size, and a 70% reduction from 2004 levels by 2010 in greenhouse gas emissions per substrate size.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
AUO has initiated the GHG emissions inventory since 2003 and also had implemented third party veriﬁcation for ISO14064-1 in 2005. All of manufacturing sites had obtained ISO14064-1 statement. AUO continually expands the scope of Greenhouse Gas inventory, incorporating the GHG emissions from our employees’business travels around the world and providing Greenhouse Gas inventory trainings and guidance to the supply chain.
Milestones of AUO Greenhouse Gas inventory
AUO GHG emissions in different scope
Reduction of Perﬂuorinated Compounds Emissions
AUO’s GHG emissions mainly come from the use of externally purchased electricity and high global warming potential (GWP) gases. The most straightforward approach to cut down GHG emissions would be to reduce the emission of PFCs, and improve energy efficiency. AUO has been voluntarily installing IPCC-recognized PFCs abatement devices with DRE over 90% in dry etching and CVD processes for newly-built fabs since 2003 and completed the installation for all fabs in 2011. During the period from 2003 through 2011, AUO has reduced PFCs emissions equivalent to 6.94 million tons of CO2e. We continuing to process optimization, raw material substitution and recycling in thinking about the future reduction strategies.
*Note：scope1 is all direct GHG emissions；scope2 is indirect GHG emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
PFCs emissions reduction performance
Energy Usage Efficiency Improvement
AUO had established Eco-Efficiency Index (EEI) from 2004, production-use electricity per substrate size is one of EEI index. We continuing to drive various energy saving programs to promote production-use electricity per substrate size reduced year by year.In the period of 2006-2011,the production-use electricity per substrate size fell from 141kWh per square meter to 92 kWh per square meter to yield an improvement rate of 35%.
The G8.5 Fab located in Taichung site passed the ISO50001 energy management system certiﬁcation on June 23rd of 2011, becoming the ﬁrst manufacturer in the world to receive such honor and is also the ﬁrst company in Taiwan to acquire such a certiﬁcation 6 . At the same time, the television module fab located in Suzhou site also passed the conformity evaluation. We will continue to extend the ISO50001 energy management system to all fabrications and incorporate energy efficiency into purchasing evaluations through resource management in order to reduce energy consumption. We set the year 2010 as the baseline year and achieve the target of reducing 25% energy usage by 2015.
With the occurrence of major catastrophes increasing in recent years, not only affects business operations also impact on the supply of raw materials. AUO aggressively expanded our solar business, established business continuity plan, watch for domestic and international GHG cap and trade, carbon tax issues. AUO organized water resource risk assessments and implemented product water footprint project. We are drawing up climate change and water resource policy.
AUO started the establishment of a crisis management organization in 2008 and proceeded with the promotion of related projects. Also promoting a plan to raise the disaster awareness of employees. The purpose of this project is to promote disaster wareness and self-protection skills, guiding employees to use the same concepts and preparations to protect their families.
AUO BCP Milestones
Drive Supply Chain Greener
AUO hope to driven by the upstream and downstream value chain together for climate change mitigation dedication force. Besides held several Green Workshops to share AUO’s experiences, also cooperation with the supply chain to develop green products, encouraged and guide to GHG inventory, emission reduction and introduced ISO50001. AUO had also set up a supplier GHG emission data collection e-system in order to managing suppliers' GHG emissions. We will plan the supplier’s sustainable evaluation for the green rocurement.
Participated Reduction Agreement
Not only does AUO make efforts in carbon reduction and energy saving, we also teamed up with others in the industry for GHG reduction by participating in the "Voluntary GHG Reduction Agreement" during 2011~2015, signed between the TTLA and the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, promising to achieve the common goal of GHG reduction by 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents within 5 years.
Joined the Initiative
AUO has signed to support the 2°C Challenge Communiqué in February of 2012 10 . This makes AUO the first official signatory Taiwanese company joining the initiative. As a responsible corporate citizen, AUO completely understands the urgency to stabilize the global temperature and meet the 2°C challenge. The "AUO Green Solutions" is currently implemented to take initiatives for green growth. Meanwhile, we will call on the cooperation of the government to take reasonable action at a national level, together to achieve a green growth and a low-carbon economy.
The climate change and depletion of resources has turned into an economic risk that businesses can't afford to ignore. We have always shown concern for international trends in carbon reduction and responded to the risks and opportunities posed by climate change with innovative and eco-friendly concepts. Besides green business strategies, we also spread green concepts and experiences to the public. We hope to Integrate all stakeholders force and maximizing synergy, fulfill our social responsibility.