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Seagate Life Cycle Analyses & Corporate Sustainability

 

Seagate’s Corporate Environmental Management

An integrated approach to managing Global Citizenship throughout the supply chain is a basic expectation of our customers and other stakeholders who are concerned about how, and under what conditions, products are manufactured. Seagate purchases products and materials from a wide range of suppliers in many geographic locations, and we expect our supply chain business partners to employ responsible, sustainable business practices in the work that they do for Seagate.
Learn more about Environmental Management and Sustainability at Seagate at:

Product Environmental Performance
Seagate has used Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) as a management tool for appraising and quantifying the total environmental impact of its products and packaging over the entire life cycle of particular materials, processes, products, technologies, services or activities. Seagate has partnered with WSP Environment & Energy, an independent consultancy firm, to conduct LCAs for each of its core product types. The studies have been completed according to the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 Framework and Guidelines for Life Cycle Analysis. They have been 3rd party critically reviewed.

Overview of LCA
A life cycle analysis is an analysis of environmental impacts over a product’s life cycle from raw material extraction through end-of-life. For hard disc drives manufactured by Seagate (and packaging manufactured by third party vendors), these life cycle stages typically include the following:

  • Extraction and manufacture of raw materials and components used in the construction of the drive including metals, plastics, adhesives, electrical and mechanical components
  • Transportation of components and parts from Seagate’s suppliers to assembly plants
  • Energy consumption and emissions during production and assembly of substrate, media, drive heads and finished hard disc drives at Seagate’s assembly and manufacturing facilities located in Asia
  • Transportation of the finished packaged hard drives to Seagate’s OEM partners
  • Electricity generation and consumption during normal use of the product over a 3 year time period
  • Transportation required to reclaim drives following their useful life
  • Disassembly, depollution and disposal of the drives at the end of their useful life

LCA studies can highlight phases of the life cycle that have high environmental impact and inform the product design process to improve environmental performance.

Our Process – How We Conduct LCAs

Seagate has been developing life cycle analyses for products in each of its core market segments, including enterprise hard discs and solid state drives used in data centers, notebook and desktop computer hard disc drives, hybrid solid state drives, and portable hard drives packaged with retail enclosures. We have also conducted LCAs for retail packaging and the bulk packaging used to ship drives to our computer manufacturing customers.

Our process begins by first collecting the product bill of materials (BOM). These detailed BOMs not only show component type and mass but also report material content at the chemical substance level.

Next, LCA tools are used to model the life cycle of Seagate’s products, beginning with the materials and parts identified in the BOM. Seagate assembly plant managers provide additional data related to energy use and emissions during the assembly and testing of finished products. Transportation details are added to the models reflecting the mix of air, ocean and truck freight used during component sourcing and to distribute products to our customers.

Finally, detailed environmental impact data covering the product life cycle is generated using the ReCiPe LCA impact methodology. Each life cycle analysis is documented in detailed study reports that adhere to the ISO 14044 standard for life cycle analysis, and each study is critically reviewed by a third party.

What We’ve Learned by Conducting LCAs

Over the course of conducting LCAs for each key market segment we have learned that:

  • Energy used by the customer’s server or computer during use comprises a large share of the overall hard drive impact. This is particularly true for enterprise drives, which run nearly 24/7 in performance optimized data centers.
  • A customer’s location also drives the impact results because electricity generation and recycling rates vary greatly by region. Location has a direct impact on shipping distance and associated transportation environmental impacts.
  • Air freight shipment of products to our customers far outweighs the material production impact, and converting to larger packs that contain more drives minimizes impact on a per drive basis.
  • First generation solid state hard drives have similar life cycle impacts to hard disc drives both from material use and power draw perspectives.
  • Results from LCAs can be used to drive alternative materials investigation with lower environmental impact for future product lines.

Our Life Cycle Analyses

Market Segment
Product Family
Internal Desktop PC Desktop HDD--Barracuda
Internal Notebook PC Laptop HDD--Momentus
Internal Notebook PC Laptop SSHD--Momentus XT
Internal Enterprise Enterprise Performance 10k HD--Savvio
Internal Enterprise Performance Optimised Enterprise SSD--Pulsar.2
External Portable Retail Retail--Free Agent GoFlex
Retail Packaging All--Drives Backup Plus Retail Packaging
OEM Packaging All Drives--Hard Disc Packaging
Extensible Storage Platform Disk Drive Storage Unit--Titan (SP-2584)