Our environment. Our responsibility.

Sustainability at X-FAB

Balancing environmental health, social equity, and economic vitality

By definition, sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences. In simple terms, sustainability is about our children and grandchildren, and the world we will leave them. No matter in which position we are in, everyone can make a contribution to making our planet worth living in also for future generations.  

The manufacturing of semiconductors is a resource-intensive process that requires a lot of energy, water and various raw materials that are not abundantly available. On the other hand, semiconductor technologies enable innovative devices that make transportation cleaner, reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Products made with X-FAB technologies are being used in electric and hybrid vehicles (EV, EHV), smart chargers / power adapters, wind turbines and many more applications that contribute to reducing our CO2 footprint. 

Sustainability embodies many different facets, from environmental care to health and safety, human rights, business ethics and social responsibility. 

As an employer, X-FAB can contribute by providing a safe and positive work environment with fair pay and a company culture that embraces diversity. There are, of course, many more aspects of sustainability to take into account. 

On this webpage we have compiled information around the topic of sustainability covering the supply side, environmental awareness and responsibility to employees’ health & safety as well as the aspect of human rights, ethics and our social commitments. 

X-FAB has installed a sustainability management committee overseeing its various sustainability-related activities. These are regularly presented to the company's Board of Directors.

  • Our key environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals

    Sustainability has been a significant driver of our development activities for several years, as X-FAB focuses not only on the broad range of its products but also on various internal and external activities. X-FAB's mission is to contribute to the social, environmental, and economic development of the countries and regions where it operates. In 2022, we took significant steps towards corporate sustainability by setting long-term key ESG objectives and initiatives, as sustainability is a journey that X-FAB is ever-more committed to.

  • Innovation goal

    X-FAB supports its customers to develop medical applications to meet the needs of growing and aging populations. We want to increase the use of our technologies in medical applications and aim to grow the medical business at an average annual growth rate of 10% until 2030.

    We recognize the importance of environmental protection for a sustainable future and support our customers in developing green technologies. Energy efficiency can play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving natural resources, and promoting sustainable development across a broad range of sectors, such as transportation, industrial, or communication technology. Therefore, we intend to increase the percentage of our technologies that contribute to higher energy efficiency of the products they are used for, from 38% of total revenue in 2021 to 65% in 2030.

  • Diversity and inclusion goal

    X-FAB has made a commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion within the organization and has formed a global Diversity Council comprised of members from Germany, France, Malaysia, and the USA to support these efforts. The Council meets regularly to focus on particular topics and goals, with a specific emphasis on increasing the percentage of women in the organization.

    In the past four years, the percentage of women at X-FAB has increased from 26% to 29%, and we intend to continue this positive trend. As part of our strategy, the Diversity Council has established two objectives to achieve by 2023:

    • offer targeted training to managers on diversity and inclusion; and
    • review and further improve equal treatment policies across all sites.
  • Carbon footprint reduction goal

    Reducing carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases is an important step in mitigating climate change and its negative effects on the environment. We are committed to exploring and implementing sustainable measures to minimize our carbon footprint, and seek to actively reduce our direct CO2 emissions rather than artificially improve our CO2 balance by purchasing carbon credits.

    We have set a goal to reduce our carbon footprint, measured in carbon emissions per stepped mask layer, by 40% by 2030 compared to 2021. Major initiatives involve shifting towards a low-carbon energy mix, improving the energy efficiency of our equipment, modernizing and extending gas abatements, and adopting low-carbon transportation options.

  • Water consumption goal

    Water consumption can have a significant impact on the environment, including the depletion of freshwater resources, water pollution, and damage to aquatic ecosystems. By reducing water consumption, companies can help to conserve this precious resource and ensure that it is available for future generations as well as minimize the impact on the environment.

    X-FAB aims to reduce water consumption per stepped mask layer by 20% in 2030 compared to 2021. Major initiatives include a water reduction program in Operations as well as broad investments to increase water reuse by recycling or reclaiming water at all X-FAB sites.

  • Our technologies support the transition to greener energy and clean transportation.

    Environment

    Environmental protection is key for a sustainable future. X-FAB supports its customers to develop green technology contributing to sustainability in various fields, such as mobility, healthcare, and the energy sector. With semiconductor manufacturing being resource-intensive X-FAB has a clear commitment to minimize the use and the impact of those resources, with a particular focus on energy, water, and materials.

