200

Metric Tons

of scope 1 & 2 CO2e reduced, 2018 - 2020

14300

Patents

Applied Materials has ~14,300 active patents

62%

Reduction

in hazardous waste in their global operations in 2020 compared to 2019

View Our Analysis

The Path to Drawdown: LEDs

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented in 1994 as high-brightness, highly efficient light bulbs. LEDs work like solar panels in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. They use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and half as much as compact fluorescents, for the same amount of light. While other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and most of it wasted), LEDs convert 80% of their energy use into creating light.

There are many environmental advantages of LEDs. Their efficiency in converting energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning loads. For people without access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar cells and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. When LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Project Drawdown predicts that if LED lighting becomes ubiquitous in both the residential and commercial lighting market, it can help avoid between 10.2 - 10.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions in residences, and between 5.9 - 6.7 gigatons in commercial buildings. But to get there, the global market share of LEDs needs to scale rapidly:

  • <::marker> In 2018, LED lights comprised 3% of the total commercial lighting market and 2% of the residential lighting market
  • <::marker> By 2050, LEDs should account for 95% and 90% of the residential and commercial markets, respectively
  • <::marker> That’s 12.82% CAGR for residential LED, and 11.21% CAGR for commercial LED lighting between 2018 and 2050.

What We Want to See Improve

Set More Aggressive Emissions Targets

Applied Materials’ ESG director writes that they are not satisfied with the ESG rating they received from CDP in 2021. We aren’t, either. Despite Applied Materials’ active approach to reducing their environmental impact, their track record only seems to have started in 2019, and their GHG emissions have only declined marginally in the last few years. We think they can do better than a 50% emissions reduction by the end of the decade.

Expand Production of LED-Related Products

Applied Materials’ Display & Adjacent Markets segment, which includes products for manufacturing LEDs, accounts for less than 6 % of their total revenue. Yet LEDs are a valuable Drawdown solution by offering the most energy-efficient lighting for both households and commercial buildings. We want to see Applied Materials expand their sales of LEDs and OLEDs to lead the wholesale displacement of incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

Increase Solar Technology Business

Along similar lines, we want Applied Materials to expand their existing offerings of solar technology, including products for fabricating solar PV cells and modules (p. 40). As another critical Drawdown solution, we urge them to grow this segment of their business to push the adoption of solar panels.

Related LED Lights Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

5.00%

Applied Materials (AMAT)

Applied Materials supplies equipment, services and software for LED manufacturing. LEDs help conserve energy and cut emissions

0.56%

Universal Display (OLED)

Universal Display makes organic LEDs, replacing fluorescent and incandescent lighting and improving building energy efficiency

0.47%

Acuity Brands (AYI)

Acuity makes LEDs, smart lighting and building technology solutions that can improve energy efficiency and emissions from buildings

0.40%

Power Integrations, Inc. (POWI)

POWI makes energy-efficiency products like AC-DC power converters and LED drivers. These solutions help buildings conserve energy and cut emissions

0.28%

Diodes Incorporated (DIOD)

Diodes makes a range of semiconductor products for LCD display, LED monitors and lighting. LED lighting is a key solution for cutting building emissions

0.07%

Veeco Instruments Inc. (VECO)

Veeco makes equipment and processing systems used in making high-tech LEDs. Energy-efficient LEDs help buildings cut energy use and emissions

0.05%

Magnachip Semiconductor Corp. (MX)

Magnachip Semiconductor derives its revenue in part from the promotion of LEDs and solar PVs, through the sale of LED products and products used with solar PVs. It creates no products specifically for the fossil fuel industry.

0.02%

Agrify Corporation (AGFY)

Agrify provides LED lighting and other products for high-yield indoor agriculture. Efficient LEDs are an energy-saving alternative to conventional lights

0.02%

Amtech Systems, Inc. (ASYS)

Amtech Systems makes semiconductor equipment for LED and power device applications. LED lighting helps buildings cut emissions

0.02%

AXT, Inc. (AXTI)

AXT sells semiconductor substrates used in LEDs, thermal imaging, and autonomous vehicles. It makes no products specifically for the fossil fuel industry, thus passing our revenue filter.

0.02%

Energy Focus (EFOI)

Energy Focus makes LEDs for the Navy, federal, state and local governments, and big organizations, helping them save energy and cut building emissions

0.02%

Highway Holdings Limited (HIHO)

HIHO makes electronic components, some of which are used in making LEDs. LEDs are energy-efficient lighting that can cut emissions from buildings

0.02%

SemiLEDs Corporation (LEDS)

SemiLEDs makes LED components for lighting and other applications. LEDs are an energy-efficient lighting alternative that can cut building emissions

0.02%

LSI Industries Inc. (LYTS)

LSI Industries makes LEDs for automotive, restaurant, retail and grocery store customers. Energy-efficient LEDs help buildings cut emissions

0.02%

Orion Energy Systems, Inc (OESX)

Orion offers LED lighting and custom-made energy management systems for big organizations - a solution that cuts energy use and emissions from buildings

0.02%

O2Micro International Limited (OIIM)

O2Micro International makes LED products and lighting. LEDs are an energy-efficient lighting alternative that can cut emissions

Attend Our Next Webinar

Attend Our Next Webinar

Join our next Sustainable Investing 101 webinar, get our favorite DIY options, and walk through how we build our portfolios.

Register
Get Our Newsletter

Get Our Newsletter

Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account.

Talk To A Human

Talk To A Human

Joining a new investment service can be intimidating. We’re here for you. Click below to email us a question or book a quick call.

Ask a Question