Intel’s corporate ethics

Major Ethical Problem in Information Technology Company

Bokhari (2002) states, “It is quite well known the high-tech revolution has drastically changed man’s way of living, thinking and interacting with others. However, what is much less known is that the trash this revolution generates is posing critical dangers to man’s health and the environment in an incredible manner.”  Intel is a well-known example as the leader for inventing new technologies.  What is much less known is how they are operating their giant facilities by violating both humans and the environment.

In Hamidi’s website (n.d.), we learn how Intel has violated environmental laws.  Intel has built a huge plant close to residential areas in New Mexico.  “This $2 million plant is only 0.1% of what Intel spent to build this facility.” (What Intel has done and is doing, n.d.).   The US is the greatest inventor of the world and Intel is one of the greatest innovator of the world. There is no doubt it can make the most enormous contributions towards dealing with the world’s major problem—the environment problem.  Yet the huge profits have caused Intel to act blindly in this area.  Greed is no doubt the key factor in ignoring the environmental problems.  Corporate heads get greedy and lust for profits and ignore citizens’ welfare.

In Hamidi’s (n.d.) website, ‘Intel is being accused for causing air pollution by using toxic solvents. The air pollution in that area was about three times higher than the acceptable limit.  The History of Intel’s Toxic Chemical Release in Corrales (n.d.) states, people have developed respiratory and skin problems.  New Mexico has also been known to have droughts.  It is extremely hot in the summer.  Yet one of the largest consumers of their water is Intel.  Intel has built such a huge facility with no water recycling system.

On the Intel website, the US Environmental Protection Agency says this is a very dangerous practice.  There was a debate on how to deal with this issue and they had conducted studies.  In the site for NM risk assessment on the Intel website (n.d.),  “the EPA wants manufacturers to take responsibility for the products, throughout their life, particularly when they contain hazardous materials.”  In the article on Intel’s Work on the RoHS, the EU has also ‘recently passed a law that restricts the use of certain hazardous materials in electronic equipments.’  In Bokhari’s article, “the US export about two-thirds of the electronics waste collected for recycling is currently being dumped into third world countries, where it should be either reused or recycled.  But in most cases it is simply dumped into open fields, riverbanks, ponds, wetlands and ditches. The electronics waste, or E-waste, consists of scrap materials from consumer devices, computer monitors, mother boards, key boards, plastic parts, casings, processors, floppy drives, CD drives and circuit boards.  Roadside air samples showed high levels of lead present in the air.”

The Government should definitely play a part to provide the necessary legal and regulatory requirements.  Countries are proud of have a high-tech firm like Intel in their area.  Intel has a name all over the world.  Therefore it should do everything in its power to keep up its image.  Information about Intel (n.d.) states, ‘Intel has 294 offices and facilities worldwide.’

Intel needs to place greater emphasis on environmental protection in order to face New Mexico’s environmental degradation and safeguard citizens’ health.  So it was now time for Intel to tackle this problem.  Intel has made some changes in its policy.  ‘Presently a number of environmentally related laws were passed for Intel’s employees.  It has introduced Intel’s Code of Ethics’ (Intel’s Ethics and Compliance, n.d.).

The problem was attacked from many different angles.  Harland and Mohin (n.d.) describe three ways to tackle the problem.  First of all, engineers should use products that ensure the health and safety of people and the environment.  Intel is now using products that are less volatile, that means that if they were emitted into the air they would produce less smog.  Secondly, if such an environmental problem did arise, it should be dealt with early rather than spending enormous amounts of money to later resolve the problem.  So the best time to consider these issues are during the design phase, before it gets to the manufacturing phase, which is when the costs rise.  It would not only be inexpensive but easier.  And thirdly, by addressing any environmental issue by using the technology it has to resolve and prevent future problems.

Harland and Mohin state that, “Intel spends enormous resources on research and development and encourages every employee to apply the same level of brain power to solving the environmental challenges of design and production as they do to solving the problems of new technology.”  The productivity and quality of the product is no longer the responsibility of only management but every employee of Intel.  This makes each one of them put in their best effort to produce an outstanding and environmentally friendly product.  Intel invests in training their employees and has frequent meetings to discuss all concerns.  Therefore to set a good example the manager must be ethical, honest and fair with all his dealings.  Giving respect to his employees and the people around would result in higher productivity and quality of the product.

