Water Resource Management
Managing our water resources is a top priority at ASEH, and we aim to continuously improve and optimize the use of water resources efficiently. From establishing management objectives to assessing major areas of water usage, the adoption of ISO 46001 Water Efficiency Management Systems enables us to identify risks and opportunities, and develop water-saving measures, risk mitigation strategies and various action plans. ASE Kaohsiung became the first semiconductor assembling and testing facility in Taiwan to obtain the ISO 46001 certification in 2021, followed by ASE Chungli in 2022. The various ASE sites have also developed action plans for certification in the future.
Water Risk Assessment
Effective water resource management starts with risk identification. To assess water resource risks across our global facilities accurately, ASEH has collaborated with a consulting team to develop risk assessment and analysis tools that incorporated the WRI (World Resources Institute) Aqueduct tools. We apply publicly available databases from the Aqueduct suite of tools to identify baseline water stress levels of our facilities and perform comprehensive water resource risk analyses. We have also referenced domestic data published by Taiwan's authorities together with global climate change information from NASA to provide a more accurate insight into our water resource risks. Besides taking reference from multiple official databases, ASEH’s water resource risk assessment and analysis tool development also integrated actual water usage information from each facility and considers the vulnerability of each facility when evaluating water scarcity risks. Connecting the regional risks with the operational risks faced by each facility allowed us to develop an integrated water supply and demand risk framework based on the “water risk of areas affected by climate change” and “water vulnerability of a facility.”
As recommended by the TCFD, we selected scenarios that cover a reasonable variety of future outcomes, both favorable and unfavorable, taking into consideration the optimistic (OPT2; SSP2, RCP 4.5), business-as-usual (BAU3; SSP2, RCP 8.5), and pessimistic (PES4; SSP3, RCP 8.5) climate scenarios. We then estimated losses due to water shortage (Table 1) by using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), and analyzed two time points: 2030 and 2040, where the former represents data that cover a decade before and after 2030 and the latter represents data spanning 2030 to 2050. We simulated the impact of water shortage in the last ten years and up to 2050, targeting two points of time (2030 and 2040) and three scenarios (OPT, BAU, and PES) for a total of six combinations in the analysis, which served as the basis for assessing physical and transition risks.
Each year, we utilize the results from the risk assessment and analysis to understand risks associated with local water supply and demand, and the tolerance levels of critical facilities. When necessary, each facility formulates risk adaptation measures and resilience enhancement plans to continuously improve water supply allocation and water resource utilization.
In addition, ASEH integrates the managing of potential financial impacts to the organization from different scenarios, into the company’s risk management systems. We adopt the methodologies used by financial institutions to evaluate the company as references to determine the financial value of water risks. Furthermore, we undergo external assurance processes to increase the trust and effectiveness of communication with stakeholders. In terms of water resource management within the supply chain, we enforce the Supplier Code of Conduct which requires suppliers to implement water resource management plans. These plans involve documenting and monitoring water usage and discharge, actively conserve water, and complying with regulatory requirements to control pollution channels. In the current year, we performed a comprehensive water risk analysis on our Tier 1 suppliers using the WRI Water Risk Tool where we assessed the risk levels associated with their respective locations. The identified water risk outcomes are then integrated into our supply chain management to strengthen water sustainability within the supply chain.
Water Withdrawal and Reuse
ASEH adopts three water use strategies: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The main source of water-use is tap water. Total water withdrawals in 2022 amounted to 23,398,956 tons, while water withdrawal decreased by 10% compared to the previous year. The water use intensity per unit revenue (including rainwater) decreased by 15% compared to the previous year, reaching our goal of a 49% decrease compared to the baseline 2015.
The wastewater reclamation recycling systems were established in ASE Kaohsiung, Chungli, and Malaysia* facilities to support wastewater treatment that meets local regulations. The wastewater reclamation recycling rate of ASE Kaohsiung and Chungli are 70% and ASE Malaysia is 50%. The robust recycling methodology at the facility result in a 11% reduction in effluent discharge, and significantly alleviated the manufacturing sites’ pressure on water consumption and wastewater discharge.
In 2022, 17,461 million tons of effluent was discharged, while the total water consumption was 5.94 million tons. Our effluent management system is more stringent than that stipulated by law, and we regularly and continuously monitor effluent water quality. In addition to internal water quality tests, we also outsource offline sampling and water quality analysis to ensure that the ecology of the aquatic environment is under strict management. Currently, there are 15 facilities that collect and classify process chemicals by channel and treat each independently based on effluent characteristics, increasing the efficiency of effluent treatment processes.