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Thales Beats Four Goals, French Water Use Down 72%

Thales beat four 2010 environmental goals, according to its latest Corporate Responsibility Annual Report – but the report did not say whether the aerospace and defense electronics company had missed any targets.

According to the only environmental data table in the report (see above left), Thales beat 2010 targets on energy consumption, CO2 per person from business trips, CO2 from buildings and processes, and quantity of non-hazardous waste per person, all measured against a 2008 baseline.

The report (pdf) also said that the company has reduced water consumption in France, its home country, by 72 percent since 2000.

Thales said it has reduced emissions of the ozone-depleting substance sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) by 28 percent from 2007 to 2010, despite a release during an equipment failure last year. SF6 accounts for 72% of Thales’s greenhouse gas emissions and has a global warming potential of almost 23,000 times that of CO2, the company said. Thales uses SF6 at three sites in France, primarily to isolate electron tubes during testing under high voltage.

And the company said that 14 percent of land at its sites is protected for its biodiversity or indigenous cultural heritage. The group has taken steps to protect local flora and fauna, and to educate its employees about preservation of natural habitats, the report said

Beyond these results, the report did not include any data on Thales’ environmental performance, or any other environmental targets.

The company says evaluates its environmental impact through a holistic approach that incorporates site management, processes and product design.

“In 2010, the Group expanded the scope of its environmental reporting by introducing new indicators such as CO2 emissions from company-owned vehicles, wastewater, and waste disposal. Analysis shows that the environmental impacts of these activities were much less significant than other activities,” the report said. The company did not share this analysis, but said it has taken substantive measures to generate less waste and consume less energy and water.

Since 2005, Thales has reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) on its climate change strategy and its progress in reducing its carbon footprint. It is also a founding member of the public-private partnership CleanSky, which aims to reduce noise pollution from aircraft by 50 percent, CO2 emissions by 40 percent and nitric oxide by 60 percent by 2020.

Thales is a partner on Sesar, a programme focused on enhancing air traffic management by 2020. Objectives are to increase the capacity of the European air transport system three-fold, halve unit costs, enhance security by a factor of ten and cut unit consumption and associated emissions by 10 percent.

During product design, Thales says, it takes into account the life-long environmental impact of certain products, from the consumption of raw materials, through production and distribution, to end-of-life disposal or recycling.

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