    • Environmental awareness & responsibility

      Sustainability starts with the right mindset. X-FAB therefore regularly trains its employees on various topics in order to increase individual awareness for the Company’s environmental impact as well  ... more

      Sustainability starts with the right mindset. X-FAB therefore regularly trains its employees on various topics in order to increase individual awareness for the Company’s environmental impact as well as its sustainability efforts.

      • annual EHS week organized at all sites to educate employees about topics like energy management, waste and sewage disposal, water balance, CO2 footprint, recycling and of course our environmental goals

      X-FAB fulfills its environmental responsibility in many different ways:

      • dedicated employees assigned for different environmental topics to ensure compliance with X-FAB’s EHS (Environment Health and Safety) policy
      • strictly obeying all environmental local laws
      • defining specific environmental goals for each site annually; implemented continuously to reduce the company’s impact on the environment
      • tracking the material flow and monitoring material efficiency and use to reach sustained environmental conservation
      • impact on biodiversity is minimized as all sites are located in industrial areas; no adjacent nature reserves or similarly classified areas
    • Environmental policies and certifications

      X-FAB’s environmental activities are handled with an integrated quality management system according to the ISO 14001:2015 norm, complemented by an EHS policy as well as an Energy management system  ... more

      X-FAB’s environmental activities are handled with an integrated quality management system according to the ISO 14001:2015 standard, complemented by an EHS policy as well as an Energy management system according to ISO 50001:2011.

      Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy

      • The policy is designed to ensure that all activities within X-FAB Group are performed in a manner that considers the health and safety of our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, and the general public, with no adverse impact on the environment caused by our manufacturing operations and products.
      • The policy complies with the requirements of an Environmental Management System and supports the compliance with legal requirements. 
      • The policy covers risk reduction as well as incident/accident prevention as continual task of all sites’ EHS committees and the entire X-FAB staff. 
      • The policy is reviewed and approved regularly (twice a year) by X-FAB’s global management team with feedback from and consultation with various stakeholders (employees, suppliers, contractors, customers, and the general public).
      • X-FAB’s EHS objectives and their fulfilment are being reported to and approved by the global management team twice a year. 
      • The EHS objectives aim at reducing emissions as well as the reduction of waste generation.
      • X-FAB promotes environmental awareness of all involved stakeholders and offers regular internal trainings.
      • Regular reporting of X-FAB’s environmental, health and safety performance through the Annual Report

      Environmental management system (ISO 14001)

      • international standard specifying requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an energy management system
      • enables an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use, and consumption.

      Energy management system according to the requirements of ISO 50001:2011 implemented at the sites in Erfurt, Dresden, and Corbeil-Essonnes.

      • assessing improvement potentials of the Company’s energy efficiency and their implementation in the daily work

      Product declaration

      • all purchased materials need to satisfy current government and safety constraints on restricted, toxic and hazardous materials, as well as environmental considerations applicable to the country of manufacture and sale
      • X-FAB’s product declaration declares conformity with the REACH and RoHS regulations, freedom of halogen, rare earth elements and conflict minerals in our wafers.
    • Energy

      At X-FAB, energy is mainly used in the form of electricity with the production department having the highest energy consumption based on the advanced cleanroom conditions as well as the production  ... more

      At X-FAB, energy is mainly used in the form of electricity with the production department having the highest energy consumption based on the advanced cleanroom conditions as well as the production process itself.

      Global energy consumption 

      In 2022, X-FAB’s global energy consumption was at about 531 GWh, a slight increase due to the increase in production equipment. The share of low-carbon electricity power sources, such as hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind, was at 72%, and the share of high-carbon sources, such as oil, gas, coal, biofuel, etc., was at 28%. 

      An Energy management system according to the requirements of ISO 50001:2011 is implemented at the sites in Erfurt, Dresden, and Corbeil-Essonnes. This helps with

      • assessing improvement potentials of the Company’s energy efficiency and their implementation in the daily work.

      It is an ongoing objective to improve energy efficiency and to reduce energy consumption at all locations by:

      • exchanging old equipment into more energy efficient tools.
      • digitalization of energy management software to increase energy efficiency.
      • increasing share of renewable energies in the energy mix.
    • Water use

      Semiconductor manufacturing requires large quantities of water, in particular to rinse and clean the wafers during the manufacturing process to avoid their contamination with particles. ... more

      Semiconductor manufacturing requires large quantities of water, in particular to rinse and clean the wafers during the manufacturing process to avoid their contamination with particles.

