Becoming Carbon Neutral | An Interview with Geneviève Gauthier

         by Olivier Cappon, Senior Director at CIET

 

 

CIET recently launched several new courses aligned with industry trends and innovations as well as with input from training participants regarding their capacity building needs. One new course that is both on trend and had been requested by participants is Becoming Carbon Neutral: Key Concepts, Strategies, and Initiatives.

 

Through this one-day training, participants learn the various strategies to achieve carbon neutrality in their building assets and manufacturing facilities. Utilizing concrete examples, participants gain familiarity with the different terms and definitions associated with carbon neutrality, better understand the initiatives undertaken and commitments made by different governments and organizations, and learn to discern between the various approaches adopted to achieve carbon neutrality or significantly reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 

I recently sat down with Geneviève Gauthier, our lead trainer of this program, to ask her these five questions about the Becoming Carbon Neutral course:

 

It seems that a lot of carbon neutrality targets are still far down the road (2030, 2050, etc.). Why is this such a relevant subject now?

 

“It is true that carbon neutrality targets may seem distant in time. On the other hand, an organization doesn’t become carbon neutral by tossing a coin. To drastically reduce GHG emissions without compromising one’s organization, a clear vision of the different actions to be taken in the short, medium, and long terms should be combined with tools allowing to seize the opportunities that present themselves. This is only possible by establishing a long-term carbon neutral strategy.”

 

Who needs to be involved in carbon neutral planning in an organization?

 

“A real commitment to carbon neutrality can only come from an organization’s top management. Of course, an internal champion is also needed. Most often, that champion is a vice-president or a senior director that has the leadership and authority to orchestrate organizational changes. That champion, of course, needs to rely on external and internal support since well-designed carbon neutral strategies touch upon various aspects of an organization. Therefore, all kinds of people in the organization are expected to be involved: The board of directors, operational and capital project staff, finance and human resources departments, just to name a few. The participation of engineers, technicians, employees, etc. is also required. In this sense, there is an interesting parallel between carbon neutral strategies and the ISO 50001 standard on energy management system.”

 

How does an organization establish GHG emission reduction targets?

 

“There are obviously several factors that need to be considered when defining a GHG emission reduction target. To this end, carbon neutral strategies help determine what decarbonization level an organization can afford. Having said that, organizations interested in doing their fair share in the fight against climate change can rely on a protocol that is becoming predominant in Canada and worldwide: The Science-Based Target initiative. This protocol is presented in the Becoming Carbon Neutral course offered by CIET.”

 

How many different approaches are there to carbon neutrality?

 

“Carbon neutrality strategies are based on a dozen pillars that include asset management, energy efficiency, decarbonization of energy sources, capture and storage, and so on. A successful strategy uses and judiciously prioritizes each pillar according to carbon abatement costs. It is estimated that, in many cases, full decarbonization can be achieved at an average abatement cost of $200-300/tonne. However, in lots of cases, it is possible to reduce GHG emissions by 40% to 60% at no carbon abatement cost.”

 

What tangible element(s) will I learn in this course that I can bring back to my organization?

 

“This course enables participants to understand the importance of reducing their organizations’ GHG emissions from a business perspective. It covers how to define a GHG emission reduction target and presents the different pillars of decarbonization and how these must be analyzed to develop a comprehensive, coherent, and credible strategy to becoming carbon neutral … to the benefit of all stakeholders.”

 

 

Interested in learning more about this course and the topic of Carbon Neutrality?

Join us for the next public course in May 2022

 

This training is also available as a private training for small groups (8-30 participants).

Learn more here

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