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Home / case studies / Case study: How PTI optimises water use

Case study: How PTI optimises water use

Powertech Technology Inc. (PTI) was founded in 1997 and has become a leader among global IC (integrated circuit) packaging and testing providers, with 18,145 employees and operation locations stationed over Taiwan, China, Singapore and Japan. In light of the drastic changes in the water environment, more and more frequent alternation of droughts and floods, and the increased concern that stakeholders have about the issue of water resources as a result of climate change over the years, PTI has enforced water resource management according to its three major strategies, namely reduction, re-utilisation, and recycling  Tweet This! and continues to promote water conservation measures in respective factories.

This case study is based on the 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report by PTI published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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PTI has been participating in the international CDP – Water Disclosure project since 2017 and has had its water risks and opportunities identified and management information further released and disclosed for two consecutive years, demonstrating the success achieved on and the emphasis it places on water resources. In order to optimise water use PTI took action to:

  • promote process water conservation
  • follow the ISO 14046 Water Footprint Standard
  • manage wastewater responsibly

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report PTI identified a range of material issues, such as business performance, workplace safety, ethical management, regulatory compliance, supplier management, labour rights. Among these, optimising water use stands out as a key material issue for PTI.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups PTI engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Shareholders/ Investors

 

·      Shareholder meetings

·      Public financial reports

·      Investor conferences

·      Spokesperson and investor relations department

·      Company website

Employees

 

·      Employee welfare committee

·      Electronic platforms and company announcements

·      Policy improvement proposals

·      Labour-management meetings

·      Employee mailbox

·      Occupational safety and health committee

·      Employee psychological counselling

·      The World of PTI Quarterly

Customers

 

·      Business meetings

·      Customer satisfaction survey

·      Customer complaint system

·      Customer audit

Suppliers

 

·      Supplier meetings

·      Supplier audit

·      Supplier assessment

·      Supplier Social Responsibility Communication Workshop

Government Agencies

 

·      Official letters and emails

·      Advocacy meetings and hearings by the authorities

·      Issuing official letters

Communities

 

 

·      Company website

·      Public contact of the factory management department

·      Courses and visits

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics PTI engaged with its stakeholders through an online and paper-based survey, recovering a total of 541 valid copies of the survey’s questionnaire.


What actions were taken by
PTI to optimise water use?

In its 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report PTI reports that it took the following actions for optimising water use:

  • Promoting process water conservation
  • PTI is keen on the utilisation and protection of water resources and has actively implemented, since 2009, a Process Wastewater Recycling System in all its plants, solving the problem of large amounts of silicon dioxide particulate matter from the process of wafer dicing and grinding. With the use of ultra-filtration, PTI filters out insoluble solids through the hollow fiber membrane, and steadily recycles and reuses the wastewater from the dicing and grinding process. The PTI Taiwan Plants capable of packaging process water recycling are the Hsinpu Plant (Plant 1), Hukou Plant (Plant 2), Datong Plant (3A Plant), Datong Plant (3C Plant), and Hsinchu Science Park Plant (P8). These Plants are installed with dicing/grinding wastewater recycling systems and the manageable hourly volume is designed based on the estimation of production needs. In response to PTI’s production plans the recycling systems are constantly expanding, with the recycling equipment efficiency rate reaching more than 85% from 2014 to 2018. The packaging process water consumption in 2018 was 2,388,357 tons, increased by 53,919 tons from 2017 – approximately a 2.3% increase – and the recycled water from the packaging process in 2018 was 1,227,588 tons, increased by 175,394 tons from 2017 (approximately a 16.7% increase). PTI continues to optimise the system, to increase water recycling volume and recycling effectiveness. In 2018, PTI Taiwan’s recycled water from the production process had a ratio of 90%, while recycled water from the packaging process had a ratio of 34%.
  • Following the ISO 14046 Water Footprint Standard
  • PTI cares about the issue of water resources and spontaneously and proactively takes part in the projects of the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs. PTI follows the ISO 14046 Water Footprint Standard and has established the procedure for the inventory check of the water footprint of products, tools, forms, and fundamental inventory check ability, among others. The complete water management system is set up in order to meet the international requirement for disclosing water information. PTI’s Hukou Plant (Plant 2), Datong Plant (Plant 3A), and Datong Plant (Plant 3C) passed the verification procedure of SGS Taiwan Ltd. in 2017 and acquired the organisational and product (Flash) water footprint verification declaration, continuing to promote consistent water resource management within the factory and reducing the consumption of water resources, ensuring co-existence and co-prosperity between business operation and the environment.
  • Managing wastewater responsibly
  • PTI’s factories follow the applicable wastewater treatment requirements of the competent authority, with wastewater going through the factory sewage treatment system and processed till it reaches the effluent or control criteria before it is released. Wastewater management is also done through the real-time monitoring equipment and the flow meter and detector are calibrated periodically in order to ensure the accuracy of data and the stability of the processing system. Meanwhile, the plants go through impromptu water quality inspections from the competent authority and have been meeting the requirements. For rainwater gutters, periodic monitoring is carried out as well, in order to prevent against impacts from overflowing of wastewater to an external environment as a result of a storm. The total amount of wastewater discharged by PTI TW in 2018 was 1,784,241 tons, a decrease of 18,867 tons from 2017, mainly because of the increased re-utilisation rate of recycled water and the reduced emissions of wastewater (sewage).

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source

2) Disclosure 303-3 Water recycled and reused

3) Disclosure 306-1 Water discharge by quality and destination

4) Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

 

Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source corresponds to:

Disclosure 303-3 Water recycled and reused corresponds to:

Disclosure 306-1 Water discharge by quality and destination corresponds to:

Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.


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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by PTI, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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