CSR In Semis

Giving back to the industry is a good thing—and something everyone should be thinking about.


For decades the largest industries in the world have deployed corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that, on their surface, are designed to “give back” or “share the wealth” with the communities that have produced the labor force that drive their collective success. We also are told that CSR is good business and can be correlated with improved branding and greater profitability. Based upon the number of corporations that participate in some CSR activity I must conclude it is, in fact, good business to be aware of the needs of your broader community. It’s the ultimate investment: Get paid for doing the right thing.

It’s not unlike the ubiquitous hotel room signs that ask you to save the planet by allowing them to not change your sheets or replace your towels. The truth is it does save natural resources to give your favorite Marriott a hall pass and sleep on day-old sheets. But it also saves the hotel in labor, cleaning supplies and utilities costs to do the right thing. These are righteous programs.

Recently, eSilicon has initiated its own CSR program. We have put our creative and useful “eMPW” engineering tool on our Web site and are offering its capabilities to the world for free. In a nutshell, you can build a multi-project wafer (MPW) spec at GlobalFoundries or TSMC in about five minutes. The system will provide all the technical information with some intelligence and generate an executable quote in minutes, not weeks. However, and this is the different part, you are also welcome to take all the capability and detail and run over to the foundry directly, ask them for their direct quote and otherwise use everything we have provided you.

So, why are we doing this? Well, we believe that too much waste is cramping semiconductor profitability. Certainly, the sheer costs have all but eliminated startup companies. Our view, in fact our business model, is that more resources should be applied to innovation and far less to rote activities like MPW planning, a function we automated a while back. Further, we believe if all of us participated in a modest way with providing the industry, gratis, with one tool, one block of IP, we could meet the larger goal of increasing the profit pie and share accordingly.

And just like the hotel chain looking to profitably reduce its carbon footprint, we believe that our contributions will, in fact, continually enhance our brand, endear us to hard-working engineers and ultimately increase our bottom line. Several users have already asked us to provide the MPW to them and for that we make a modest profit.

The semiconductor industry is the heart of the Internet, the cloud and computing. Yet we collectively fail to use what we make. By availing the world of valuable tools on our Web site, increasing the efficiency of our industry’s engineers, and simply saving time and money, we are making a bold first step to demonstrate that a CSR viewpoint is good for our ecosystem and good for eSilicon.

Give it some thought and find a way to launch your own righteous program. And, in the meantime check out ours.

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