Although our business activities have a relatively low environmental impact, the space sector is anything but immune from the global climate crisis. At SES, we understand the gravity of our responsibility both as an international corporate entity and citizens of the world. And it is our actions—to offset our carbon footprint, reduce space debris and manage or eliminate our on-site waste—that speak the loudest.
Learn more about our efforts here on Earth and beyond…
No Trace in Space
The reality is clear: building satellites and launching them into orbit unescapably has an impact on the terrestrial environment. While many of these impacts largely remain unknown, there is one thing we know to be hazardous: space debris. SES is strongly committed to maintaining the highest environmental standards for our global workforce, partners and customers, and takes an active role in developing protocols for reducing or removing manmade objects and particles from orbit.
Amongst others, we are proud to have achieved one of the best records in the industry for our safe disposal of satellites from the atmosphere at end-of-life. SES is also a founding member of the Space Data Association (SDA), an international non-profit organisation of spacecraft operators that supports the controlled, reliable and efficient sharing of data to enhance the safety and integrity of satellite operations. Pascal Wauthier, our very own Senior Vice President of Satellite Operations and Chairman of the SDA is driving the debate surrounding the problem of ‘space junk’ and the need for better tracking.
Leaving Our Mark on Earth
While we work hard to reduce our footprint in space, we haven’t forgotten our promise to Earth. SES does not operate any of its own manufacturing sites, but we do monitor the environmental impact of our global locations and outsourced activities, including the manufacture and launch of spacecraft. To ensure we are meeting strict global standards, our compliance is checked through yearly audits that are conducted both by internal and third-party accredited organisations.
Since 2008, we have officially reported the CO2 emissions of our operations through participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which collects the data of all our business activities and locations. In 2018, SES succeeded in improving its CDP score generating around 47,797 tons of CO2 emissions worldwide, a decrease of 5% compared to 2018 and attributed to several factors including less unnecessary business travel and the introduction of energy optimisation initiatives at offices and teleports.
In the context of the legal framework in Europe, and in accordance with EN 16247, we analyze the energy efficiency of all our main facilities. This audit was first performed at the SES site in Munich, Germany, and later in 2016 at our Betzorf, Luxembourg HQ.
A Sustainable Tomorrow
Our leadership believes in maximizing resource value in the short-term while minimising environmental impact for tomorrow. This trickles down to all SES’ers who are encouraged to do their part to limit and ultimately eliminate the waste produced at our sites, with a focus on food waste, paper and plastic.
In 2019, SES launched ‘Paper Cut’: an initiative to drastically reduce paper waste while ensuring an easy printing experience. The results continue to be striking – in 2020 alone, more than 600,000 sheets of paper were categorically ‘saved’, equivalent to 7261 trees and 7685 kg of carbon dioxide.
What next? Get all the latest facts and figures in our annual ESG Report.