Waterfalls in search of sustainable climate solutions

Cascades wants to move from words to actions. The Kingsey Falls company is partnering with technology accelerator Cycle Momentum to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The two organizations are urging everyone to find sources of energy and heat that will allow the packaging and hygiene products maker to meet its own climate targets for 2025 and 2030.

Cascades uses the concept of open innovation to help solve energy issues that, in its industry, are huge. “We are in a very energy intensive industry, we will have to move quickly towards renewable sources”, confirms its vice president of communications, public relations and sustainable development, Hugo D’Amours. “We have already identified internal projects that allow us to achieve goals more easily. To sort out the rest, we decided to ask the start and innovators from around the world. »

The manufacturer will thus open its doors to young companies, mainly in the clean technology sector, who want to help solve their problems. Interested parties will have until mid-June to express their desire to collaborate with Cascades and Cycle Momentum through a contest called “Challenge: Clean Energy Source”.

We are in a very energy intensive industry, we will have to move quickly towards renewable sources.

This is the third time she has done this. In particular, the company sought a few years ago to find renewable plant fibers for its future products. Milkweed, a plant that grows in abundance especially along roadsides throughout Quebec, was also considered in the context of these earlier projects.

This time Cascades is targeting its power supply. The company claims to have reduced the level of its direct GHG emissions by 50% compared to 1990. The sustainable development plan published last summer promises to reduce, by 2030, by 38.7% compared to 2019 greenhouse gases from its paper mills and by 27.5% from its other activities, including its mills converting paper into paper products.

Companies selected for this competition will receive support from Cycle Momentum and Cascades. They could also benefit from financial support from the federal government through Economic Development Canada and rely on collaboration from Quebec’s Ecotech Québec cleantech cluster and Quebec City-based cleantech incubator 2 Degrés.

green hydrogen

Cascades is not taking its first steps in the so-called circular economy. The company was born in the 1960s, when its founders, brothers Bernard, Laurent and Alain Lemaire, discovered that it was possible to produce different types of paper from waste. Its current climate action plan is, in fact, the fourth time it has made strong environmental commitments.

The aim this time is to increase the use of renewable energy sources to produce the heat needed for their industrial activities. Cascades cites the use of biomass, green hydrogen, renewable natural gas, geothermal and solar energy as part of the solutions being considered. Already, more than a thousand companies worldwide have been listed as potential candidates. Cycle Momentum, which supports Cascades on this project, will be tasked with reducing this list over the summer to around fifteen names. The objective is to elect, before the end of the summer, the five projects in which all the energy will be applied to achieve the 2030 goals.

Cascades will act as an industrial partner for the chosen companies, but the relationship could go further, says Hugo D’Amours. “That could lead to a joint venture, or we could buy the technology, or whatever. We’ll see,” he said.

It is part of the foundation of open innovation to allow technology to evolve in different ways depending on the context. A truly innovative energy solution could be spun off to be resold to other companies, for example.

“Quebec Inc. must act”

This is not the first time that Cycle Momentum CEO Patrick Gagné has linked up with a Quebec company inc. to try to promote the importance of developing Quebec’s innovation economy. This is also not his first business relationship with Cascades. But Quebec’s big companies aren’t all equally receptive, he laments.

Faced with climate issues, “Quebec’s major industrialists must show more than interest and act,” he says. ” We do [avec Cascades] a call to candidates, but it is also a call to action with Quebec inc. If all the industrial leaders in Quebec were to imitate the Cascades, we would have a very large ecosystem of companies specializing in clean technologies in Quebec. »

“Sometimes it’s easier to drive from one quarter to another than to look at the long term,” adds Hugo D’Amours, who encourages Quebec entrepreneurs not to be afraid to embark on the unknown, where transformative ideas often emerge. “The light bulb was not invented by a process of continuous improvement of the candle”, he illustrates. “We don’t know if our project will produce similar technologies that we want to invest in, but we are confident. »

to see on video

Leave a Comment