Empowering the Semiconductor Industry to Reduce its Footprint with Beth Elroy of Micron

June 18, 2024

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Beth Elroy is Micron’s vice president of Global EHS and Sustainability, leading a worldwide team responsible for developing and implementing EHS and sustainability strategies. Beth joined Micron as an environmental engineer and has served in a wide range of roles including Environmental Manager, Engineering and Construction Manager, and Senior Director of Facilities.

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John Shegerian: Get the latest impact podcast right into your inbox each week. Subscribe by entering your email address at impactpodcast.com to make sure you never miss an interview. This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet, and your privacy, and is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity focused hardware destruction company in the United States and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit eridirect.com. This episode of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Closed Loop Partners. Closed Loop Partners is a leading circular economy investor in the United States with an extensive network of Fortune 500 corporate investors, family offices, institutional investors, industry experts, and impact partners. Closed Loop’s platform spans the arc of capital from venture capital to private equity bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. To find Closed Loop Partners, please go to www.closedlooppartners.com.

John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. And I’m so honored to have with us today, Beth Elroy. She’s the vice president of global EHS and sustainability at Micron Technology. Welcome Beth to the Impact podcast.

Elizabeth Elroy: Hi, John. It’s just my pleasure to be here and I’m really excited about our conversation today.

John: Hey, and it’s like we’re chatting in person, but you’re in Boise, Idaho. I’m in Fresno, California. That’s the blessing of technology. As we know, there’s some downsides to technology, but that’s the blessing. And Beth, before we get talking about all the impactful and important work you’re doing at Micron Technology, can you share a little bit about your backstory, where you grew up and how you got on this important and inspirational journey that you’re on?

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. I grew up in a small rural farming community in Idaho, and where I really learned the value of a hard day’s work. And I spent the majority of my childhood outside and just really enjoyed the outdoors, whether it was riding my bike around all day long, or camping or fishing, just really loved the outdoors. And growing up, graduated from high school. I went to college and graduated with a mathematics degree. And right out of college, I joined Micron Technology and worked in their accounting department. And it was fun. And I had a mentor who after about a year suggested that I go to work inside the fab and be an operator and learn the fab operations and work my way up to a technician, to an engineer. And at the same time, I was dating my college sweetheart and we lived a couple hundred miles away. So every weekend we were burning the highway up. And so I knew that going to work as an operator would impact those weekends because it was shift work. And the boyfriend at the time, he said, “Well, how about let’s get married and I’ll pay for you to get a graduate degree in engineering.” And what girl could turn that down, right?

John: That’s a pretty good deal. That was a pretty nice boyfriend.

Elizabeth: Yep. We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary in August.

John: Wow.

Elizabeth: So that was how long ago it was, but…

John: Wow.

Elizabeth: So after a year, I left Micron and went and got my graduate degree in environmental engineering. And during that time, I had an opportunity to do an internship at Idaho National Engineering Lab, and they focus on nuclear engineering. And so I learned quite a bit about nuclear engineering as well as environmental engineering, graduated and got my master’s degree and started working in industry. I had a couple of different roles and about five years into those different roles, Micron technology reached out to me and said, “Hey, do you want to come back?” And I had kept in touch with my contacts there, so I was excited to rejoin the company and I joined Micron as an environmental engineer and really focused on air. And within a couple months, I was managing the team. Did that for several years and then Micron challenged me and they said, “Hey, Beth, would you be interested in leading our engineering and construction teams?” And moving from an environmental manager role where I was very focused on clients to construction and engineering was a little of an odd career path, but I embraced it. I said, “Sure, why not?” And what it really gave me the opportunity to do is take that passion for the environment and plant those seeds in design engineering and constructing these new fabs. And so over the next couple of years, I got the opportunity to actually build those fabs and plant those environmental seeds and those fabs too, and loved doing that. And then Micron said, “Oh, hey Beth, will you take on operations and maintenance.” And never shying away from a challenge, I said, “Sure, absolutely.” So I took on operations and maintenance, had the opportunity to do the same thing again with just sharing my passion for the environment from an operations and maintenance perspective. And then as you are unsure aware, Micron announced some fairly large expansions about a year and a half ago in Boise, Idaho, and Clay, New York. And my role was going to be building out that fab in Boise, Idaho, and also had the opportunity to influence the New York design and construction. And so I was very focused on that. And then Micron came back to me again and said, “Hey, we’re creating this new role and we recognize the importance of environmental safety and health as well as sustainability, and we want to create this vice president role and pull the organizations together, and would you be interested in leading that?” And I had a moment of pause because I was so excited about being so deeply involved with these expansion opportunities, but then I said, “I’m going to go for this because it just gives me the opportunity to pull everything together.” And so about a year ago, I took on this role as our vice president, and over the last year, it has just been absolutely incredible. I’ve had an opportunity to travel all over the world and really see what my own eyes, the differences that Micron is making when it comes to the environment and the safety of the workplace. And it’s just super exciting.

