CSR in 2021

Centrale Nantes renewed its commitment to sustainable development with the drawing up of a 2021-2025 action plan structured according to 5 priorities:
  • Strategy & governance
  • Teaching & training
  • Research
  • Environment management
  • Social policy & local communities

This action plan is the result of a collaborative process initiated with the network of Sustainable Development Representatives - including staff, students and graduates - and led by the Sustainable Development Department. It is intended to be put to the vote of the Board of Governors.

Centrale Nantes is committed to involving its students, staff and stakeholders in the definition and implementation of actions. The contribution of these projects to the challenges of the 21st century will be promoted through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined by the UN in 2015 and adopted by France in its "Agenda 2030".

Here follows more information on upcoming and completed actions in the framework of:
  • Centrale Nantes' research and innovation activities in favour of energy transition in the industry of the future, renewable energies, low-carbon materials, decarbonisation of transport, etc.
  • The students of the Net-Zero Emissions specialisation developed two tangible, open source tools that can be transposed to other organisations to measure and control the carbon impact:
    • a campus net-zero emissions tool, which led to an international publication
    • a carbon trajectory simulator for the school
  • The commitment to an ambitious action plan to control the school's impact and mobilise our local, national and international stakeholders.
Strategy & governance

Centrale Nantes tops the first ever ranking of engineering schools to change the world, compiled by Les Echos START and ChangeNOW

Echos START and ChangeNOW joined forces to produce a new ranking of schools and universities with a focus on environmental and social transition issues. Centrale Nantes is ranked first across all categories.
This new independent ranking is designed to measure and evaluate - over time - the efforts made by schools and universities in terms of ecological and social transition.

It is based on 6 criteria:

  • integration of impact issues into the curriculum
  • strength of the alumni network in the impact sector
  • the strategy and exemplarity of the institution
  • diversity and equal opportunities
  • involvement of student associations in impact issues
  • Academic excellence and employability

Screening of "Ruptures" - Jury prize at FIFES 2021 in Cannes

Screening of the film with the director Arthur Gosset, an engineering programme student at Centrale Nantes and the students featured in the film.

A process carried out with students: the school's response to the 'Manifesto for an Ecological Awakening' survey.

Centrale Nantes confirmed its commitment to an eco-responsible approach taken in collaboration with school students and stakeholders. One such action is our response to the survey in the "Manifesto for an ecological awakening" signed by students. Known as the "Le Grand Baromètre", this survey assesses the commitments of higher education institutions to ecological transition on 6 key issues:
  • Strategy and governance of the institution
  • Inclusion of environmental issues in the curriculum 
  • Career prospects
  • Research activity
  • Associative life
  • Sustainable practices on campus

Centrale Nantes updates its brand signature

Globalization, energy transition and the expansion of digital technology are paving the way for a far-reaching transformation of society in which science and technology play a driving role. This transformation conveys a central role and new responsibilities for engineering students and young graduates. They must not only demonstrate creativity and ingenuity, but also adopt a new posture in their chosen profession. Tomorrow's engineers, standing at the intersection between societal and technological issues, and capable of integrating other disciplines, will adopt a new posture to engage and federate around tailored solutions.

With "Shake the future", Centrale Nantes brought forth innovative solutions, and with "Reinvent engineering", Centrale Nantes is training ethical engineers, masters and PhD graduates, to contribute effectively to the energy transition that the world needs.
Teaching & training

The challenges of sustainable development are present from a scientific and technological perspective across our study programmes: engineering programme, masters, PhDs, advanced masters, and executive education.

Second and third year engineering programme students can choose from the following specialisations/options:

  • Engineering for Ecological Transition: design new ways of consuming, producing, working and living together through 2 concepts: The circular economy and eco-design
  • Engineering Science for Housing and Urban Environment: major contemporary issues of city management and design with regard to adapting to change and ecological transition
  • Civil Engineering and Sustainable Construction: Clean energy and zero-emission buildings, effects of climate change on infrastructure, impacts of societal challenges on major construction projects
  • Mechanical Engineering for Materials and Manufacturing Processes: sustainability, eco-responsible composites, recyclability
  • Energy Production and Management: renewable energy production (wind, solar photovoltaic and thermal), environmental constraints related to energy (de-pollution of energy production systems), rational use of energy, in particular in the industry and building sectors
  • Ocean: Hydrodynamics and Marine Engineering: Marine Renewable Energies (MRE), more environmentally friendly ships (better performance and lower fuel consumption, less waste etc.), purpose-built ships for the transport and maintenance of offshore wind turbines, coastal engineering (development, preservation of the coastline etc.)
  • Product Engineering: projects such as the study and development of a recycling system for components and materials, study and development of a mobile autonomous energy station based on a hydrogen fuel cell, study and development of a recharging station for electric bicycles
  • Virtual Reality: creation of digital models to replace the physical model in the design process, notably thanks to the respective contributions of CAD and digital simulation

