Hypertec, a global end-to-end technology and solutions provider, recently hosted a round table discussion on sustainability organised by the group Excellence Industrielle Saint-Laurent and CCG Climat. Throughout its 30 years as a technology company, Hypertec has been a leading advocate of environmental commitment, initiating numerous programs to raise the awareness for ecologically sound waste management, reduced energy use, and greenhouse gas reduction.
An overview of climate change in Canada
10 companies from Ville Saint Laurent came together for the Hypertec-hosted round table event to address green initiatives. The participants all share a commitment and urgency in raising awareness to initiate sustainability, green practices in their business model. While Canada ranks as one of the highest carbon-emitting countries in the world, the province of Québec is advancing the mission for carbon reduction and a greener environment.
The following data below as a call-to-action for more Canadian companies to take more assertive steps in reducing carbon emissions to save energy, and fight climate change.
As a member of The Paris Agreement or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC, Canada joined in signing the treaty, ratified by 196 parties in 2015. This agreement bound all members to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to slow global warming.
A report from the Pembina Institute shows that despite the efforts from all Canadian provinces, the UNFCCC 2015 commitments are not going to be enough to meet either the targets of 2030 emissions reductions plans or longer-range projections for 2050. Additionally, Climate Action Tracker has found the policies and actions that Canada committed to as highly insufficient. Even though being one of the most aggressive movers in Canada, Québec will also be far from reaching its targets.
While the Paris Agreement set a limit goal of ideally 1,5 degrees Celsius, the temperature in Canada has annually increased around 1.9 degrees Celsius from 1948 to 2021.
Globally, 80% of greenhouse gases emissions come from human activities that include burning of fossils fuels, industrial processes, electricity production, heating, cooling, transportation and livestock.
Considering the consequences of climate change
Over the past ten years it has become starkly evident that climate change has made devastating impacts on the environment—with equally adjacent negative impacts on the global economy.
With even a five-degrees Celsius increase over the next years in Montréal, the city is preparing to experience a 40% increase in water interaction in-and-around the island. This is requiring the city to urgently rethink its entire water drainage systems and stormwater infrastructure management.
As global warming increases, the island of Montréal—located above the 45th parallel—is expecting to have up to 60 more days of heatwaves that will impact work on many levels: productivity, performance, workers’ health, damage to equipment, and additional energy needed for air conditioning. The 2021 heatwave in Canada caused enormous damage to electrical infrastructures, with repair costs estimated at $150 billion.
With the elevation of just two-degrees Celsius in climate, the number of category 4 or 5 hurricanes (the latest being the most intense) is expected to also multiply. These stronger, more frequent hurricanes will lead to more property destruction, loss of life, and prolonged shutdowns costing the economy billions.
Aside from the obvious positive consequences to the livability of the planet—industries have everything to gain from investing and acting now to adopt sustainable practices, plan for carbon reduction, and enact green initiatives. The point of no return is very close, and the time to act is now.
There are many opportunities and ways to invest in sustainability
One of the most challenging issues many companies face in their quest to be more sustainable are the up-front costs and investments. Changing an entire infrastructure can be costly. There are numerous federal and provincial programs across Canada that are in place to help companies take the first step in planning, preparing, and financing these shifts in how they will do business both green and profitably. There are many programs in Québec designed to help businesses:
- Hydro Québec
- Démonstrateur technologiques
As a leading advocate of carbon reduction, energy savings, and green practices, Hypertec has long been a participant in various programs offered by Hydro Québec, Ecoleader and Energir. By taking advantage of the tools and programs, and architecting its own innovative approach to energy savings (both in-house and for its global customers) Hypertec is on the road to succeed in its Green Economy transition.
How and where to act?
More and more countries, regions, cities, and companies are establishing carbon neutrality targets, keeping in mind the ultimate target set by the Paris Agreement to reach net-zero emissions. To act on these mandates, individuals and companies need to first understand the targets and formulate a strategy for best practices on how to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emission.
The term ‘carbon neutral’ is still unclear for many companies. The first step is to understand exactly what these terms mean, and what is the difference.
Carbon neutrality is reached when a company absorbs the quantity of greenhouse gas – GHG emission is balanced out with the quantity absorbed.
Net-zero emissions means that the company would either emit no GHG emissions or/and ensure that any ongoing emissions are balanced by removing them from the atmosphere.
GHG removal can be achieved through planting new forests and green zones that will naturally absorb more carbon gas than is emitted by that company.
Carbon negative or climate positive would be the perfect scenario situation. It means that activity goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions by saving more carbon dioxide emissions that are generated.
Gas emissions scopes
After a company sets its target, the next step is to understand the climate impact, and expectations to proceed accordingly to achieve a measurable, real impact on the environment. At the Hypertec round table event, participants expressed their commitment to reduce their respective scope three emissions, defined below.
Depending on the company’s actions, they can set goals to reduce GHG emissions from the prescribed scope of impact.
Scope 1 emissions are directly produced by activities from a company. To reduce these emissions, a company can invest in energy efficient activities like changing their lightning systems. For example, instead of having lights on all the time, the company can install light sensors or motion detectors to reduce the amount of time lights are on, directly reducing both energy consumption and expenditures.
Scope 2 emissions result from “upstream activities” or the purchase of energy for electricity, heating, or gas. In reducing Scope 2 emissions, businesses must focus on understanding their energy supplier’s policies. To target emission reduction, companies must work to engage with suppliers that offer sustainable, renewable, green energy sources.
Scope 3 emissions are all indirect and come from “upstream and downstream activities. Scope 3 emissions do not come from the business directly—but rather from third-party sources like shipping, business travel and employees commuting to work. By encouraging Scope 3 emission reduction from its suppliers and staff, companies can further impact quantity of inputs by recycling materials, reducing production waste, and working with sustainable suppliers.
Touring the Hypertec facilities
The round table event concluded with a visit of the Hypertec facilities, focusing on how the company has adopted noteworthy sustainable practices. The company recycles plastic foam to avoid waste and actually manufactures parts from re-claimed plastics for its custom high-power computing systems. Hypertec also develops, uses in-house, and sells to clients its most sustainable technology called immersion cooling.
Along with a vision to increase sustainable practices, some of Hypertec’s products are labeled eco-friendly by the EPEAT, with an environmental management system compliant and certified under the international standards ISO 14001:2015. The Hypertec headquarters and expansive manufacturing facility is BOMA BEST® Gold certified, holding one of the highest Canadian standards for sustainable building infrastructures, considering energy and environmental performance.
Visit the Hypertec sustainability page to learn more about all its initiatives and commitments for a greener environment and more sustainable world.
This post is also available in: FR