John: That is really exciting. And again, the old adages become old adages for good reason, no good deed goes unpunished, obviously. Obviously, they love you at Micron. And obviously they keep rewarding you with more interesting and bigger positions and rewarding all of your good and hard work. And I want to get into that in a second, but I got to just say this, it’s so interesting over the 17 years in 2000 plus guests, I have to plot this out one day and I will, how many of my guests who are doing this servant leadership, this great important impactful work that people like you’re doing, grew up on a farm in America. It’s just fascinating. And the love of environment starts from the soil itself. And it’s just great. And it’s embarrassing for me to say that being a New York City boy who grew up in Manhattan and went to high school and college of Manhattan, I’ve never been to Boise, Idaho, but everyone that I know that’s been just said, it’s just one of the greatest places in this great country that we live in. So obviously you still have a great love for the environment. You get to live in a very beautiful place and work in a very beautiful place as well.

Elizabeth: Absolutely. The quality of life here is incredible. It’s been amazing to live here over the last 20 years and raise two boys here in this valley. And it really is an amazing place to live.

John: Let’s talk a little bit about your role. As you and I know, EHS and global EHS and sustainability officers and impact officers and circular economy officers, it could be read very narrowly or widely. And since this is the first position at Micron Technology in this, talk a bit a little bit about your role exactly on what were you tasked with and how exciting but scary. Was that proverbial blank page that was put in front of you because you were sort of the pioneer in this new role and position?

Elizabeth: Yeah, that’s a great question. And moving into this role, I built my own plan and I created a vision. What did I want to accomplish in 90 days? What did I want to accomplish in one year and two years and beyond? I shared it with folks as I was talking about this role, and I even shared it with our CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra, and everyone just embraced it. And I truly believe it’s because of diversity of my background here at Micron Technology and coming into this role as an environmental professional, but also with the diversity of engineering, construction operations and maintenance that allowed me to build that plan. I’ve just been actively over the last year executing to that plan. I interact routinely with some of our key executives and listen to them and hear their input as we develop our roadmap. That’s what I’m doing. And just building those relationships as I’m traveling around the world just continues to enhance the strategy and the roadmap that we’re on for how to drive those global EHS programs and what will our sustainability commitments be, and how are we going to achieve those. It’s really work in progress. And you’re right, I’m the first person in this role and I’m building it, and it’s like building the airplane while you’re flying it, but it’s a lot of fun. And the passion here at Micron Technology for the programs that we run is real, and the intent is real. So it’s a lot of fun to collaborate with folks and get their input while we’re building this airplane while we’re flying it.

John: For our listeners and viewers sake, your company, Micron Technology, they could find at www.micron.com, M-I-C-R-O-N.com. Beth, I get on an elevator with you and we’re going to the 50th floor, and I say “Hello”, and you say, “Hello.” And I say, “What do you do?” And you say, you are the vice president globally EHS and sustainability for Micron technology. And I say, “What’s Micron technology? Talk a little bit about the macro on what Micron technology is, how big is it, and how far is its reach and what you guys exactly do?”

Elizabeth: Micron Technology is a semiconductor company, so we provide storage and memory solutions for many of our customers. And we’re located in 17 countries around the world. We have over 44,000 team members around the world, and many more contractors as well, supporting our operations. We have 11 manufacturing locations around the world and 12 labs. So we’re a very large global company and just doing some amazing things in the semiconductor industry to create those artificial intelligence opportunities, whether you’re talking 5G, whether you’re talking memory products and laptops, cell phones. That’s what Micron does, is we make those storage and memory solutions for our customers.

