SES Material Issues

Please note that the information in this section relates to our 2021 ESG Report, which can be found here.

As an industry leader, SES is committed to the creation of a more robust, resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and well-connected society and created its ESG strategy with this awareness. We believe that companies operate as a key member of society and therefore have a responsibility to all stakeholders to acknowledge and report on their impact to society and the environment. In 2021, SES engaged, with outside consultancy, in multistakeholder dialogues to better understand external and internal stakeholder needs and expectations. We were able to define the most pressing issues to our stakeholders which resulted in an in-depth materiality analysis on these issues. SES identified 25 material issues and 12 themes that represent these issues collectively.


Stakeholder outreach
SES outsourced material issue identification process to Globescan (a public opinion research consultancy) which identified and prioritized material issues through external interviews with industry experts, customers, NGO partners, civil society, and government representatives. Additional internal input was collected through workshops, surveys, and ESG investor rating analysis. While prioritizing material issues, Globescan focused on what is being emphasized in established ESG frameworks (e.g., Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainable Development Goals) to standardize SES materiality.

Material Issues
SES groups material issues under different tiers based on the issue’s impact to the business and to the society. Most critical, thus priority material issues are listed under Tier 1 category. These issues include SES’ engagement with the digital society, Diversity and Inclusion, operational carbon footprint, energy use, and interaction with the space and waste minimization.

In the review and analysis of its material issues, SES has recognized common themes that drive its impact and business strategy. The material issues are grouped under twelve exclusive yet intersecting themes that fully capture the company’s interaction with the environment and society as well as the governing principles through its business operations. The twelve material themes are represented in the table are incorporated into our strategy, reporting and targets going forward.

Space Sustainability Climate Change End of Life & Circularity
Customer / Partner
Transparent, Safe, and
Efficient Supply Chain
Employee Development
Digital Inclusion Economic Development
for Underserved
Diversity, Equity, &
Space Policy & Industry
Ethical and Responsible
Transparent and
Responsible Use of

Space Sustainability
As a leader in the satellite industry, SES is responsible for spearheading the change towards a more sustainable space policy. SES is an influential actor in the space domain and has a fleet large enough to promote reduce, reuse, recycle mentality to minimize space waste and congestion.  SES understands that addressing risks related to satellites that are already in the orbit is an important part of minimizing company related negative externalities. Nevertheless, the company also acknowledges the importance of preventing the growth of future debris.

Climate Change
SES takes a step beyond space waste and congestion and incorporates a holistic approach to become a more sustainable space actor. The company collects transparent and auditable carbon emissions data to manage its environmental footprint more effectively and reduce its Scope 1, 2 and, 3 emissions. The company regularly reports to the Carbon Disclosure Project  and starting in 2022 will be releasing emission reduction targets.

End of Life & Circularity
SES understands that prolonging the life of our satellites and the hardware used on the ground is a crucial issue for both addressing space sustainability and responsible stewardship of our planet SES is working on the ways to launch fewer satellites by extending the lifetime of the planned assets without compromising the company’s extensive/overarching coverage network.  In addition, SES is investigating the reuse of ground equipment to reduce material use on earth.

Customer / Partner Enablement
SES firmly believes that the promotion of sustainable development lies in collaborative efforts of different stakeholders. With this mindset, SES views our ESG strategy in collaboration with our customers in order to advance their positive impact with the services we jointly offer.

Transparent, Safe, and Efficient Supply Chain
SES not only focuses on its partners’ impacts on the society and the environment, but also analyzes its and its partners’ supply chain to minimize negative environmental and social outcomes and to progress towards uplifting communities and the economy of the locations of operation. SES expects its partners to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and expects them to achieve positive, progressive, and inclusive development each year and alignment with the UN SDGs. 

Employee Development
Employee development is crucial for SES to embed ESG practices into its company culture. SES makes sures that the employees are well-educated and up to date with sustainability issues and the company also integrates digital skills development to its broader employee engagement/development target. 

Digital Inclusion
SES is responsible for providing digital access for millions of people. Therefore, digital inclusion ranks high in SES materiality agenda. SES provides digital access to remote working zones and to people who do not have access to information which contributes to achieving more prosperous societies in the least developed parts of the world. 

Economic Development for Underserved Communities
SES fully supports connectivity and economic development for poorer regions in the world. SES plays a crucial role in increasing underprivileged people’s access to finance and education through providing affordable and accessible network connections that help reduce poverty in the world. 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion are the heart of SES ESG strategy. SES not only cares about bringing more women and people from more ethnically diverse backgrounds into the space industry, but also providing senior level positions with representation of different communities and progress towards gender equality principles in mind. 