      • To date, X-FAB has not been affected by water scarcity at any of its manufacturing sites.
      • Water is a valuable resource and X-FAB seeks to reduce its water consumption by means of higher tool efficiency and increased water recycling.

      Global water consumption in 2022: ~17.1 liters of water per each cm² wafer area sold

      • mainly used for cooling and for the supply and cleaning of production tools
      • different sources of water supply: surface water, municipal water, and ground water

      There is a slight increase in consumption due to the higher production volumes in 2022.

    • Materials & waste management

      Several types of materials are used in semiconductor manufacturing, among which are water and gases as well as chemicals like solvents, resists, acids or metals. The need to use material that might  ... more

      Several types of material are used in semiconductor manufacturing: water, gases as well as chemicals like solvents, resists, acids, or metals. The need to use material that might cause toxic waste in the production of semiconductor products is a special challenge and a key environmental aspect at X-FAB:

      • use of those materials is tightly watched by material departments and waste commissioners established at each site
      • every waste is separated to reduce the amount of hazardous or non-recyclable waste.
      • majority of the waste (hazardous as well as nonhazardous) sent for recycling to recover valuable resources
      • pursuing permanent environmental objectives to decrease overall environmental impact with several activities and programs installed to reduce the waste or use of hazardous materials or increase the recycling rate
    • Greenhouse gases

      Global climate change is an important challenge to all industrial players worldwide. X-FAB understands the climate impact from its operations on society and the global economy. Nevertheless, the use  ... more

      Global climate change is an important challenge to all industrial players worldwide. X-FAB understands the climate impact from its operations on society and the global economy. Nevertheless, the use of greenhouse gases is inevitable for the production of microchips and all types of semiconductors.

      It is X-FAB’s intention to minimize the output of greenhouse gases:

      • each production site equipped with state-of-the-art cleaning systems linked to the production equipment using greenhouse gases
      • additional measures at every site to ensure all regulations are followed
      • monitoring gas usage to ensure no wastages are occurring
      • no significant spills of hazardous substances and greenhouse gases in 2022

    Our efforts to minimize the environmental impact and to ensure the health and safety of people do not stop at the factory gate, it rather is a key aspect throughout the entire supply chain. Carefully selecting and monitoring suppliers according to international standards as well as responsible sourcing from conflict-free areas are non-negotiable for us.

    Sophie Le-Guyadec, VP Procurement, X-FAB Group

    Sustainable supply

    X-FAB, as a manufacturer of a large variety of products, relies on a number of suppliers. It is key for us to ensure the reliable and responsible supply with all raw materials. For this, X-FAB carefully selects and monitors its suppliers striving for sustainable long-term partnerships while setting high standards in terms of quality, environmental and social aspects.   

  • Supplier selection

    The X-FAB Group has a global supplier selection and monitoring process in place complying with: 

    New suppliers are required to pass a process audit according to the automotive standard VDA 6.3 and need to answer a survey on various topics. Important criteria are: 

    • existence of an environmental management system and an environmental policy
    • compliance with RoHS and REACH 

    Suppliers of strategic materials are requested to confirm compliance with X-FAB’s list of banned substances, provide transparent information regarding their quality and environmental management systems and transparent information with respect to the composition of the supplied materials.  

    Our requirements to qualify as strategic supplier are: 

    • certified quality management system according to ISO 9001 
    • certified environmental management system according to ISO 14001 
    • demonstrated compliance of quality management system according to IATF 16949 
    • commitment to a code of conduct, e. g. ZVEI Code of Conduct or equivalent 
    • conflict minerals reporting (if applicable) 

    Intense checks and validation by X-FAB’s supplier quality management and procurement organization is a prerequisite before initially releasing a new material and/or supplier, including on-site audits and contractual agreements.

  • Supplier monitoring

    Continual supplier monitoring process to ensure compliance with all requirements:  

    • major suppliers are subject to supplier assessment once a year 
    • if requirements are not met by at least 85%, the supplier is requested to submit improvement proposals to stay under contract with X-FAB 
    • regular audits verify the compliance to the requirements of X-FAB
    • active engagement with non-compliant suppliers to reach compliance 
  • Responsible sourcing & handling of conflict minerals

    X-FAB requests all suppliers to source minerals from conflict-free regions:  

    All strategic suppliers for materials containing tungsten, tantalum, tin, or gold (3TG) must ensure that these materials are sourced from certified conflict-free smelters and provide X-FAB with the latest 3TG Conflict-Free Smelter List according to an industry benchmark reporting format, e.g. Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CRMT) of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)

    Other mineral disclosures include cobalt and mica:

    • While X-FAB products do not contain mica, X-FAB is working with suppliers to ensure they source from conflict-free cobalt smelters.
  • Our technologies enable novel and smart solutions for reliable and life-saving healthcare applications.

