We Rise Q&A: Natasha Hodas on Reducing Carbon Emissions and Combating Climate Change
As part of our 2030 goals, we are raising the bar for ourselves and evolving our corporate responsibility strategy to increase the scale of our work with others to create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable world, enabled by technology and our collective actions. We sat down with Natasha Hodas, a Carbon Footprint Program Manager, to discuss snowstorms, greenhouse gases and how to prioritize climate change as companies grow.
Tell us about you and your role at Intel.
As a Carbon Footprint Program Manager with Intel, my role is really focused on characterizing our carbon footprint. I also work with employees from across the company to identify opportunities to reduce emissions, as well.
What got you interested in sustainability and climate action?
I grew up in Buffalo, New York and it was one of the reasons I became interested in weather in the first place. It’s kind of a unique place because it gets lake-effect snow, which can give you these narrow but very heavy bands of snow. You could be living in one part of the city and not have any snowfall, and be in another part of the city and just get slammed. So that really interested me growing up. Plus, it was always fun as a kid wondering, “Are we gonna be missed completely, or are we gonna have a snow day tomorrow?”
Then, in college, I saw Atmospheric Science was available as a major, and thought, “I’ve always loved weather. I love science. This could actually work!” I wasn’t necessarily planning on getting into climate change—I wanted to be a weather forecaster. But then I learned more about the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, and about the impact I could have. That’s what really made me say, “I need to learn more about this!”
What is the 2030 global impact goal you are focused on?
The 2030 Global Impact goal that I’m mainly focused on is our goal to achieve a 10% reduction in our Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from our manufacturing operations, and Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from our electricity use on our sites. These reductions are informed by knowing that in order to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, we need to drive toward absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. Intel’s goal commits to driving those reductions even if the company is in a state of growth. We’re also committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity use across our manufacturing operations by 2030—we’re already at 70% renewable electricity, but we’re aiming for 100% by 2030.
What have you and the carbon reduction working team been focused on recently to achieve our goals?
We have a long history of taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at Intel, and there are a lot of different ways we go about it. Our group has the benefit of really learning from past successes and building on them. At the same time, we’re really looking to collaborate across the company and identify new innovative strategies that can reduce emissions. Something I’m particularly excited about is our Carbon Champion program. The program is really focused on tapping into the diverse expertise and experience our employees have in this area. And at Intel, there are so many employees who are passionate about this and thinking about this, even if it isn’t their day job.
What’s the biggest challenge going forward?
There are definitely challenges to hitting our 2030 goals. One of them is our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even as the company is growing. In the absence of action, when a company grows, there would typically be an increase in emissions. Intel is working hard to change that pattern, but driving emissions reductions at a time when the demand for semiconductors is increasing definitely represents a challenge.
What is one thing you wish the general public knew?
I think one thing that’s really important to understand about climate change is that it’s, to some extent, a unique challenge, because it truly is a global issue. Emissions occurring across the globe in different locations all contribute as a whole to global impact, a global increase in average temperature. But that being said, the impact of an increase in global average temperature is definitely not felt by all equally. Because this is such a global challenge, it really requires global action and collaboration.
If you could get people to take one action to combat climate change, what would it be?
I think there’s a common question of what action can individuals or groups of people take in order to address climate change, and unfortunately there isn’t a single action that exists that can tackle this challenge. That said, there are opportunities for all of us to take a look at our own activities and ask ourselves what we could be doing to have the biggest impact on our carbon footprint? Luckily, there are a lot of publicly available tools that can calculate your carbon footprint and help you understand, “Oh hey, this is one thing I’m doing that tends to have a pretty big impact? Maybe there’s a change I can make that could reduce that a bit.” That’s not so different from the approach many companies tend to take when prioritizing emissions reduction strategies. The first step is to understand what those factors are that contribute the most to carbon footprint. Then you can use that information to target strategies that have the biggest impact.
Learn more about our RISE strategy and Intel’s 2030 goals here.