The low-carbon project: how Safran is reducing its environmental footprint
Since 2018, Safran has been implementing an ambitious plan to reduce its carbon emissions. This "low-carbon" project, which is led by the new Climate Division and involves all of the Group's companies, covers all activities directly or indirectly related to product manufacturing. In 2021, under the leadership of Group Chief Executive Officer Olivier Andriès, Safran revised its low-carbon objectives with an even more ambitious target: a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 compared to 2018.
In addition to Safran's technological contribution to the development of the future low-carbon aircraft, the Group is committed to measuring and drastically reducing the carbon footprint of its industrial operations. Now led by a new Climate Division, this plan covers all of the Group's activities.
"In concrete terms, the idea is to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at all our plants and production sites, also those in the supply chain", explains Bertrand Fiol, head of the Group's Low-Carbon Plan. "The plan covers all emissions linked to the Group's activities, divided into three 'scopes': scope 1 for direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (heating, fuel combustion in our test benches, etc.); scope 2 for indirect emissions linked to our energy consumption (mainly electricity and heat); and finally scope 3 for our other external emissions, linked to the activities of subcontractors and suppliers, logistics, purchases of consumables, waste management, employee commuting, etc. This third scope also includes the emissions generated by the Group's products throughout their life cycle."
Energy consumption reviewed in depth
Targeting energy consumption is one of the Group's top priorities. Safran has rolled out an energy strategy that primarily covers scopes 1 and 2, centered on the following mechanisms:
- Improving energy efficiency in new buildings
- Reducing energy consumption at existing sites
- Changing energy sources for heating
- Purchasing carbon-neutral energy
- Generating renewable electricity on-site.
Solar power supply contracts, investments in solar parks, the commissioning of wind turbines... Safran has already taken a number of steps to reduce fossil fuel consumption on its sites and support the development of low-carbon energy sources, which can be used to meet the energy needs of buildings and industrial production. "A building's energy efficiency is now a criterion taken into account in every real estate project – like the 'Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus' in Bordeaux, or the Safran Electronics & Defense site currently under construction in Valencia," notes Bertrand Fiol.
Incorporating an Internal Carbon Price
To further decarbonize its industrial processes, Safran has also developed an Internal Carbon Price (ICP), which now applies to investments. "This measure should encourage us to move toward lower-carbon solutions. By assigning a monetary value to harmful emissions, the 'environmental cost' becomes an additional point of comparison alongside the others. It can help us identify the 'cleanest' option among two equivalent solutions. The ICP will also galvanize investments to replace our oldest and most polluting equipment," explains Fiol.
Using sustainable fuels for engine testing after 2021
To maintain decarbonization efforts despite the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, Safran has revised its targets upward: by 2025, the Group is now hoping to achieve a 30% reduction in its emissions in scopes 1+2 compared to 2018. Among the various resources available to achieve these objectives, Safran is committed to using sustainable fuels for engine testing. By the end of 2021, engine test benches will be required to incorporate 10% sustainable fuels, and more than 35% by 2025. This step is also in line with our vision for decarbonizing the aviation sector, where such fuels will play an important role.
And despite the Covid-19 crisis, Safran is staying the course: "While this project is about responsibility, and meeting our stakeholders' expectations (employees included), it's also about improving performance, since optimizing our processes and our energy consumption will eventually optimize our recurring costs. In addition to the environmental priorities, another major concern of this strategy is achieving industrial efficiency," concludes Fiol. In other words: Safran's ecological and energy transition is moving forward. And nothing – not even a pandemic – can stop it.
- © Cyril Abad / CAPA Pictures / Safran