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Safran supports the French Business Climate Pledge initiative
In 2016, under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the stakeholders in the air transport industry set themselves a highly ambitious goal in terms of environmental requirements: bringing greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 down to 50% of their 2005 levels, despite passenger traffic being expected to increase 3.5-fold by then. Between 2009 and 2020, the objective is to improve fleet fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year.
The third-largest player in world aeronautics (excluding manufacturers), with revenue of more than €21 billion in 2018 and more than 93,000 employees on over 300 sites worldwide, Safran is contributing fully to achieving this objective by acting on two levels: reducing the environmental impact of its products and managing the greenhouse gas emissions linked to their production.
Our engines and equipment need to consume less and less fuel. Already, the new jet engine from Safran, the LEAP, produced since 2016 and designed for short- and medium-haul aircraft, emits 15% less CO2 compared to the current standard. We need to go even further. 75% of our R&T budget, the total amount of which will exceed €600 million in 2022, is therefore being directed toward reducing the environmental footprint of our products.
We are working on ultra-energy-efficient modes of propulsion, with new architectures such as Open Rotor and advanced materials, and on sustainable alternative fuels.
The electrification of propulsion also accounts for a major proportion of our effort, even though the technological challenges posed by the energy density of batteries make this more of a long-term project for commercial aviation. However, small, medium and larger hybrid or all-electric aircraft, which could reduce air traffic congestion on routes and cities, should start to make their appearance in stages between the mid-2020s and the following decade. The aviation industry can also contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions for other modes of transport, by proposing an alternative to them.
Electrification concerns propulsion but also equipment. An example of the latter is electric taxiing, whereby a motor incorporated in the landing gear handles some of the taxiing on the runway, thereby reducing fuel consumption by up to 4%. Managing the environmental footprint of our products also involves supporting our customers in reducing their energy consumption. Digital solutions such as SFCO2 or BOOST enable airplane and helicopter pilots to make optimum use of our engines in terms of energy efficiency.
Moreover, we need to continually improve how we manage the carbon footprint of our production modes. Launched in late 2018, the Low Carbon project targets a major reduction of greenhouse gas emissions linked to our activities, to comply with the two degrees scenario of the International Energy Agency. We had given ourselves two years to define the notion of carbon compatibility, draw up an inventory of exemplary actions—such as the biomass plant in Bordes, the biodiesel plant in Gloucester, or the controlled and optimized management of air in the clean room in Montluçon—and study the feasibility of the objective of reducing our energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 40% by 2025. In 2020, this strategy will be implemented through investments and actions on the ground. At our nacelles factory in Le Havre for instance, this involves replacing gas heating with the urban heating network. While at our sites in Mexico, this means supplying electricity from a field of solar panels.
Alongside the other stakeholders in the sector, Safran, a civic-minded company, is doing all it can to honor its part of the ecological contract to which it is committed. For this reason, Safran is supporting the "French Business Climate Pledge" initiative.
Philippe Petitcolin, Safran CEO