John: And the semiconductor business is quite robust now in quite a hot industry.

Elizabeth: Absolutely. We are projecting tremendous growth. Over the next decade, it’s going to be incredible, the growth that we’re anticipating and Micron Is preparing for that with these expansions that we’re announcing. However, we’re also preparing for those expansions from a sustainability perspective, because we have to be embracing our sustainability commitments as we expand. We can’t just be blind to, oh, let’s just increase our consumption. We have to be smart about how we’re growing to keep sustainability in mind as well.

John: And as you know, sustainability, it used to be 20 years ago c-suite used to hear the word sustainability, and the first thing their mind went to is, oh, that’s going to cost me money. That’s going to away from my bottom line. But as you and I know, sustainability means so much more than that. I want to go into that, but talk a little bit about your title, global EH and S and sustainability. Talk about that intersection. What does that mean to you, and how do they intersect at Micron Technology?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. When we talk about global EHS and sustainability, my role and my team, we’re setting those global standards, the global programs for how do we want Micron to show up in the environmental safety and health space as well as sustainability. So we’re setting those global standards, those global programs, and the intersection between those programs. When we talk about the traditional EHS roles, they’re very compliance focused where they’re focusing on ensuring we understand what are the regulatory requirements of the countries that we operate in, and let’s make sure that we build business processes to ensure compliance. And that is so foundational to what companies do. And then when you talk about sustainability, that is taking that foundational compliance perspective and making it better and improving it. The partnership between the two is you simply cannot be successful as a global country with your sustainability initiatives, unless your foundation around your environmental safety and health programs are strong and you are operating in compliance. You have robust business processes in place that ensure compliance, because if you don’t have that well under control and you’re talking about environmental sustainability, it doesn’t feel true. You have to have that foundation in order to be successful on the environmental sustainability side. So that’s the synergy that we’re gaining with pulling these teams together is let’s build the base, let’s make sure our base is strong, and then let’s go out and build these amazing programs on top of that base.

John: Talk a little bit about the challenge of doing that since you’re not just managing corporate global headquarters in Boise, Idaho. You have 44,000 employees across 17 countries. As you and I know, just in the United States, It’s a patchwork quilt of laws across the United States when it comes to EHS and sustainability. Across the world, we know it even becomes more disparate and disharmonious. Talk a little bit about the, the challenges of that and how you balance all that, but still create an impact in the communities that you operate in and work in.

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. We have site teams at each of our locations that are responsible for site EHS activities as well as site sustainability deliverables that we’re defining across the world. And so those sites really have quite a bit of responsibility. And then what my team is doing is we’re also setting the standards. We’re providing global oversight auditing of those teams, and we’re also there to help support them. And so when you talk about the advancing regulations and how complicated that space is getting, it takes a village.

John: Sure.

Elizabeth: It takes a team of people to monitor what are those upcoming regulations, whether they’re proposed, where they are, and then making sure that as they’re being finalized, Micron has robust processes in place to ensure compliance. So it absolutely takes a team. We have strong teams at all these sites around the world that are committed to what they’re doing to build that base for compliance, but then also excited about the opportunity, let’s go above and beyond with our sustainability initiatives. How far can we really take this to protect the planet?

John: For listeners and viewers that just joined us, we’ve got Beth Elroy with us. She’s the vice president of Global EHS and sustainability at Micron Technology. To find Beth and her 44,000 or so colleagues at Micron Technology, please go to www.micron.com. I always say this to my guests and I really do mean it. I think, Beth, you belong to one of the greatest fraternities on the planet of just great leaders who are making important impacts that are going to sustain us in the future generations. You have two boys, God willing, you’re going to have grandchildren and there’s going to be so many people in your family that follow you. Talk a little bit about inside and outside inspiration. From your industry, how much do you benchmark against your competitors and look for inspiration from other leaders and counterparts that are doing the same kind of work you are at your competitors? And then how much do you look for outside of your industry for inspiration and benchmarking for sustainability in EHS leadership?

