IQE has a unique opportunity as a leading material solutions provider to develop technologies that support a sustainable world.

We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our operations and have a robust environmental management system in place to ensure compliance with regulations and encourage waste reduction. Achieving a high level of environmental performance is a priority for IQE, as we recognise that acting responsibly is not just good for the world, but actively contributes to the success of our business.

IQE encourages all employees to reduce their impact on the environment, including through reducing waste, recycling, restricting unnecessary travel, saving water and reducing energy usage.

Environmental Policy

IQE’s policy for conducting business in an environmentally responsible manner is as follows:

  • We fully integrate environmental considerations into the business planning and decision-making processes;
  • Compliance obligations are identified and our operations must be conducted in accordance with these obligations;
  • We validate our fulfilment of compliance obligations by means of documented periodic review;
  • We employ best practice to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, prevent pollution, minimise waste and maximise the efficient use of energy and resources to protect the environment;
  • We will work with companies throughout IQE's supply chain to help minimise their environmental impacts;
  • We continually improve our environmental management system and its performance by setting measurable objectives and reviewing them on a regular basis;
  • We provide suitable information and training to all employees, and interested parties to ensure that the aims of the environmental management system are achieved;
  • Appropriate resources will be made available to ensure this policy can be implemented.

In addition, each of our sites will supplement this policy to meet local requirements.

View our Environmental Policy Statement

Compliance with Legislation

Compliance with environmental legislation is critical to our global businesses and we adhere to the laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate. To ensure we are meeting our regulatory requirements we employ appropriately qualified Environmental, Health & Safety professionals, reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, and these EHS professionals have access to third-party professional advisors as required.

Additionally, IQE maintains membership of a number of professional bodies which provide a good source of reference and support, enabling it to keep up-to-date with continually evolving legislation. This includes regular updates from the British Standards Institution, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment in the UK, the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the US National Safety Council, the US National Fire Protection Agency, Semiconductor Environmental Health and Safety Association, and the US Federal Register.

Environmental Management System

IQE’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is designed to the ISO 14001:2015 standard, which provides a structure that enables us to meet Environmental Policy commitments and requirements for environmental compliance. The ISO 14001:2015 standard is broadly separated into EMS sections including: Context of the organisation, leadership, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation, and improvement.

All of IQE’s operating facilities are third-party certified to meet the ISO 14001:2015 standard. This is a global standard for environmental management which was developed to help organisations reduce their environmental impact and provide a framework for the continual improvement of environmental management practices. IQE successfully completed independent third-party audits of our ISO 14001 compliance in 2019 with no material deficiencies recorded.

View our site EMS compliance certifications.

Waste, Water, Soil and Air Management

As a global organisation, IQE’s sites operate in jurisdictions with diverse environmental legislation. However, our core systems and processes ensure that the approach adopted across the organisation is consistent at all of our global sites. Each site operates continuous improvement programmes to reduce waste and to recycle and re-use wherever practicable. IQE also closely monitors the consumption of electricity, gas and water at all
facilities, and looks for opportunities to improve energy efficiencies for new facilities, existing facilities, and facility expansions. A number of projects have been undertaken during 2021 to support this, including the installation of two new cooling systems in the UK and US to support the recycling of water and replace older, less efficient equipment.

During the year we have been working to ensure we understand the environmental operating parameters of our sites and that all measures are in place to ensure compliance. We recruited a new Group HSE Manager in the USA and felt it was a good time to baseline our position. To do this we engaged a specialist external organisation to review our environmental compliance across our US sites, and it is pleasing to report that they identified no major non-conformances. This baselining identified many best practices and it has allowed us to evolve our systems where required and to share many learnings across the wider IQE team.

During 2021 we placed significant focus on reporting of EHS near misses and opportunities for improvement across the organisation. These “free lessons” allow us to identify and act on any concerns before we actually have an incident or breach. It was pleasing that the number of environmental near misses/opportunities for improvement increased significantly during the year as a result of this promotion. The number of actual realised incidents also dropped from seven to two.

Climate Change and Emission Reduction

IQE recognises that Climate Change is a key challenge facing the world, and consequently we all have a responsibility to work to address it. During 2021 IQE engaged with an external organisation to independently verify our GHG emissions data. Through the Achilles Carbon Reduce programme, powered by Toitū Envirocare, the UK’s only Accredited Greenhouse Gas Certification Scheme, we are being assisted to measure, manage and report our carbon footprint and drive business efficiency through carbon reduction. We received an internationally recognised ISO 14064-1 accreditation showing our review has been successfully completed and our data has been verified. This will now inform our future GHG emission reductions activity.

We saw a significant reduction in GHG emissions in 2021. This is likely resultant from a focus on renewable energy at our global sites, reducing GHG emissions from the generation of electricity. Additionally, this is the first time our GHG emissions data has been independently verified and certified to an ISO 14064-1 standard and so it is likely to be more accurate than previous years.

We also emitted 0 hydrofluorocarbons this year resulting from our capture systems. Wafer Technology, IQE's site in Milton Keynes, sent no waste to landfill in 2021.

GHG Emissions Summary

Total Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)
sources and emissions
(metric tonnes CO2 equivalent (tco2e))
Stationary Sources3,689
Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs)0
Purchased Electricity20,084
Total Emissions:23,772

Water Usage Summary

Total Water Use
(cubic metres)
Municipal Supply120,613
Recycled Water3,428
Purchased Water1,309
Total Water Use:125,350

Waste Generation Summary

Total Waste Generated
Landfill (Non-Hazardous)121
Total Waste Generated:1,828

Energy Consumption Summary

Gas (kWh)19,484,146
Electricity (kWh)59,514,203
Transport Fuels (kWh)233,746
Energy consumption used to calculate emissions (kWh):79,232,095

2021 Environmental Performance

Environmental Incidents (Reportable)10
Environmental Incidents (Not Reportable)72
Near Miss Reports/Opportunities for Improvement8 (0.8 average per site)25 (2.5 average per site)

Chemical Compliance

IQE certifies that to its knowledge, products manufactured by all divisions of the IQE Group (all subsidiaries of IQE plc) conform to the requirements of the following European Union Directives:

1. EC Directive 2011/65/EU on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS), and its 22 July 2019 update – COM/2017/038. The IQE Group declares that its epitaxial wafer products do not contain levels of the following substances exceeding 0.1% w/w (or 0.01% w/w for Cadmium):

  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Lead (Pb)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI)
  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)
  • Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

2. EC REACH Regulation 1907/2006/EC. The IQE Group also declares that its products do not contain levels of substances contained within the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), that exceed 0.1% w/w of the product. The list of SVHCs is continually updated on the ECA website.

3. EC Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Furthermore, IQE's products do not contain, and are not manufactured with, substances subject to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. In addition, other substances listed below are not intentionally added to IQE's products or packing materials:

  • Halogens
  • Azo compounds
  • Ethylene glycol ethers and related compounds
  • Halogenated dioxins and furans
  • Radioactive substances

Please view our chemical compliance statement.