Space Policy & Industry Leadership
SES is an industry leader in telecommunications and space, nevertheless the company aims to become a thought leader for sustainable development of the industry as well. SES is ambitious about driving technological innovation, sustainable policy implementation, and creating and leading collective action platforms in the industry. 

Ethical and Responsible Business
SES puts an emphasis on anti-bribery and corruption principles. SES believes that corruption and bribery hinder economic development and progress towards sustainable economies, therefore the company has very strict compliance measures for the company itself and its partners. Furthermore, as a leading digital service provider, SES knows that it has a strict commitment to provide data privacy, cyber security and data protection. 

Transparent and Responsible Use of Technology
SES works with governments and private companies based on the transparency and responsibility criteria. SES realizes that while our technology overwhelmingly provides positive impact to the world, technology also has the potential to cause harm. Tied to ethical and responsible business principle, SES does not allow third actors to hijack and to manipulate customer data, even when the third actor is the government.

Materiality Index Definition of Issues

Material Topics 

Definition / Sub issues included 

Employee diversity, equity, & inclusion 

Diverse and inclusive workforce policies; active engagement with underrepresented groups to boost diversity; pay equity; gender and ethnicity representation and equity across levels of the company 

Ethical & transparent business practices 

Ethical compliance and governance best practices; supporting international space agreements toward sustainability; working with regulators; transparency about activities; regular reporting on sustainability impacts; responsible tax behavior 

Digital reach & inclusion 

Digital access and inclusion through partnerships, products, and services; net neutrality/open internet; bridging the digital divide; participation in global economy and society 

Renewables & energy use 

Renewable and alternative energy sourcing; energy use reduction and transparency; compliance and alignment with energy saving programs 

Space waste and congestion 

Space debris; satellite decommissioning and repurposing; hardware collision in space; risk to established orbits; equipment e-waste in orbit; efficiency in high-capacity satellites 

GHG emissions (Scope 1, 2, 3) 

Carbon footprint and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations and supply chain; transparency around Scope 1, 2, 3; GHG reduction commitments and progress 

Cybersecurity and data privacy 

Protections to safeguard the privacy & personal data of customers, employees, and business partners; actively safeguard against threat actors and interference 

Digital access to basic services 

Positive outcomes from SES technology, products, services; enabling access to telemedicine, education, finance etc through communications network 

Transparent supply chain management** 

Vendor and supplier vetting; ensure suppliers uphold standards on environmental, social, and ethical business practice issues; transparency throughout tiers of supply chain; human rights violations and management; active supply chain oversight;  

Employee and worker rights, wellbeing and safety 

Labor rights and relations in the workplace and supply chain; employee rights and relations; healthy and safe working environment; accidents and reduction reporting  

Employee recruitment, development & engagement** 

Ability to recruit and maintain talent across the business through employee growth programs and human capital management; ability for employees to be heard, present, focused, and energized 

Emergency response / disaster management 

Services during disasters and emergency situations; enabling organizations to respond to crisis; support for refugees or stranded communities 

Satellite / ground infrastructure end of life 

Single-use hardware and satellite systems; recycle and reuse satellite components; extending service lifecycle; designing for end-of-life and decommissioning for disassembly and recovery 

Anti-bribery and corruption 

Measures and action to eliminate bribery and corruption across the value chain in all countries of operation 

Local community impact 

Positive impacts on local communities near centers of operation; company clean up and volunteering in community; economic support and jobs provided in communities where they operate 

Responsible use of technology 

Transparency about use of products and services, including government relationships and military use; 

Operational waste 

Waste and byproducts from office and operations centers; resource use in buildings 

Use and recovery of toxics, precious materials and conflict minerals 

Toxic byproducts from satellite launches and operations; recovery of rare materials/metals; conflict minerals procurement 

Water footprint 

Use and management of water in operations and supply chain; water use in data centers and other cooling functions 

Diversity in STEM education 

STEM education for the future workforce; women & girls in tech/engineering; active diverse pipeline recruitment and planning 

Environmental impact of satellite launches 

Resource use in satellite launches including energy and fuel burned; impacts on launch sites; air pollution from launches 

Customer environmental benefits 

Enabling positive  customer ESG impact and climate goals; providing environmental solutions and innovations 

Climate adaptation and resilience 

Climate risks addressed as part of future business strategy; high quality service in resource constraints; contingency planning for climate risks 

Space policy and advocacy 

Industry influence and advocacy for responsible space use, climate action, and other sector collaborations for peaceful and responsible use of space long-term 

Biodiversity and Land Use 

Impacts of operations and services on wildlife and ecosystems; land use footprint; biodiversity and species loss