ESG

How can we ensure spaceflight is a force for good?

The answers to many of the challenges we face on Earth lie in making better use of space – not by taking us away from our planet, but by providing a new perspective and unlocking discovery and innovation to help solve our most pressing issues. Sending people to space has expanded our understanding of science and taught us about human ingenuity, physiology, and psychology.

Viewing Earth from space changes our perceptions but as the commercial space flight industry continues to grow, we must do so responsibly. As pioneers in this industry, we are committed to operating with transparency and integrity. It is important to Virgin Galactic that we address stakeholder environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) expectations, risks associated with climate change, and emerging regulation and policy requirements.

Social

Our Workforce

Our teammates are the cornerstone of our success. They possess diverse expertise and experience from a wide variety of industries, including commercial aviation, aerospace, high-technology, consumer brands and other world-recognized organizations. As we continue to scale across multiple locations, we are committed to the acquisition and retention of our talent, development of our teammates, and culture and engagement.

Our Community

We must reflect the world we seek to inspire.

Workforce Representation

Virgin Galactic strives to improve representation within its workforce year-over-year.

  • Globally, as of December 31, 2022, women represent 31% of our executives and 25% overall.
  • For the US, people of color represent 31% of our executives and 45% overall.

Community Outreach

We recognize the importance of investing in the next generation of leaders in our industry. To support the development of future professionals, Virgin Galactic sponsors outreach programs in our communities and around the world that inspire young people to pursue potential careers in aerospace and the commercial space industry.

Space Workforce Pledge 2030

In 2022, Virgin Galactic joined the Space Workforce Pledge 2030 as a charter signatory in a first-of-its-kind industry pledge to advance diversity across our collective workforce. Joining this initiative will help us achieve our stated goal to significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in our collective workforce by 2030.

Our People and Culture

We foster a sense of belonging where all teammates who work here and all astronauts who journey here feel welcomed, valued, and respected.

DEIB Learning Sessions

In 2022, we launched company-wide learning sessions to equip our leaders with best practices to embed an inclusive mindset in our day-to-day work. Currently 2/3 of our people leaders have received this training with more sessions and deeper learning planned for our entire workforce at all locations in the future.

Heritage Month Celebrations

We regularly host teammate and community engagement events to build awareness, promote allyship, support our communities, and foster a more inclusive workplace.

Inclusion
Council

In 2022, we established a cross-functional Inclusion Council made up of key leaders in each business unit to frame our DEIB strategy, drive action and champion our efforts.

Inclusive Healthcare

We offer paid parental leave for all teammates (live birth, adoption, surrogacy, fostering), healthcare travel benefits where access to a provider or procedure is limited and gender affirming care. Our wellness benefits encompass an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), legal services for all of life’s stages, financial planning, and mental health benefits including on-demand access to mental health coaching.

Employee
Listening

We recently launched the company’s first engagement survey to measure and track employee sentiments and areas of opportunity.

Workplace Environment

At Virgin Galactic, safety is our highest priority. It is essential as we continue to build, grow, and position our business for long-term success. We recognize safety is not a destination, product, or slogan. Rather, it is the principle that unifies our efforts to design, build, test, and operate our spaceline.

We are committed to complying with all applicable laws, regulations, and internal requirements. We have committed resources and developed our Safety Management System (SMS) to build a culture and provide the structure for all teammates to proactively identify hazards, rectify unsafe situations, and facilitate continuous improvement of risk management. Our SMS also contains our comprehensive emergency response plan that provides for a safe transition from normal to emergency operations and back.

Our Safety Management System includes extensive training and resources; dedicated safety teams and leadership; robust two-way channels to communicate safety concerns in a reprisal-free environment; review boards that assess risk and risk controls; assessment programs to measure and follow up on concerns, findings and identified issues; and intranet sites containing guidance, forms, and bulletins.

Our teammates can contribute to the development, modification, and continued improvement of safety policies and procedures through a variety of channels. These include emailing or calling the safety department, alerting their supervisors, contacting our anonymous hotline, or submitting an entry into our enterprise-wide reporting system that enables our teammates to communicate mishaps, near misses, safety hazards or issues without the fear of reprisal or retribution. We also have a zero-tolerance policy for any event or issue that is a result of illegal activity, willful violation or misconduct, intentional disregard for safety, gross negligence, or other egregious actions.

ENVIRONMENT

We are committed to minimizing our environmental impact while using our spaceflight system to advance science and inspire action to protect our planet. With the advent of commercial space flight, we have a truly unique opportunity to shape an industry from the very start.

Designed for reliability and longevity

Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight delivery system is both innovative and highly reusable.

  • Our mothership and spaceships are designed for hundreds of missions, giving the system greater longevity than single-use traditional rockets. Our lightweight system is more efficient relative to various traditional rockets because our mothership carries our spaceship through the thickest part of the atmosphere where it is released and propelled to space with a hybrid rocket motor. We carefully control each flight’s ascent and descent to efficiently reach our point of release, and by harnessing gravity we gently glide back to Earth, avoiding fuel use in the return phase.
  • To reduce spaceflight emissions, the engines on our mothership and future fleet of motherships are compatible with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). We are currently assessing opportunities to integrate SAFs into future flight operations.


Making Space Accessible to Research

Virgin Galactic is committed to pushing boundaries and advancing scientific research. Opening space to commercial flight creates increased opportunities for science and exploration.

