It's Not Just For Now, It's For The Future! - Making the Cut with Peter Chambers

Updated: Sep 16

We speak to Peter Chambers, Managing Director (Sales) of AMD Asia Pacific & Japan, about AMD’s efforts in achieving peak efficiency in their products while keeping their sustainable goals on track!

Q: So, Peter, I was looking through the AMD website and you have some pretty ambitious, sustainable goals for 2025 and 2030, one of which is to increase the efficiency of your processors by 30 times. Now, are we looking at a processor that is probably as fast as we get now or probably even faster, using 30 times less amount of energy?


Well certainly. For us, it's a goal that we're striving for and it's not a goal that we take lightly, it's a goal that's been driven by our customers.


Customers want more efficiency, they also have environmental goals, so we need to align with what they're looking for and so for us, it's been a journey in specifically designing a roadmap to deliver a 30x energy efficiency improvement, specifically around our EPYC CPUs, our Radeon instinct accelerators, HPCs and using workloads around the exponentially growing AI.


We've set ourselves those goals, we've said it publicly and clearly, it's something that we're striving for and looking forward to achieving in the future. Interestingly, we've made similar goals before, so back in 2014, we set ourselves the audacious goal of a 25x improvement on our mobile, notebook-based products.


And we got there in 2020. So our third-gen Ryzen products delivered, we overachieved because that's what we do at AMD. We overachieve and we delivered a 31x improvement in efficiency between 2014 and 2020.


So we have the runs on the board, we'd like to deliver on our goals and certainly, we'll continue to strive for that 30x audacious goal as we go into 2025.


Q: We are, of course, sitting in the BMW i4, this is fully electric. It has zero CO2 emissions. It is also built with 100% green energy. A components maker like AMD, you're primarily, I guess, a B2B business. How do you ensure renewable energy in your production process because you have to think about the entire value chain, right? How do you ensure that?


Well, first of all, going to talk about cars for a sec. We're talking about the cost of Grab going up in Singapore, and so we've been talking about buying a car. Finally, after eight years in Singapore, having a car and my nine-year-old says, "Daddy, I hope it's an electric car." When we talk about the environment, bringing more energy-efficient products and reducing greenhouse gas, it's not just for now, it's for the future, our next generation of children.


And not just that, customers are demanding it now, our children, the next generation is also looking for it. They are a lot more conscious and savvy about it so from an AMD standpoint, it's also very important to us. We have internal properties that we work on and we have a lot of supplies in our supply and manufacturing chain as well. So from an AMD internal standpoint, we have a goal by 2030 to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.


But more importantly, we need to find suppliers and supply chain partners that have similar goals to us. Again, in that regard, we have a goal of delivering and having 80% of our supply chain using renewable energy by 2025.


We're also working towards that not just internally, but also with how we partner with our external supply chain folks.


Q: It's a very big conversation because you are talking about so many different partners, right? Also leading up to what I was about to ask you, which was that AMD processors are pretty much used in all the innovative consumer products and you’re talking laptops, gaming consoles, DIY computers. How then, with this big conversation that you have with all your partners, do you ensure that your processors are being used the most efficiently?


Well, I think there are multiple steps in that journey and the first of all is to create an efficient product so obviously, we do that at the core of what we do and how we design the product.


Then, of course, in most situations, we're putting that product into something else and so we think about say, notebooks, we work with our partners in designing those notebooks and we work with them to create efficiencies in that product, to give the best customer experience and the best pair efficiency and also to optimise the features of our product.


So if we think about our latest generation, our 6000 series Ryzen notebook products, intergenerationally, we worked on 50 different improvements to optimise power efficiency and things like that.


So from a customer experience standpoint, it uses less power, gets a longer battery life and if we think about specific applications, things like video conferencing, we've improved the efficiency of video conferencing by 30% intergenerationally so that's a tangible benefit to a customer.


