Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Securing semiconductor supply chain: Chemours


We've all felt the panic of reaching for our phones and not finding them where we expected, followed by the relief of having them back in our hands. We take it for granted that these conduits to everything will always be present.

The pandemic's disruptions have made this clearer than ever. The last two years have starkly demonstrated how infuriating inventory delays can be, as well as how vulnerable the supply chain for producing our phones — and laptops, cars, TVs, and countless other devices — is. Almost everyone has had problems with critical goods becoming harder to find, more expensive to purchase, and taking longer to arrive.

The same reason was given for the delays at the car dealership, the mobile device store, and in the media: a "chip shortage" meant a lack of new phones, cars, televisions, and other technology. Of course, "microchips," also known as semiconductors, are at the heart of nearly all modern technology. These brains of modern electronics can be found not only in consumer electronics and appliances, but also in military aircraft and defense systems, power grids, and cutting-edge healthcare equipment.

Semiconductors are critical to the national security and economic interests of the United States, but 9 out of 10 are manufactured in China and other foreign countries, and they have become increasingly difficult to obtain as the pandemic has progressed.

We are currently in the midst of a push, led by domestic manufacturers and supported by the US government, to ensure that the semiconductors required by this country are manufactured in the US. Chemours' role in rebuilding that manufacturing capability is critical, if not well understood. We are a domestic manufacturer of fluoropolymers, which are important materials for onshore semiconductor manufacturing. Chemours is the sole producer of one type of fluoropolymer, PFA, in the United States.

Semiconductors are critical to the national security and economic interests of the United States, but a large portion of them are produced in China and other foreign countries.

A fluoropolymer is an organic molecule with the most durable bond in chemistry as its backbone, the carbon-fluorine bond. Because they are unaffected by temperature, chemicals, fire, or weather, and they repel water and other substances, fluoropolymers have a unique set of properties that make them highly resistant to corrosion.

Chemours' PFA fluoropolymers, in particular, aid in contamination prevention by serving as the primary material used for critical fabrication equipment pipe, tubes, valves, pumps, vessels, and tank linings.

Without this Chemours product, American semiconductor manufacturers would be forced to rely on foreign substitutes whenever possible, causing significant supply chain disruption and putting domestic supply chain security at risk.

Chemours is the sole domestic producer of a critical material that is required for semiconductor manufacturing to be safely onshored.

As America works to strengthen its semiconductor supply chain, a powerful lesson from the shortage that fueled this effort should be remembered: A single weak link can jeopardize the entire chain. Bringing semiconductor manufacturing to the United States necessitates securing and supporting the materials on which it is based.

Similarly to how "no semiconductors" meant "no cars," "no fluoropolymers" meant "no semiconductors."

Cutting edge solutions
We are firm believers in the power of advanced chemistry to deliver cutting-edge solutions to industries critical to the health, prosperity, and security of the United States. And at Chemours, we prioritize science and are driven by our commitment to responsible manufacturing - both for the environment and for you. Setting ambitious corporate responsibility goals and applying investment, creativity, and energy to achieve them is what we mean.

Chemours is the first chemical manufacturing company to make a voluntary public commitment to reduce fluorinated organic compound emissions to air and water by at least 99% by 2030. We are not aware of any other company that has made such a public commitment.

Our materials and products, including fluoropolymers, are already in use, enabling transformative innovations such as semiconductor onshoring. And we're committed to ensuring that progress is made in the most beneficial way for people and the environment.