    Employees’ Health & Safety

    We take our responsibility as an employer to make working for X-FAB safe and rewarding seriously and this includes a variety of measures and activities relating to work environment, safety in operations, education as well as rewarding efforts.

    • Environmental, Health and Safety policy

      Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy is designed to ensure that all activities within the X-FAB Group are performed in a manner that considers the health and safety of our employees,  ... more

      Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy is designed to ensure that all activities within the X-FAB Group are performed in a manner that considers the health and safety of our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and the general public, with no adverse impact on the environment caused by our manufacturing operations and products. We operate an EHS management system that meets the needs of our stakeholders and the requirements of ISO 14001.

    • Work environment

      X-FAB is dedicated to providing a good working atmosphere as well as a pleasant and inspiring working environment for its employees. ... more

      X-FAB is dedicated to providing a good working atmosphere as well as a pleasant and inspiring working environment for its employees:

      • cafeterias, lunchrooms, and subsidized meals offered to employees
      • chill-out rooms and staff rooms with journals, internet access, and free nonalcoholic drinks for better work breaks
      • cafeteria and breakout rooms also available for night and weekend shifts
    • Education & training

      The success of X-FAB depends on whether our employees are able to optimally contribute their individual strengths, which consequently need to be identified and individually developed.  ... more

      The success of X-FAB depends on whether our employees are able to optimally contribute their individual strengths, which consequently need to be identified and individually developed. This includes:

      • introductory training plan for new employees for solid knowledge and understanding of X-FAB’s internal procedures and production processes as well as job specific knowledge
      • Performance Management Process (PMP) to strengthen individual development and drive performance improvement based on constant feedback from supervisor to employee
      • various training and event formats for continual development and to ensure global knowledge transfer among X-FAB employees, such as internal workshops, Lunch & Learn sessions, knowledge networks, and webinars on a broad range of technical topics
      • dual study programs combining theoretical sessions and practical work in addition to apprenticeships for commercial as well as technical careers providing opportunities for the young
      • incentivizing publications in international journals and filed patents to encourage innovation
    • Rewarding efforts

      As an international company, X-FAB employs people from many different regions around the world with different ethnic origins and social backgrounds, resulting in a broad range of individual needs.  ... more

      As an international company, X-FAB employs people from many different regions around the world with different ethnic origins and social backgrounds, resulting in a broad range of individual needs. Nowadays, the modern world of employment demands a high level of self-responsibility and flexibility, especially for working parents and those with responsibilities for people in need of care. Therefore, X-FAB offers flexible working time models and strives to find individual working time solutions for its employees. Other measures include:

      • granting leisure time for private matters, such as moving and marriage
      • supporting working parents financially in case of their children’s illness
      • as part of collective bargaining agreements, German employees above a certain age are offered the possibility to reduce their weekly working hours
      • rewarding outstanding employee performance with incentive cash payments during the year and in the form of bonuses
      • individual employees or teams undertaking extraordinary efforts for X-FAB’s benefit are acknowledged by the Company’s corporate management
      • company pension scheme to support employees financially after transition to retirement
    • Safety in operations

      The safety and well-being of our employees is of paramount importance for X-FAB. The company offers regular safety-related trainings and periodic safety briefings to avoid accidents and injuries.  ... more

      The safety and well-being of our employees is of paramount importance for X-FAB. The company offers regular safety-related trainings and periodic safety briefings to avoid accidents and injuries. Each location has an associated company doctor performing routine medical examinations, such as eye examinations, vaccinations, travel-related medical consultations, etc.  

      At the annual EHS week, information about health protection, safety, sustainability, and environmental topics is offered to all employees via information desks, posters, and other events. Company tours offered by coworkers are designed to increase employees’ awareness of hazards in the workplace and several training sessions are offered to improve their skills in first aid and firefighting.