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. As most people in the semiconductor industry, we’re a competitive group. Technology advances very quickly and you definitely want to be at the forefront. You never want to be last. And we take that same philosophy to our sustainability programs. And so we’re actively benchmarking our competitors in this space. When we talk about sustainability, we really talk in the terms of four key pillars, and this is consistent across the industry. We talk about emissions, energy, water, and waste. And so we do quite a bit of benchmarking with other semiconductor companies. We understand where we’re at with that benchmarking activity. And then we’re also active out there in industry as a whole, and understanding what other industries are doing in this space. The semiconductor industry is very complicated. Part of what makes it complicated is where you’re operating, where you’re manufacturing your part types and your products. So what some companies may be successful in doing it may be a challenge for others just because of their geographical location. So all of that goes into play understanding the benchmarking that Micron is doing. And so we find that that initiative for our programs, both looking within, who do we want to be internally and just that competitive edge of, we definitely want to be at the forefront of some of these programs, but then also recognizing that there may be some limitations just because of the geographical locations that we have.

John: Talk a little bit about transparency and radical transparency. Have you yet put out your first sustainability or EHS or impact report yet?

Elizabeth: We actually published our first actual sustainability report in 2016.

John: Got it.

Elizabeth: And we published one annually. And inside that report, we talk about our initiatives, where we’ve been successful, and the differences that we’re making both at the sites where we locate as well as the communities that we operate in. And so we’ve been publishing that report annually. We include in that our status of our people programs, and that includes safety as well. So we’re actively publishing those annual reports since 2016.

John: And they live in perpetuity on the micron.com site.

Elizabeth: They absolutely do.

John: But then once you took on this new role, you took, what was then historical document and how did you decide to further evolve it?

Elizabeth: That’s a good question too. When I took on this role, the first thing that was so important to me was to learn and to listen to the team, listen to our stakeholders on where can we drive improvements. And so I took on this role in January of last year, and we published our 2022 sustainability report in June. And so that was really the first couple of months of me in this role. I was learning about the process of preparing these sustainability reports. And for anyone listening that has not been part of this process, it’s very tedious. You absolutely have to be very careful what is included in the report to make sure that it’s accurate and going through the assurances that you have to go through with independent parties to make sure that the data in your report is accurate, is so critical. And so just learning that, and I’ve been an environmental professional for years, and I thought I knew a lot, and just going through that process was really quite eye-opening. That was last year, and it was just so important to learn and listen and hear how the process went. And now this year, we’re knee deep in preparing this year’s report right now, and we’ll be publishing this year’s in June. This year I’m making a little bit more of my imprint on that and I want the sustainability report to include what’s important, but also tell the story. And things that Micron is doing around the world and how we’re showing up, it’s so important for people to hear, whether it is our stakeholders, the community, and even future potential hires for our company. They need to understand who is Micron and telling that story. That’s what we’re focusing on this year. And I’m sure over the years it’ll just continue to be a stronger report because it takes a village and different perspectives. And I’m looking forward to what we produce in June.

John: Well, first of all, as you and I know, sustainability, there’s no finish line. It’s a journey, as you said.

Elizabeth: Absolutely.

John: So it’s going to continue to evolve. But if I were to say to you, “Okay, Beth, tell me your two or three favorite stories you’re telling in the new sustainability report that’s coming out without blowing, without giving it in away or anything. Tell me your one or even your one or two favorite. What gets you the most excited about what the future holds and where you are today in this journey?

Elizabeth: I’ll give you two. I don’t want to spoil this year’s sustainable report.

John: I don’t want you to spoil it.

Elizabeth: So I’m going to leave everyone in suspense. But the two that really stand out to me, the first one is here locally in Boise, Idaho, where I live. Micron, one of our initiatives is around water restoration. And so we are actively working in the communities that we live in, identifying water restoration projects. And so one of the projects that we completed actually last year was locally here on the Boise River, where we were able to return a portion of the Boise River to its original stream. And by doing that, we were able to restore over 10 million cubic meters of water and to its original habitat, which increased the temperature of the water, which allowed for bull trout to spawn. And so it was such a personal experience because I’m a runner and it’s right along the green belt in Boise, Idaho.

John: Wow.

