Effective October 1, 2012, QUALCOMM Incorporated completed a corporate reorganization in which the assets of certain of its businesses and groups, as well as the stock of certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, were contributed to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM Incorporated. Learn more about these changes

Water Conservation

Using water more efficiently

As water sources around the world become increasingly stressed, we’re acutely aware of the need to treat water as the precious resource it is. We’re conserving water, particularly in California, the home of our headquarters and a state perennially challenged by water scarcity.

Conserving water in California

At our San Diego facilities, we make our greatest gains in water conservation by utilizing reclaimed water instead of potable water for irrigation and air conditioning. As we construct new buildings and renovate existing facilities, we intend to use as much reclaimed water as local infrastructure allows. We are working with the City of San Diego to find a cost-effective solution for extending so-called purple pipes for reclaimed water to more of our facilities. Additionally, at our San Diego facilities where we do not have access to reclaimed water for our cooling towers, we avoid consuming another 11.5 millions gallons of potable water annually, by carefully managing the treatment of the water, enabling us to use it longer before having to flush the system and refill it.

At our San Jose and Santa Clara operations, we saved approximately a quarter of a million gallons of water per year by using a reverse osmosis/deionized water system that produces less wastewater. Of the wastewater the system did produce, we recycled more than a million gallons by diverting it into the cooling towers for our air-conditioning system, thus significantly decreasing the amount of water from the city water system we would have otherwise used to fill the towers.

2012 Water Usage (million gallons)*
2012 Water Usage (million gallons)

*San Diego, CA, facilities only. Water usage that does not come from reclaimed sources is supplied by the City of San Diego, Water Department. Detailed information regarding its water supply can be found on their website.

Considering our water footprint

As we rely on suppliers to manufacture our chipsets and other products, we are concerned with the adverse impacts that the manufacturing process may have on the environment. Water consumption and its impact on the environment are one area of concern. Therefore, we want our suppliers to be as efficient with their water use as possible. QCT currently requires its manufacturing suppliers to conserve, recycle and reuse water through its Supplier Code of Conduct. We are in the process of further articulating our expectations of suppliers with regard to water and exploring ways that we can work with them to use water more efficiently.

Assessing our water challenges

Thinking Ahead

Assessing our water challenges

Water may not be the first thing you think of when you consider a high-tech company like ours. But water is essential to our business—both in the operation of our facilities and in our semiconductor supply chain facilities.

Given the increasing pressure on water sources worldwide, in 2012 we assessed potential long-term water challenges for our business. We employed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water Tool in our evaluation and also consulted the Global Environmental Management Initiative Local Water Tool.

Our analyses confirmed our understanding that our California facilities, especially our San Diego headquarters, are located in areas that may be subject to long-term water scarcity. In response, we are continuing efforts to use water as efficiently as possible, focusing mainly on reusing water at our San Diego facilities, which account for about 55 percent of our global square footage. We are also engaged in local water conservation efforts, working with municipalities, regulators and other businesses to develop solutions for ensuring water security for San Diego, and other communities where we do business, for years to come.

Looking beyond our California facilities, we also considered the long-term water challenges that our primary foundry suppliers for semiconductors may face. Because semiconductor processing is water-intensive, we encourage and support water efficiency, conservation and disclosure efforts by our semiconductor manufacturing suppliers. To that end, we are engaging with our suppliers, communicating our expectations and assisting them in their efforts related to water-conservation and reporting. 

As disclosed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2012, the primary foundry suppliers for our various digital, analog/mixed-signal, radio frequency (RF) and power management (PM) integrated circuits are Global Foundries Inc. (Global Foundries), International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Samsung), Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC). All of these suppliers include disclosures about water on their websites or social responsibility reports. Additionally, three of these six suppliers were asked, and responded to, the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure, including IBM, Samsung and TSMC.

In 2012, we became an applicant member of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, which will allow us to work with others in the electronics industry to improve water practices across the overall electronics supply chain by encouraging more detailed and transparent water reporting and responsible management of water sources. By working together as an industry, we believe we can be more effective in creating workable solutions for adequate long-term water sourcing.

Moving forward, our goal is to seek additional practical methods to enhance water conservation and sustainability practices in our own operations and in those of our suppliers.