Supporting the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in meeting the challenge of decarbonising the space sector

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from CNES activities to aim for carbon neutrality, reconciling socio-economic issues with CNES' environmental ambitions to make it a major player in the energy transition...
The mission

Defining a strategic roadmap and an operational action plan to decarbonise CNES activities

France is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. These targets are in line with the trajectory defined by the European Union and the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep average global warming below 1.5°C. To achieve this, all institutional and economic players need to get to grips with the issue and implement policies to reduce their GHG emissions.

The satellite activities carried out by CNES contribute to our knowledge and preservation of the environment, by monitoring many of our planet's climatic and environmental characteristics. Committed to understanding the phenomena associated with climate change, CNES is stepping up its actions in favour of the climate through an ambitious low-carbon strategy. Based on climate science and in line with the transition objectives of the regions where the centre is based, this strategy aims to:

  • Reduce the carbon footprint of its entire operational perimeter, estimated at 400 kT of CO2 in 2019
  • Act on the entire value chain to reduce its environmental footprint
  • Deploy energy-saving measures and ensure that sites switch to renewable energies
Our Answer

Working alongside CNES to deploy and implement an ambitious low-carbon approach

Through a detailed review of CNES' carbon footprint, with a view to identifying the major challenges, our teams are putting the actions already undertaken by CNES into perspective and ensuring consistency. This detailed review of the GHG emissions linked to CNES activities has led to the definition of a strategic roadmap for:

  • Define ambitions and set targets: -50% on direct and indirect energy-related emissions (scopes 1 and 2) and -33% on other indirect emissions (scope 3) by 2030, compared with 2019, and reach net-zero by 2045, 5 years ahead of the national target.
  • Structuring an operational roadmap to orchestrate the implementation of actions: supply of renewable electricity, assessment of the environmental footprint of new orbital projects, etc.

The SUEZ Consulting teams are working alongside CNES to co-construct and deploy specific actions to reduce consumption and GHG emissions. Identified and then refined in workshops with CNES teams to encourage ownership of the sustainable development approach, each of the actions is detailed, depending on the site and activity with:

  •  A reduction target
  • A timetable for implementation
  • A level of priority
  • Key success factors
  • Stakeholders involved

Speeding up the transition at CNES

The major challenge for any environmental transition roadmap is the transition from planning to implementation. Our teams make this implementation a reality over the long term and ensure the integration of the strategy developed jointly with the teams.

Support is provided by means of action monitoring tools developed by our teams to assess their impact in relation to the objectives set. Regular assessment of the actions validates the compatibility of the progress made with the objectives set by CNES in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enables the roadmap to be readjusted at any time.

France has made environmental issues national objectives. CNES is playing its part to the full and is showing great ambition in the ecological transition. Long-term support was an obvious choice, given the importance of a low-carbon strategy for CNES. After a rigorous selection process, SUEZ was unanimously selected by the evaluators.

Laurence Monnoyer-Smith , Director of Sustainable Development, CNES