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Sustainable development

Calculating our carbon footprint to manage it more effectively

Although the crisis sparked by the war between Russia and Ukraine has thrown into critical and urgent relief the collective need to reduce our energy consumption, BRGM has been working for many years now on the scientific issues associated with the energy transition and climate change, and has been studying its own impacts over the same period, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. This global approach has enabled BRGM to make a structured and pertinent contribution to national energy-saving efforts. Today, it is taking this approach one step further with a new carbon audit.

Building D4 at the Orléans BRGM facility has thermal insulation and geothermal heating, resulting in a low level of energy consumption. © BRGM


BRGM’s long-standing and proactive CSR approach has greatly facilitated the implementation of the circulars sent out by the government to ensure the environmental exemplarity of its departments. As a stakeholder in the community of eco-responsible public services (SPE)1 since 2020, BRGM was able to rapidly implement the national energy-saving plan2 launched at the end of September 2022, adapting it to its own organisation through a plan approved by the board of directors after consultation with the Social and Economic Committee (CSE).

Distributed to all employees in November 2022, the plan is organised around three time scales, starting with the short term. “We reminded people of the need to adopt eco-friendly practices, particularly during the winter of 2022-2023, in terms of heating, lighting, business travel, and so on,” explains Fabienne Boutreau. To make it easier to apply recommendations, BRGM distributed thermometers allowing employees to check the temperature of their offices, as well as power strips with a switch enabling all connected appliances to be switched off simultaneously.

(1) Circular published by the Prime Minister’s office on 25 February 2020.
(2) Circular published by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research on 24 September 2022.

Towards energy independence

For the longer term, BRGM’s energy-saving plan will integrate CSR issues into the management of its buildings, in order to reduce their carbon footprint throughout their life cycle. The main action planned for the medium term is to conduct the organisation’s carbon audit – although work in this area started even before the energy-saving plan! “We wanted to build a clearer picture of our greenhouse gas emissions so that we could address the main sources as a priority,” continues the CSRO. A consultancy firm is providing support for the carbon audit, which includes all the impacts of BRGM’s own activities, as well as those of its partners and suppliers. This service should also make it possible for BRGM to subsequently take over the work, so that it can update its diagnosis over time and manage its emissions independently through a proactive transition plan tailored to its activities.

The first report on laboratory-related emissions was published in late 2022. The full audit should be delivered in early 2023. “Having detailed information on our carbon footprint reflects our scientific priorities relating to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. It will enable us to co-construct a multi-year action plan linked to our 2023-2027 contract of objectives, means and performance, as set out in our annual roadmaps. The aim is to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% in five years.” 

Stronger processes for optimised performance

97%: this high level of customer satisfaction is the result of an efficient quality and environmental management system, backed up by dual ISO 9001 and 14001 certification and improved year after year. In 2022, for example, BRGM introduced a process for programming scientific activities using its own funds, for tighter management and coordination.

A simplified project management tool was also introduced for project managers. “It guides them in the management of their missions,” says Hervé Riolland, head of the Auditing, Risk and Quality department. Amongst other aspects, the app reminds project managers of the need to carry out a preliminary risk analysis in order to plan for any difficulties that may arise. This approach is supported in particular by feedback, provided in a new paperless form. 290 project manager assessments were collected this year alone! “We are currently analysing them in order to establish what needs to be done to further improve BRGM’s performance in project management and the control of environmental impacts.”  



Build a clearer picture of our greenhouse gas emissions so that we could address the main sources as a priority.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
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Head of the Auditing, Risks and Quality Department