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28 Feb 2012

Carbon footprint project for more competitive businesses

About a dozen organizations will take part in a pilot project aimed at creating a recognized carbon footprint certification system in Québec. Launched by the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l'Exportation (MDEIE), the initiative will receive $24 million in funding from the Québec government. The term “carbon footprint” refers to the total greenhouse gas emissions produced during the full life cycle of a product, from design to disposal.

A North American first

According to Sam Hamad, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, “Our companies are among the first in the world to derive value from their low carbon footprint, in order to improve their positioning in their respective sectors. With the increase in demand for environmental value-added products, we are taking a significant step toward improving our companies’ international competitiveness.”

Certain countries that currently import Québec products will eventually require carbon footprint product labelling. The creation of this type of system is therefore another “plus” for Québec exporters.

The following ten companies will submit recommendations on the products that should be covered by the certification system:

  • Bell

  • Rio Tinto Alcan

  • Alcoa

  • Aluminerie Alouette

  • Interplast

  • Fibrek

  • Ultima Foods Inc.

  • Enerkem

  • Laboratoire M2

  • Chantiers Chibougamau/Nordic Engineered Wood

A recent practice

Internationally, carbon footprint labelling is a recent practice. Several European countries, including France, the United Kingdom and Sweden, as well as Japan, have launched initiatives of this type. The challenge, yet to be resolved, consists in providing industry with a system that facilitates comparisons between products’ carbon footprints.

With a view to building a carbon footprint initiative on solid foundations that comply with international practices, the MDEIE has joined forces with the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) and the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) to deploy this pilot project.

Québec carbon footprint pilot project (in French)
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