Elizabeth: And so I get to see it, and every time I run past it, it just warms my heart that that was Micron Technology. And my second story is around my, my travels. When I took this role in March of last year, I went on a journey where I had the opportunity to travel to four countries in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan. And it was an absolutely amazing experience just to be there, experience the cultures. However, in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to visit the Shihmen Reservoir. And what that is is it’s basically a dam reservoir that was built in 1964 to provide water to the community of about 3 million people. It’s for irrigation purposes, it creates hydroelectricity, and really the purpose of this reservoir, one of the main purposes was for flood control, because in Taiwan, there are many monsoons during the monsoon season. And so this reservoir was built in 1964, and through the last several decades, there has been a considerable amount of deposition at the bottom of this reservoir due to the monsoons, you have heavy rains, you have the runoff, and it ended up in this reservoir. And through the decades, the capacity of that reservoir has significantly decreased because of that sentiment built up at the bottom of the reservoir. One of the things that Micron did is we donated $10 million to provide dredging activities to remove that silt and sediment buildup from the bottom of the reservoir to return the it to its original capacity, so that those 3 million people that are relying it on it for whether it’s power irrigation purposes, or flood control it we’re helping improve it, restore it to its original function. When I was in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to actually go out on the barge that is dredging the reservoir.

John: Wow.

Elizabeth: And it was in this absolutely beautiful valley of hills and trees. And it was a beautiful, breathtaking day. And again, it was one of those moments similar to the Boise River where I run past it, I saw with my own eyes, what Micron’s donations and commitments to sustainability are doing. And it’s truly impactful. And when you experience it with your own two eyes, and you stand there in the sun and you see this beautiful crystal day with what Micron’s donation is doing to restore that reservoir, it’s amazing. So those are the two experiences that really jump out at me in the last year.

John: That’s wonderful. That is just wonderful. I don’t want to skip over some of the other achievements that you do. I know that you volunteer with regards to STEM programs and also you mentor many other women, and you yourself are highly educated with regards to your master’s degree in engineering and your mathematics degree and your undergraduate studies. Talk a little bit about women in technology and why progress seem to be so slow, and how could we create more progress and f facilitate more progress with regards to women in the tech world?

Elizabeth: This is an area that I’m very passionate. And I have been active in our Micron foundation where we have these STEM programs where whether you’re looking to go into the elementary schools and Micron provides lesson plans where you can go into the elementary school and give a lesson around something to do with chemistry or water. And I’ve been very active as my children grew up here in Boise, Idaho. I made a commitment, I’m going to show up in their classrooms. I would take those lesson plans that Micron would develop and be in their classrooms. And then moving into middle school, Micron has these amazing programs, Girls Going Tech, where we’re focused on showing young ladies that it’s cool to be an engineer. And just being able to talk in the terms. And back to my water example, I remember going into these Girls Going Tech forums and my very first question I would ask these young ladies is, “Do you have an impact on water?” Some would say yes, some would say no. And then I would ask them the question, “Do you know what happens to the water after you take a shower and you’ve washed your hair? Where does that water go with the shampoo and the condition, everything?” And then we’d have this intelligent conversation with these eighth graders about what happens with that water as it goes through a water treatment plant, and how some of those chemicals are reacting and how do they get removed? And you can see in that group of young ladies, you actually end up inspiring some of them, where they start thinking about, oh, okay, that’s kind of cool. Where does that water go? And so I’ve had a lot of passion around mentoring women through the years, and I’m seeing the results. I’ve mentored some women that, at one time they were engineers and now they’re managers, and now they’re directors. And that’s my goal, in just overall as a female leader, is just investing in other women so that their career paths can continue and we can see more and more female leaders. And I would really encourage the listeners, Micron just published our annual DEI report with our information. And it’s really impressive where Micron is headed in this space. I will share that over half of our board are women, on the board of directors. And it’s something I’ve had the opportunity last year to interact with these women that sit on our board, and they’re absolutely incredible. And so it’s Micron values diversity, and it starts all the way at the top. And you can see it with the board of directors as well.