Focus on the Net-Zero emissions project-based specialisation

A new group of students updated Centrale Nantes' carbon footprint and proposed visualization and management tools to highlight individual contributions and collective approaches.

ECN Climate Simulator Mission

This tool, developed within the framework of the Net-Zero Emissions speciailisation at Centrale Nantes, adapted from the national Mission Climat simulator proposed by B&L évolution (http://mission-climat.io/simulator), gives everyone the opportunity to imagine the school's future thanks to measures taken in different action sectors.

Simply move the cursors of the action sectors to visualise the effects on the school's carbon indicators by 2030 and test its level of ambition in relation to Centrale Nantes' objectives with respect to the IPCC recommendations. It is a real climate simulator, allowing the visualization of the efforts to be made to reach the school's ambitions in the fight against global warming.

More information on the website: https://neutralite-carbone.ec-nantes.fr/

Signature of the manifesto for an eco-responsible industry

Centrale Nantes supports eco-responsible industry and in 2020 signed the manifesto "For an eco-responsible industry" proposed by the EMC2 competitiveness cluster. The manifesto sets out a commitment to "sober and ecologically respectful industry (...) which will place the human being at the heart of its considerations in order to tackle health and societal issues." This industry will have to be "efficient and innovative to meet the challenges of competitiveness and competition; resolutely collaborative and supportive to accompany the regions and sectors and strategic to meet the challenges of sovereignty" alongside the industrial companies in the west of France.

Energy Transition: Research projects on energy

The Hydrodynamics, Energetics and Atmospheric Environment Research Laboratory (LHEEA) is a joint research unit of Centrale Nantes/CNRS (UMR6598) whose missions aim to respond to major societal and technological challenges:
- Performance of marine renewable energy (MRE) systems (offshore wind, floating wind, tidal, wave energy, etc.),
- Safety of goods and people in maritime activities,
- Reduction of polluting emissions associated with land and sea transport,
- Quality of the urban atmosphere

Learn more on https://lheea.ec-nantes.fr/ and https://sem-rev.ec-nantes.fr/

POSYTYF (POwering SYstem flexibiliTY in the Future through RES), a European project coordinated by Centrale Nantes

Routable renewable energy sources for a modern electricity grid model.
The increasing penetration of solar photovoltaic and wind energy requires modern electricity grids capable of transporting electricity reliably from producers to consumers. However, there are limits to the increasing integration of renewable energy sources (RES). One solution is to increase the share of so-called dispatchable RES (those with natural storage capacity).

The EU-funded POSYTYF project will combine several RES into a system object called a "virtual power plant". This is a way to bundle different renewable energy sources into a portfolio of dispatchable/non-dispatchable RES, allowing for an optimal and internal redistribution of resources. The project will bring together partners from four EU countries.

Energy Transition: Research projects on mobility

The research laboratories are focusing their attention on cars, boats and planes.

Current projects include:
- Exploration of new technologies for combustion engines (Renault - LMS Chair, a Siemens Business - Centrale Nantes)
- Reduction of pollutant and CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines (Mann+Hummel Chair - Centrale Nantes)
- The research and development programme (PSA Group and Centrale Nantes) on digital simulation for powertrain design, which aims to accelerate the marketing of low-emission vehicles.

Energy transition: Research projects on materials

The Research Institute in Civil and Mechanical Engineering (GeM) is conducting research on:
- Multi-scale characterisation of civil engineering materials - rocks, soils, concrete - from nanometre to metre scale
- Composite materials for lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles and aircraft.
- New numerical calculation strategies in mechanics for more reliable and efficient design of energy and transport infrastructure.
- Advanced materials characterisation: scanning electron microscope, microtomograph, microindentation, etc.

