Flagships of sustainable development, ArcelorMittal, Bombardier, Desjardins Group, Hydro-Québec, LVMH, Michelin, Nestlé, RECYC-QUÉBEC, RONA, SAQ, Solvay, Total, Umicore and Veolia Environnement, join forces to advance research in the field of life cycles.
MONTREAL, April 18, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The launch of the joint Polytechnique Montréal and UQAM School of Management (ESG UQAM) International Life Cycle Chair took place today at Polytechnique Montréal. This new research unit of the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), one of the world's biggest research centres in this field, was inaugurated in the presence of Rémi Quirion, Québec's Chief Scientist; Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique Montréal; Claude Corbo, Rector of UQAM; Gilles Savard, Dean of Research and Innovation at Polytechnique Montréal; Ginette Legault, Dean of ESG UQAM; as well as the chairholders and various representatives from the partner companies.
With an overall budget of $7 million over five years, the Chair will be directed by its principal chairholder, Professor Réjean Samson of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, and three other chairholders: Professors Louise Deschênes of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, Manuele Margni of the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, and Jean-Pierre Revéret of the Department of Strategy, Social and Environmental Responsibility at ESG UQAM. Fourteen international partners from key sectors of the economy, including energy, transportation, metals, chemical products, retail commerce, food and financial services, will provide $500,000 each in funding for this research Chair. The partners are ArcelorMittal, Bombardier, Desjardins Group, Hydro-Québec, LVMH, Michelin, Nestlé, RECYC-QUÉBEC, RONA, SAQ, Solvay, Total, Umicore and Veolia Environnement.
"Because of the work of this Chair, Polytechnique will continue to play a key role in research on the design and development of eco-responsible goods and services," says Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique Montréal. "This alliance with world-class partners helps to broaden our influence in both the intellectual and social realms and keep us in tune with industry's and society's needs."
The life cycle approach
With Earth Day just a few days away, it is an opportune time to take stock and think of the future. In an era where sustainable development is an everyday essential, developing tools to put this principle to work in a consistent and responsible way is a central issue. In the very of-the-moment context of climate change, market globalization and the use of resources by an ever-growing population, decision-making must be well reasoned, strategic and responsible. To guide these decisions, the life cycle approach aims to take into account all the relationships (environmental, economic and social) particular to a given product or service throughout its life cycle, meaning from the extraction of the raw materials that go into making it through to its final elimination. This is referred to as "from cradle to grave." Decisions based on the life cycle, which come from a broad vision, make it possible to avoid simply transferring problems from one step of the life cycle to another.
The Chair's research focuses
The work of the International Life Cycle Chair will follow that initiated by Polytechnique Montréal's International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment (2007-2011), a true pioneer in the field. The new Chair will focus on advancing knowledge in the realm of life cycle with a view to helping organizations and companies design, develop and market goods and services in a responsible fashion in keeping with social and environmental imperatives. Focusing on promising themes in responsible production, consumption and governance, the Chair's projects will look at implementing knowledge in application contexts that meet tangible needs, such as conservation of energy and natural resources, land-use planning, product design, the impact of climate change, the effects of laws and regulations, and corporate social responsibility.
"Innovation happens not only in the realm of scientific advances, but in their application. With this in mind, our partnership with engaged companies is fundamental," explains Réjean Samson, principal chairholder of the Chair. "The life cycle approach offers a unique perspective that's essential to consistent decision-making. This Chair, with the support of its partners, has set ambitious goals to accelerate the development of knowledge in the life cycle field and to put that knowledge into practice."
Concurrently with its research activities, the Chair will also aim to train more than 50 graduate students.
"UQAM is particularly pleased to be associated with Polytechnique Montréal in this project. The Chair's work focuses on complex issues that must be addressed now and in the foreseeable future as research and development on goods and services can and must be conducted according to certain imperatives, namely environmental preservation and the good of society. This Chair will also offer an excellent training environment for students" noted Claude Corbo, Rector of UQAM, at the Chair's launch.
To find out more about the Chair, visit www.chaire-cycledevie.org.
The Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) was founded under the leadership of Polytechnique Montréal, in collaboration with Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal, to meet industry and government demands regarding the development of leading edge academic expertise in sustainable development. The CIRAIG collaborates with numerous research centres around the world and actively participates in the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. More information available at www.ciraig.org.
About Polytechnique Montréal
Founded in 1873, École Polytechnique de Montréal is one of Canada's leading engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering university in Québec for the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With over 38,500 graduates, École Polytechnique de Montréal has graduated 25% of the current members of the l'Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 16 engineering specialties, has 242 professors and more than 7100 students. It has an annual operating budget of over $200 million, including a $72-million research budget. www.polymtl.ca.
About the UQAM ESG
The School of Management of the Université du Québec à Montréal (ESG UQAM) has an annual enrolment of over 13,000 students. ESG UQAM is considered a major internationally oriented French-language management school, known for the quality of its practical teaching, the scope of its research and the accessibility of its professors, and for keeping in constant contact with organisations and the business world. ESG UQAM ranks among the world's top 130 management schools and faculties with EQUIS accreditation (European Quality Improvement System). As a creative, urban institution with an encompassing worldview, it provides an exceptional quality of life to the students who enroll each year. ESG UQAM bases its activities and development on the values of excellence and quality, with a view to social responsibility and sustainable development. www.esg.uqam.ca
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