      Hygiene concepts for cleanrooms to maintain a high level of hygiene and health including specific protection plans, such as:

      • rubber gloves, special clothes, and shoes to avoid particle and ion contamination or electrostatic discharge 
      • skin protection plan with skin care products available at any time for each employee
      • individualized and ergonomic cleanroom shoes
      • ear plugs for noise protection

      Preventive maintenance as basis for the safe operation of equipment and tools. To prevent equipment malfunctions and failures:

      • use of a global procedure to manage a preventive maintenance system
      • local instructions to manage the preventive maintenance regime for each production site
      • maintenance instructions and schedule include information based on vendor manuals, experiences during operation, tool performance parameters, major incidents, product quality, and audit findings

      There are two types of preventive maintenance activities: actions triggered by a time interval, and actions triggered by reaching specific tool parameters describing the current tool wear.

      All this helps to ensure that the overall tool status remains excellent and to prevent accidents caused by machine malfunctions such as electrical hazards, leakage of dangerous materials, or mechanical issues.

    “Our responsibility as a company towards people cannot be underestimated and it is a must for X-FAB to consequently follow international human rights and ethics standards and to constantly fulfill all local legislations in the communities we operate. We want our employees to feel safe and happy at work and to have the necessary flexibility to balance work and private life. Specific regulations we had implemented during the demanding times of the pandemic have meanwhile become standards at X-FAB.”

    Henryk Schoder, VP Human Resources, X-FAB Group

    Human rights & ethics

    Our company ethics are based on universally held ethical values and principles, including respect of human dignity, openness, and non-discrimination according to the ZVEI Code of Conduct (2019). Consequently, X-FAB stands up for human rights as stated in the Charter of the United Nations, especially the protection from harassment, the prohibition of child and forced labor, the prohibition of discrimination, fair working standards and compensation, and freedom of thought, expression, association, and assembly, as well as collective bargaining.

  • Corporate values

    X-FAB’s company values set the framework for our corporate culture. They provide guidance for our daily work, on how we interact with our colleagues and how we work with our business partners. The values that our management and the entire organization is committed to are:

    • Integrity & respect
    • Teamwork
    • Commitment
    • Innovation
    • Customer orientation
  • Diversity & Inclusion

    We believe that a great variety of cultural, educational and social backgrounds fosters a climate of innovation. People that do not all think alike bring in different perspectives. That’s why we believe in diversity and its invigorating power for a high-tech company like X-FAB.

    • at the end of 2022, more than 4,350 employees from over 45 different nationalities worked on three continents, many of them as part of global teams and departments
    • encouraging the hiring of disabled or handicapped persons; more than 100 employees (about 2.3% of the workforce) are officially registered with disabilities and well-integrated into the daily work process
    • increasing proportion of women within the company: from 26% in 2018 to 29% in 2022 for the entire Group
  • Anti-discrimination

    Any form of discrimination is not tolerated at X-FAB. We thrive on creating a work environment based on equal opportunities, independent of age, gender, disability, ethnic-cultural background, sexual orientation or religion.

    • encouraging employees to report incidents related to discrimination to the HR department or, where available, the workers council and the equal opportunities officer.
    • new employees undergo mandatory employee orientation of which human rights policies are a crucial focus point
    • local employee handbooks include strong regulations and guidelines
    • regular trainings
    • hiring policy based on qualifications required for specific positions and independent from gender or family status.
    • commitment to equal pay adhering to specific local laws and regulations; collective bargaining agreements at the company’s European sites contribute to ensure equal pay.
    • for better transparency: employees have the opportunity to inform themselves about the equal pay policy of X-FAB by benchmarking their payment against a relevant group of employees
  • Anti-corruption

    X-FAB’s business practices follow the principles of fair competition with particular focus on professional behavior.

    • respecting consumer interests by abiding by regulations that protect consumers
    • using appropriate sales, marketing, and information practices in accordance with the ICC International Code of Advertising Practice and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
    • not influencing politics, neither by participating in political activities nor by donating or supporting parties in elections
    • explicit gift policy in place as part of the employee handbook followed through by the compliance officer
  • Freedom of Association

    X-FAB respects the right of employees to join associations and unions as well as the right to collective bargaining. The company and the employee associations work together constructively and respectfully. 98% of our employees in Europe are organized under the regulation of local and national collective bargaining agreements.

  • Whistleblower policy

    As an alert system to confidentially report any violation, in 2018, X-FAB installed a Whistle Blower Policy, which was disclosed to all employees globally. 

    All employees worldwide can report incidents anonymously in their native language. All reports are treated confidentially, and there is a strict no-retaliation policy. 

  • Social commitment

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