  • We provide researchers access to space to conduct affordable and repeatable scientific experiments in a microgravity environment. Research performed to date on Virgin Galactic flights includes measuring and evaluating the effects of the transitional phase from gravity to microgravity on the human body and studying the effect of the microgravity environment on a range of chemical and physical properties. Testing and evaluating biological and technological responses in sub-orbital flight produces insights relevant to current and future spaceflight systems and technologies as well as other applications.
  • Our unique spaceflight system also unlocks new atmospheric research opportunities since our trajectory and flight regimen allow for novel data collection that other platforms cannot effectively acquire.
  • We provide lockers and racks for scientific payloads, available to research institutions, governments and other scientists. This means more opportunities to conduct experiments and develop educational and research programs that support worldwide innovation and scientific knowledge.

Emissions Tracking

Building a sustainable industry requires transparency and accountability. At Virgin Galactic, we are committed to minimizing our environmental impact and limiting our greenhouse gas emissions where possible.
  • Last year, Virgin Galactic prioritized integrating environmental and sustainability planning into our strategy. We completed a sustainability and materiality assessment under the guidance of a third-party organization that specializes in supporting responsible business growth. We will continue to assess our sustainability and environmental strategies on an ongoing basis.
  • In 2022, we started taking an emissions inventory to gain a complete picture of Virgin Galactic’s Scopes 1 & 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We plan on continuing this effort through 2023 and beyond.
  • Using this and future inventories, we continue to formulate our multiyear strategic roadmap with goals and targets to guide our commitment to further GHGs reductions. We are working to disclose an emissions profile, including both flight and ground operations.
  • To date we have purchased CO2 offset credits through ClimateCare and will continue to consider opportunities to invest in additional carbon offsets.
  • Our propulsion and engineering teams are working to calculate the emissions from a single spaceflight using the Rocket Propulsion Analysis (RPA), a commercial software tool that incorporates the NASA Chemical Equilibrium with Applications (CEA), and the industry standard Gibbs free energy minimization approach to obtain combustion composition.

Operations footprint

Because sustainability starts on Earth, Virgin Galactic is committed to minimizing our environmental footprint and making environmental sustainability a priority of our employees and our leadership.

Our people

  • Our people exemplify our values. Virgin Galactic has appointed the Chief Legal Officer as our ESG Chair to ensure that sustainability and social responsibility are prioritized. Virgin Galactic has established an Environmental Steering Group that serves as a cross-functional committee to develop, guide, and implement action in alignment with our company’s sustainability strategy.
  • Our staff work schedules at our Mojave facilities are optimized to minimize electrical consumption during the hours when demand typically peaks. The majority of electricity used at our Mojave campus has been consumed within off-peak and super off-peak hours to maximize grid efficiency.
  • We have provided our teammates access to multiple electric vehicle charging stations at several of our office locations.

Our footprint

  • Our FAITH Hangar in Mojave is a LEED-Certified building under the LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) rating system.
  • We have completed and continue to work with Orion Energy on energy-saving retrofits and lighting upgrades in our Mojave facilities.
  • We now use LEDs, timers, and motion sensors in many of our facilities to minimize electricity use. In our Flight Offices in Orange County, CA, most of our building lighting is dimmable, linked to motion sensors, and linked to light harvesters that automatically turn off lights when natural lighting is sufficient.
  • To help reduce transit-sector emissions, we offer a routine shuttle service in New Mexico between Las Cruces and Gateway to Space offices at Spaceport America, available every day to all staff.

Our impact

  • Virgin Galactic’s facilities and office management teams arrange waste and recycling services at each of our locations tailored to the nature of our operations. We have established a single-stream recycling program at our corporate headquarters for aluminum cans, glass, and plastic. Our IT department offers regular e-waste collection and coordinates carefully with our Logistics team to prepare for end-of-life processing before disposal. We divert carbon-fiber waste and scraps from landfills, donating them to a local company, 121C, that transforms the materials into skateboards. We also avoid using single-use water bottles from landfills through our on-site purified water dispensers.
  • Virgin Galactic strictly adheres to specialty waste disposal procedures with the help of our Environmental, Health, & Safety (EHS) team, managing the disposal of all universal and hazardous wastes across all our operations in accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

GOVERNANCE

Board Role in ESG Oversight

At Virgin Galactic, we recognize that managing our ESG impacts is critical to mitigating ESG-related risks as well as seizing opportunities to create value for our employees, customers, stockholders, communities and other stakeholders. We continue to develop and refine our ESG strategy to establish a framework that aligns with industry best practices, such as Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) standards, and that contributes to global sustainable development. Our entire Board of Directors evaluates ESG-related risks and opportunities as part of its strategic oversight role, with support from its committees. In 2022, ESG oversight transitioned to the Audit Committee from the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The Audit Committee periodically reviews ESG matters and reports progress to the Board. Other Board committees support our ESG priorities in connection with their specific areas of oversight.

Our ESG Executive Committee is a cross-functional committee of senior leaders responsible for developing our ESG strategy and leading our company-wide commitment to good corporate citizenship and responsible business practices. This committee consists of members from our manufacturing and spaceline operations, human resources, legal, impacted facilities and operational teams, and provides quarterly updates to the Board.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Oversight of strategy, including ESG risks and opportunities

Audit Committee

Oversees ESG strategy, policies and initiatives, including our environmental programs, as well as ERM, data security and ethics/compliance

Compensation Committee

Oversees human capital and culture

Nominating and Corporate Governance

Oversees governance matters

Safety Committee

Oversees health and safety

MANAGEMENT

ESG Executive Committee

Primarily responsible for developing and implementing ESG strategy, initiatives and policies