John: I mean, doesn’t that make the journey more interesting? Doesn’t that make decision making more valuable? I mean, honestly, if the CEO just wanted to wake up and look in the mirror every day, he’d have everybody that looks like himself on the board of directors. But it’s much better and more responsible decision making when you have diversity of people and opinions and of genders and everything else on a board of directors. It just makes good common sense.

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s funny, I actually was talking with one of my directors even yesterday, and just talking about the importance of surrounding myself with my leadership team, with people that are different than me. My team is located all over the world, and it’s critical because if everyone thinks like me, we’re never going to drive innovation. It’s Groundhog Day, we’ll be experiencing the same thing over and over.

John: Right.

Elizabeth: And so it’s so important that people speak up and if they see things differently or have different ideas, that they bring that to the table. And so, just even yesterday, just having that conversation, it’s just so important that you’ve got that diversity. Absolutely.

John: Talk about what’s your secret superpower. I mean, obviously 30 years of marriage itself is a huge achievement. Raising two boys and then having a huge executive position at a very prestigious company. And then also doing all the volunteer work you do and sitting on the public service side, sitting on the Idaho Board of Directors for the Department of Environmental Quality. There’s got to be you’ve a secret superpower that you have in terms of organizational skills or health and wellness and energy. How do you do it?

Elizabeth: Wow. You make me sound pretty incredible, don’t you?

John: Wow. Well, that’s why we’re here today. I mean, you’ve earned it. I mean, so.

Elizabeth: I’ll share a story with you. When I was young, so years and years ago, I made a decision to lead my life based on the 5F’s. And so if you ask me what my superpower is, I think it was just that conscious decision that that’s how I wanted to leave my life, the 5F’s. And I’ll tell you what those 5F’s are. The 5F’s are faith, family, friends, fitness and fun. And it’s kind of funny too, that’s the foundation of how I lead my life. And just talking through those, faith, it’s important that you have faith. And whether it is a religious faith, whether it’s faith in yourself, faith in your community, you have to have faith. It’s the foundation of just what we do and who we are. And so, to me, that’s number one. The second one is family. I have been so blessed to be surrounded with an amazing family. My husband has been an amazing partner and just investing in the family as the core. And friends, friends are amazing, you have to have them. And whether they’re there for your counseling sessions when things are going challenging, but just having that support system through your friends. Fitness, it’s so important. When I say fitness, I don’t just mean physical fitness. I mean mental fitness and spiritual fitness. I just think from a mental health perspective, it’s so important that you’re also investing in your mental health. And if there’s an issue or a challenge that you work through it. And Micron has amazing programs in that space too. But that’s the fitness. And then fun. If you’re not having fun, you need to find other opportunities because life has given us these amazing gifts. And if you’re not having fun, it’s a signal that maybe there’s something else that you can play your strengths on. So it’s really round. I’d say that’s my superpower, the 5F’s.

John: Hey, listen, that’s amazing. I think you’ve synthesized it so well, and I think we can all learn from that. I mean, for sure. But I’m going to switch topics now. I want to go back to traditional sustainability and all the great work you’re doing at Micron. I don’t think a conversation is complete on sustainability unless we talk about the three big elephants in the room when it comes to sustainability, energy and decarbonizing the planet, but helping decarbonize, doing our part at each company or organization that we work at. So energy and then of course, one of your passions, water, and then waste, and both on a procurement side and on the downstream side. So talk a little bit about your strategies around those three topics.