In Harland and Mohin’s article(n.d.),  Intel has also started using environment-friendly products such as recyclable materials and water-saving technologies.  The environmentalists warn us about the dangers of global warming and Intel has a plan to fight it.  It also uses substitutes for extremely high global-warming gases.  It has attempted to create better societies where they used lead-free products, which were major environmental concerns.  According to the Intel article for lead-free solutions (n.d.), it estimates that “approximately 90% of all electronic components contain some amount of lead.”  However, Intel is dedicated to provide us with lead-free products.  It has also started posting its chemicals’ contents on the Internet.  “Intel shipped its first lead-free product in October 2001, and then millions of them in 2003.  In the end of 2004 it announced the elimination of 95% of lead from our processors and chipsets.”  Harland and Mohin end their article by informing us that, “Intel has analyzed its products, and as a result of our investigation, to the best of our knowledge the amount of cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury, polybrominated diphenyl ethers(PBDE) is either not detected or below the threshold targets currently being considered for RoHS(Restriction on Hazardous Substances).”

Intel also participates in building design.  It has attacked its environmental problem by using it own new technologies.  It developed new water-saving technology to address the water issue in New Mexico.   In the Intel’s article by Harland and Mohin, the facilities traditionally used water to cool buildings and air was blown on the water to cause cooling by evaporation.  All the heat that is removed from the building goes into the evaporating water and cannot be used again.  Now with new technology, Intel uses heat-recovery chillers.  These chillers reduce the need for cooling the buildings, which in turn saves the water, as it is not lost through evaporation.  This also reduces the air pollution, as the facility doesn’t run the boilers to heat the water for manufacturing and facility use.  This also makes it more energy efficient and also reduces Intel’s energy costs.

Environmental crimes are sweeping corporations of America, causing anxiety in this world.  The daily news covers new stories of corporations committing crimes all the time.  The US Environmental Protection Agency investigates the crime, punish the culprits and we try to restore the business its credibility.  One of the hardest challenges for a corporation to face is the environmental concern.  Corporations should realize the importance of environmental protection.  They will definitely incur costs, however, this will provide us with a greener world with technologies for saving and generating energy.  This would in turn improve air quality.  Intel has now changed the image New Mexico had of it.  ‘In the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual review of Fortune 500 companies, Intel ranked No.1 two years in a row.’  Harland and Mohin say, “Good design today isn’t just about having the vision to create tomorrow’s technology, but having the foresight to anticipate and address its associated implications and issues.”

References

Bokhari, A (2002).  Exporting ‘harm’ to Asia.  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from http://www.apnic.net/mailing-lists/s-asia-it/archive/2002/06/msg00024.html

Hamidi, K (n.d.).  History of Intel’s Toxic Chemical Release in Corrales. 

Retrieved October 5, 2005, from

http://www.faceintel.com/toxiccchemicalhistory.htm

Hamidi, K (n.d.).  What Intel has done and is doing.  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from http://www.faceintel.com/inteldoingintelmustdo.htm

Harland, J., & Mohin, T. (n.d.).  Designing for the Environment Turns Fabs Green.  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine/silicon/green-fabs-1105.htm

Intel (n.d.)  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from

            http://www.intel.com/intel/index.htm

Intel’s Ethics and Compliance (n.d.)  Retrieved October 5, 2005 from

http://www.intel.com/intel/finance 

Intel’s Work on the RoHS Directive Ensures Environmentally Friendly product (n.d.)  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from

http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine

NM Site Risk Assessment (n.d.)  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from http://www.intel.com/community/newmexico/nm_assess.htm

Silicon-Lead-Free Solutions  (n.d.).  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from

            http://www.intel.com/technology/silicon/leadfree.htm

US Environmental Protection Agency Annual Review of Fortune 500 Companies (2004).  Retrieved October 5, 2005, from

http://www.intel.com/intel/finance/gcr04/17-ehs_workplace.htm

Let's make that grade!