Taiwan plots US$1 trillion sustainable ICT roadmap

Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

At the ITRI Net Zero Day 2024 forum, industry leaders outlined strategies for Taiwan's semiconductor and ICT sectors to drive global sustainability efforts and transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Richard Tsu-Chin Lee, Chairman of Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association(TEEMA), unveiled projections for Taiwan's booming ICT industry, with global production value expected to surpass US$1 trillion by 2028. However, the "Made in Taiwan" share could dip below 25%, underscoring the need to diversify production across China, North America, Europe's Visegrad regions, and Southeast Asia.

TEEMA aims to publish an updated ICT sector roadmap for net zero emissions by 2050 this year. It recently joined the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with over 23,000 global participants, including 841 Taiwanese companies. TEEMA is also collaborating with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) to open a Taipei office and involve 30-40 local SMEs in digital sustainability initiatives.

Meanwhile, David Chen, Vice Director of Business Development at Nasdaq, cited a Nasdaq survey that found 67% of respondents viewed Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) primarily through an ESG lens. Another 44% sought investment returns, while 38% looked towards carbon offsetting—particularly commercial banks, which lack direct carbon emissions.

Outlining Nasdaq's initiatives, Chen said the company's 2021 foray culminated in acquiring Finland's Pure Earth carbon exchange in 2022. Post-acquisition, Nasdaq introduced a blockchain-based carbon registration system to enhance transparency and mitigate issues like double counting. It also rolled out an international carbon trading API to streamline the fragmented global market.

Collaboration with Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has been pivotal for Nasdaq. Together, they are pioneering science-driven methodologies to propel the green industry and boost Taiwan's global standing, with Nasdaq developing eight so far versus Verra and Gold Standard benchmarks. However, Chen stressed the goal remains establishing universal carbon trading standards.

Chen advocated a nuanced perspective on carbon fees/taxes, underscoring a broader "carbon economic" view spanning trade, finance, competitiveness, and green industry development. He highlighted Japan's innovative Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) alliance with over 27 countries as a model approach.

Furthermore, Chen outlined three key recommendations for Taiwan's semiconductor industry in the evolving carbon market landscape:

First, leverage the sector's strengths to build a carbon rating system for chip companies like TSMC and UMC, showcasing their decarbonization contributions.

Second, conduct comprehensive supply chain carbon footprint assessments, treating the supply chain as an interconnected ecosystem rather than individual entities.

Third, establish a dedicated green industry investment fund to support fledgling startups, emulating Japan's targeted investments in green innovation.

With world-leading semiconductor manufacturing prowess and an extensive tech supply chain, Taiwan is poised to cement its status as an international sustainability leader by catalyzing decarbonization across the ICT industry. However, this transition necessitates bolstering cross-border collaboration and investing in green innovation.