Ongoing projects of note:
- Concrete recycling and low environmental impact concrete - ECOBETON - for a Carbon Footprint reduced by 37% compared to standard concrete (Vinci Construction, Odeon Tower, 2009-2015).
- Innovative design methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the production phase of robots.
- Research on composite materials, multi-material structures and manufacturing processes to lighten vehicles and reduce their CO2 emissions. (Faurecia - Centrale Nantes Chair)
- Research, training and transfer on the durability and energy efficiency of concrete structures. 2nd EDYCEM - Centrale Nantes Chair "Sustainable concrete" (since 2019), with the development of low-carbon materials adapted to climate change.

Energy transition: research projects in industry

STELIA Aerospace & Centrale Nantes have embarked upon large-scale metallic 3D printing of self-reinfroced metallic fuselage panels. The use of 3D printing in the aeronautical, naval and automotive industries offers material and energy efficiency gains.
Environment management

Sustainable food project

Supported by the Sustainable Development Department, the sustainable food project was selected by the CROUS and the school's internal CVEC (Student and Campus Life Contribution) committee for co-financing.

The school's internal working group prioritised 3 projects:
- Experimentation with an eco-responsible foodtruck at the start of the 2021 academic year
- Analysis of food practices and awareness-raising among students and staff, who evaluated their diet over a one month (representative panel of students from different courses and of different nationalities, staff from different backgrounds - minimum 100 participants) in order to raise awareness of the carbon impact of daily food choices and the reduction of waste, and to obtain data on the needs and expectations of users
- Towards sustainable food in the cafeteria: vending, fresh fruit, coordination of operations with student associations.

Social policy & local communities

Implementation of a gender equality action plan

Raising student awareness through the dissemination of a respect meter and a violence meter.
Organisation of an Identity Diversity Festival.

Creation of a Sustainable Development working group within Nantes University

"Sustainable Development Conference" with the 7 institutions that make up Nantes Université.

Member of LabCitoyen

Nantes Métropole, Nantes Université, the CROUS and Audencia are members of the LabCitoyen Campus du Tertre. The Lab is a collective experimentation mechanism designed for Nantes students who wish to get involved in the ecological and solidarity-based transition of their campus! It is open to all, student associations or students from the Crous, Audencia or Nantes University, including the schools of Architecture of Nantes, Fine Arts Nantes and Centrale Nantes.

Ecological Transition Mornings

In 2021, the school organised new editions of this conference series with:

Christelle Didier - "Ecological transition: a question of ethics"
Marine Miller - "Our highly educated youth and the ecological challenge"
Timothée Parrique - "The economics of degrowth"
Claire Morcant and William Aucant - "Participative democracy"
Thomas Simon and Jérémie Poupon - "Climate & Business: we'll have to get down to it sometime!"

The CSR Trophies

The CSR Trophies are intended for companies based in the Pays de la Loire region that wish to highlight their actions and results in terms of corporate social responsibility. Thus, about thirty projects are screened each year by students from three schools in the region: Centrale Nantes with students from the Engineering for Ecological Transition, ESAIP and ESSCA.

The CSR Trophies aim to promote companies that develop their activities in line with societal issues and to highlight profitable and sustainable good practices.

Forum Horizons

The Horizons Forum is an event organised by students from various engineering schools in Nantes to bring together students, companies and organisations involved in ecological and solidarity-based transition. In addition, debate workshops and conferences on the theme of the transition help to raise students' awareness of the issue.

Research collaboration with Nantes-based company Toovalu (2020-2022)

Collaboration on the "Definition of operational low-carbon trajectories for companies", in line with national and global climate issues and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Civic engagement

Students on the engineering programme are required to undertake 100 hours of voluntary work for associations of their choice in the fields of: culture and leisure, international development and humanitarian action, education for all, the environment, emergency response in the event of a crisis, remembrance and citizenship, health, solidarity or sport. Many students contribute to local associations or take part in activities in schools in the Nantes area.

Training for people who are out of touch with the job market to reduce inequalities

The Web In pulse course trains young people aged 18 to 30 with no formal qualifications beyond high school to become Web developers.

Published on November 10, 2022 Updated on November 10, 2022