Q: So clearly there's been an increase in demand for AMD processors and products, right? How do you manage that rapid growth, but at the same time, keep your sustainability targets kind of on track?


For us, when ensuring that our sustainability goals are made publicly available, we're holding ourselves accountable. I think it is incredibly important and the responsibility of not only having that level of growth but also meeting those goals is not mutually exclusive. Setting audacious goals to make sure that we hold ourselves accountable to meet the expectations of the customers in the market, I think is very important and that's what we're working towards.


Q: This is amazing because you're holding yourself accountable but as you said earlier, it's also your customers that are holding you accountable as well, right? I think this is something that the market is expecting and you're right in the heart of it, isn't it? Developing your product. Now, we're talking a lot about the environment and I know also that environmental stewardship is just one of your key strategic areas when it comes to sustainability at AMD, now what are some of the other areas that you're also paying a lot of attention to when it comes to sustainability?


So ESG, environment, social and governance framework, is very important at AMD which covers a very broad range of topics. So a lot of those goals that we have around are also driven by the UN, so if we think about some of these goals around reduction in greenhouse gases, the 30x improvement in energy efficiency is also guided by our partnership with the UN. So these are all the things that we take into consideration when we're setting these goals.


These goals aren't set in isolation, they get done in consultation. So bringing it back closer to home, in Singapore, we've got some 500 engineers based here in Singapore and they're all very committed to environmental causes as well and so over the last number of years, in 2020, we’ve recycled 2,700 kilos of plastic waste and then moving to general waste, it was 29,000 kilos and as we look at electronic waste, it was around 13,000 kilos, so we've taken an active part in helping separate the different components, making sure that it goes into the right places so they take a very personal approach to be part of that journey and help us walk the talk as it will.


One of the greatest challenges of our time is resource scarcity and environmental degradation so they're taking an active role in helping with that. It helps our contribution to both the environment and the community as well.


Q: Now, Peter, I've been told that AMD processors are powering the exascale supercomputers, now that's cutting edge, really exciting stuff. Please tell me a little bit about that.


Well, it is super exciting stuff and it's the first time that a supercomputer has passed the exascale level. So we're the number one, we have the highest performing supercomputer in the world and it's also the greenest supercomputer in the world. What makes us even more proud is that AMD now powers the top four greenest supercomputers globally so we're very proud of that result but also, it’s a reflection of our goal of driving that environmental efficiency story with all of the products that we deliver to the market.


And of course, having all that horsepower and compute power helps us solve some of the largest environmental challenges of the world and we can apply that technology to help come up with solutions for future generations.


Q: Now, I always ask our guests on Making the Cut about what advice they have for everyday people and I guess in this case, how an individual can contribute to environmental awareness through the use of electronic devices or computers.


Then the best advice for many people is to turn it off at the wall. I see a lot of people leave it plugged in. It's turned on and for desktop PC a lot of the time, they don't put it into sleep mode and so it's sitting there consuming electricity. So the one thing I would say is to turn it off at the wall if you not using it, but if you can't do that, make sure the sleep setting's appropriately timed. So after 5 minutes of no use, it'll go into a deep sleep mode and use the lowest power consumption.


The other thing I would say is to upgrade. Of course, as a hardware manufacturer, you might think that's a bit of a contradiction. But the reality of it is, a lot of very new products are much more efficient than products 3-4 years old.


So if you think about some of the improvements, even with our current generation, we're looking at about a 50% improvement in power efficiency just in one generation. So of course, if you get an upgrade, that's great, you're going to get better power efficiency, but of course, we encourage folks to recycle.


There are several companies in Singapore that can help with reusing or breaking the product down in an environmental way and making sure that the precious metals that are inside are reused appropriately.


That is perfect advice. Thank you so much, Peter. It was such a pleasure talking to you, thank you for being on Making The Cut, you've clearly made the cut.


Thank you. It's lovely to be here.

 

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