How Soluboard Can Contribute to the ESG Goals of Blue-Chip Technology Companies

(Photograph: Microsoft)

Stricter Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets are translating to an increase in demand for the more sustainable credentials of Soluboard compared to other market leading PCB laminates.

By supplying small batches of single-sided or double-sided rigid PCBs via pilot schemes, Jiva is enabling global brands to test Soluboard within their portfolios.

Jiva’s early adopters manufacture a range of products such as white goods, LED lighting and other small domestic appliances, however Jiva has also received interest from several global blue-chip technology companies looking to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions as well as optimise their waste streams.

The desire for consumers to more clearly understand the impact that their products have throughout their lifespan has resulted in corporations such as Microsoft and Dell publicly disclosing more information about raw materials, supply chains and recycling efforts. For example, Microsoft is regularly releasing instalments for their ‘Resilience’ video series which explores how technology is tackling global crises.

Viewers with a keen eye may have noticed some very familiar looking PCBs in Episode 4 which was published on their website and YouTube channel with an audience of over 800,000 subscribers. The series expands upon Microsoft’s manifesto that “technology must be redesigned with sustainability in mind so we can use it to fight the climate crisis without adding to it”.

Microsoft has carried out an independent life cycle assessment which validated natural fibre PCB substrates as benefitting from reduced greenhouse gas emission levels of 46% and a reduced human toxicity potential of 12% compared to a traditional FR-4 PCB. (Source: Microsoft) With Microsoft becoming more involved within the hardware space over the past few years, Soluboard PCBs could significantly improve upon their existing green credentials.

Dell also announced in late 2021 that they intend on integrating natural-fibre based PCBs into their portfolio of products starting with Concept Luna’, one of the world’s first fully repairable, modular and recyclable laptops. The water-soluble properties of Soluboard can increase the recovery rates of electronic components containing precious metals from the laptops at their end-of-life.

Dell’s internal lifecycle assessment suggests that 75% of the carbon generated during a laptop lifecycle is produced during manufacturing, with 68% of the manufacturing footprint being generated by the PCBs and their raw materials. Evidence also suggests that 8% of all e-waste generated consists of PCB laminates.

According to Dell’s own press release, an overall carbon footprint reduction of 50% could be achieved compared to other Dell laptops. This 50% reduction would also translate to the motherboard PCBs due to a decrease in area of 75% and the removal of 20% of components. (Source: Dell)

As is the case with most of Jiva’s customers, CSR and regulations are significant drivers behind the innovative strategies of Microsoft and Dell, with Dell having committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and Microsoft working towards carbon negativity by 2030 and the eventual removal of all historical carbon emissions by 2050.

The sustainability credentials of products are typically assessed using the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). The EPEAT program is managed by a non-profit organisation called the Green Electronics Council, awarding products with a Bronze, Silver or Gold rating based on a comprehensive set of environmental criteria.

The introduction of Soluboard PCBs into the products of global blue-chip corporations will enable them to consistently achieve Gold ratings on the road to 2050.