Elizabeth: Absolutely. One of the things that I am so proud about with Micron technology is our overall sustainability approach. You’ve heard me talk about the four pillars, but really it’s how we’re going about doing it. And it spans five different areas. First and foremost, it’s around our existing operations. How are we going to improve our existing operations to truly make an impact, whether it’s on our decarbonization journey or water or waste, what are we going to do with existing operations? And so we have a whole strategy around those operations to drive change. And one of the things that Micron announced in 2021 is that we are going to invest a billion dollars, and that’s with a b in our sustainability initiatives between 2021 and 2028. And so we’re actually putting our money towards or about what where our mouth is and our commitments. So that money is being spent primarily in that first bucket, which is around how do we improve existing operations, whether it’s reducing emissions or improving water recycling rates, that type of thing. That’s the first bucket. The second bucket is Micron’s focus around our research and development, our technology development team, because we recognize that we can go out and spend this billion bucks around driving improvements at existing operations, but if as we go down our technology roadmap, we don’t change how we’re driving technology, for example, if we just continue to increase water consumption required to make that technology or increase chemical consumption, power consumption, all of that effort that we’re doing at the existing operation is just wasted. Because if we’re not embracing that change within our technology development team, it’s just undoing everything we’re doing. And so we have very clear metrics around technology development on, for this next technology that we’re producing, we need to see improvements in water consumption, power consumption, chemical consumption. And so that’s the second focus area. Then the third focus area is around our supply chain. And we could go out and do the first two, but we have to be partnering with our suppliers too, to make sure that they’re doing things to reduce their impact as well. And then the last two buckets are really focused around the future. And it is so important that Micron embraces those venture, those startup companies, because they’re the ones that are going to make the technology breakthroughs that we’re absolutely going to need for us to be successful against our sustainability commitments. Micron was one of the founding members of this program inside Semi, it’s called Startup for Semiconductor Sustainability. And basically what this program is semiconductor companies can define, okay, here’s our problem statement, and then those problem statements get thrown out into the venture capital world and say, “Hey, are you aware of any startups that are trying to solve this specific problem statement?” And then it’s a pitch event, and it’s a competition where ultimately the winners get money from these companies. So Micron was one of the founding members. This will be the third year for that pitch event, and it’s super exciting to be part of that. So that’s the fourth leg. And then the fifth leg is academia. You talked about, the STEM program, these kids that are in elementary school right now and middle school and high school, these are the students that are also going to be identifying these breakthroughs to help us be successful against, for example, our 2050 net zero commitment that we’ve made. Maybe there’s a second grader sitting out there that is going to come up with this amazing innovation that’s totally going to change how we do things. And so what I’m proud of is our strategy. It’s crossing all five areas from existing operations to technology development, our supply chain, those venture startups and academia. It’s our title from last year’s sustainability report, the Power Partnership. That’s how we’re going to be successful, not just as Micro Technology, but as the semiconductor industry, as all industries around the world. That’s how we’re going to be successful.

John: With regards to sustainability, most OEMs and companies now have designed for sustainability departments. Is that a part of your sustainability ecosystem as well in terms of designing products and creating some of your new products made out of more circular materials or is that coming in the future?

Elizabeth: So that is absolutely happening today. We’re releasing products that we’re announcing, okay, this new product has 15% less energy consumption than the last product. So that is absolutely happening today, but we’re also looking at programs of tomorrow that are going to allow for that circularity. And so you’ll be hearing some upcoming information around that, but there’s lots being done.

John: Go back to the power of partnership. Is the broader semiconductor industry, even though unbelievably competitive, as you pointed out earlier in this interview, do they work together and collaborate on footprint reduction and decarbonization, or how does that work on a broader scale in terms of the industry itself?

Elizabeth: Yes. The answer is yes. One of the things, you heard me talk a little bit about the roadmap for this role that I developed and building those relationships with my peers around the world has been critical to me in the last year. I’ve had the opportunity to meet my counterparts and some of our competitors, and we’re all wanting the same end goal. And granted, we’re competitive in some areas, but in sustainability, we recognize that we all have to be working together to be successful. So it’s been a lot of fun getting to know my peers around the industry and just how do we partner together? And there are different consortiums that Micron is part of, whether it’s a semiconductor Industry Association, SIA or semi. There are lots of opportunities to partner externally with our peers in this space and drive success across the entire industry.

John: That’s awesome. Beth, sustainability, you and I have discussed as a journey, and there’s no finish line. So I’d like to just say thank you for your time today. Thank you for your thoughts. Thank you for your vision. Thank you for the 5F’s. And I want you to know that you’re always welcome back on the Impact Podcast to continue to share the journey that you and your colleagues are on in sustainability and EHS at Micron Technology. For those listeners who want to find Beth and their colleagues at Micron technology, please go to www.micron.com. We’ll also put in the show notes her most recent sustainability report when it comes out and also previous reports and things of that such. Beth Elroy, thank you for your time today. Thank you for your vision. More importantly, thank you and your colleagues at Micron for all the work that you’re doing and for making the world a better place.

Elizabeth: Well, thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation today.

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