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Announcing the creation of the International Research Consortium on Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Transition

April 27, 2023 - Source : NEWS

Polytechnique Montréal and the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), along with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale (HES-SO) and 10 companies from Québec, France, Switzerland and Morocco have announced the creation of the International Research Consortium on Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Transition.

Back row, left to right: Sara Russo Garrido, associate professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and executive director and coordinator of social analysis at CIRAIG; François Bertrand, full professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and director of research and innovation at Polytechnique Montréal; Anne-Marie Boulay, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal; Manuele Margni, full professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal; Cécile Bulle, professor in sustainable real estate in the Department of Strategy and Social and Environmental Responsibility at the École des sciences de la gestion de l'UQAM (ESG-UQAM); François Maréchal, full professor in mechanical engineering at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Valais Wallis; Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal.
Front row, from left to right: Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montréal; Réjean Samson, full professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal and Executive Director of the CIRAIG; Anne-Laure Hettinger, Director of Global R&D and Sustainability at ArcelorMittal; Komlan Sedzro, Dean of ESG-UQAM. (Photo: Catrine Daoust Photographie)


The Consortium aims to spur the development and transfer of knowledge and tools related to quantifying environmental and social performance as a means of supporting the sustainable transition toward a net-zero economy. One of its goals will be to inform decision making on environmental and social life cycle assessments within the public and private sectors.

Réjean Samson, a full professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, will serve as its Executive Director. He will be assisted by Manuele Margni, a full professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal and an associate professor at HES-SO, as well as Cécile Bulle, a professor at UQAM, and François Maréchal, a professor at EPFL. Assistant professors Anne-Marie Boulay and Guillaume Majeau-Bettez from Polytechnique Montréal’s Department of Chemical Engineering will also join the team.

Established at Polytechnique Montréal in 2001, the CIRAIG is a research group and centre of expertise on the development and implementation of life cycle and sustainability metrics and tools. Through its cutting-edge research, expert services and training program, the CIRAIG develops the knowledge and tools needed for a successful transition to sustainable societies.

The Consortium will build on the CIRAIG's expertise in robust life cycle and sustainability metric development, which was gained through the International Life Cycle Chair established in 2007, and set up operational and strategic research aimed at accelerating the transition to sustainable technologies. With a structure that brings together 4 universities from 2 continents — Polytechnique and UQAM in Quebec, EPFL and HES-SO in Switzerland — the CIRAIG is strengthening international ties and promoting the transfer of new skills. These include conducting environmental impact assessments for products and services, while taking into account dynamic changes in the market, technologies and society, in order to effectively inform large-scale decision making and map out pathways toward a carbon neutral economy.

"The CIRAIG has been able to continually broaden its expertise thanks to its many partners, and the newly announced Consortium is a testament to the success of the CIRAIG's model," said Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montréal. "In the face of the climate emergency, we have an urgent need to unite scientific knowledge from around the world, combine disciplines and share perspectives, while working with industrial partners and government actors. Doing so will enable us to develop concrete solutions for accelerating the transition and achieving carbon neutrality as quickly as possible."

As Professor Réjean Samson, Executive Director of the Consortium, noted, "We don’t have time to make poor decisions."

The Consortium's objectives include improving the metrics and models used for planning and assessing carbon neutrality pathways for businesses and governments, developing relevant indicators to assess the impacts of producing and using plastics, and improving the methodological framework for water footprint measurement. The Consortium will also optimize Quebec's energy systems energy systems using EnergyScope, a decision-support tool for renewable energy transitions, and circular economy strategies focused on resource use optimization as a means of achieving sustainable decarbonization.

Currently, 6 professors, 12 researchers and over 40 graduate students are set to contribute to the Consortium's activities. The Consortium’s initial set of partners includes 10 companies representing 3 continents and a range of industries: ArcelorMittal, Hydro-Québec, L'Oréal, LVMH, Michelin, OCP Group, Optel Group, Richemont, Solvay and TotalEnergies

The partners will provide an investment of $5 million to support international team coordination and interdisciplinary research. Professors will have access to additional funding to execute a cutting-edge scientific program.

The Consortium's activities will support the training of more than 40 new researchers on both continents, preparing them to bring fresh methods and procedures to numerous organizations.

For more information

Professor Réjean Samson's expertise
Professor Manuele Margni's expertise
Professor Anne-Marie Boulay's expertise
Professor Guillaume Majeau-Bettez's expertise
Department of Chemical Engineering website
Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering website
CIRAIG website

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