Media contact information
Annie Touchette
Senior Communications Advisor
Polytechnique Montréal
514 231-8133

10 major companies from Quebec, France, Switzerland and Morocco partner with the CIRAIG and 4 universities to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy

April 27, 2023

Montreal, April 27, 2023 – Around the world, organizations and governments have largely recognized the urgent need to address climate change and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Faced with this challenge, most are asking the same questions: How can we make the energy transition truly sustainable? How can we reduce the environmental and social impacts associated with the production and consumption of goods and services? How can we transition to net-zero solutions without making mistakes or pursuing misguided ideas?

Today, 10 major companies from Quebec, France, Switzerland and Morocco met at Polytechnique Montréal with the International Reference Center for Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Transition (CIRAIG) and 4 universities — Polytechnique Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Haute École Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale (HES-SO) — to announce the creation of the International Research Consortium on Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainable Transition.

CIRAIG annonce avril 2023
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. (copyright 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, an area in which the CIRAIG already has more than 20 years of experience. 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 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 trajectories toward a carbon neutral economy.

Currently, 6 professors, 12 researchers and over 40 graduate students are set to contribute to the Consortium's activities. Réjean Samson, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, will oversee the Consortium and act as its Executive Director. He will be assisted by professors Cécile Bulle (UQAM), François Maréchal (EPFL) and Manuele Margni (HES-SO and Polytechnique Montréal). Professors Anne-Marie Boulay and Guillaume Majeau-Bettez from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal will also join the team.

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.

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

The Consortium's objectives include:

  • Improve the metrics and models used for planning and assessing carbon neutrality pathways for businesses and governments
  • Develop relevant indicators to assess the impacts of producing and using plastics
  • Improve the methodological framework for water footprint measurement
  • Optimize energy systems in Quebec using EnergyScope, a decision-support tool for renewable energy transitions
  • Propose circular economy strategies focused on resources use optimization as a means of achieving sustainable decarbonization


"The CIRAIG was created at Polytechnique in 2001 and since then it has been able to continually broaden its expertise thanks to its many partners. The newly announced Consortium is a testament to the success of the CIRAIG's model. 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."

Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montréal


"By supporting the new International Consortium, UQAM's School of Management aims to drive change and innovation, influence society and help address one of today's most pressing issues." 

Komlan Sedzro, Dean, ESG UQAM

"The HES-SO's School of Engineering values the CIRAIG because it has enabled us to deepen our knowledge and sharpen our skills related to sustainability, and more specifically to life cycle assessments, which are crucial for training our engineers and industrial partners."

Pierre Roduit, Head of the Institute of Sustainable Energy, HES-SO



"As a CIRAIG partner since 2012, Solvay is enthusiastically renewing its support for this new chair whose goals are in line with our sustainable development objectives. Partnering with the CIRAIG has enabled us to significantly develop our knowledge in the fields of circular economy, social impacts, methodologies and datasets. By facilitating collaborative discussions with leading industrial partners, it has given our organization the opportunity to obtain high-quality environmental information and use it to offer the level of leadership that our customers and markets expect from us."

Livia Van Innis, Head of Sustainable and Innovative Processes, Solvay



"We're very pleased to have the opportunity to benefit from the scientific work conducted through the Consortium and the expertise of the academic partners involved in it. In addition, we look forward to leveraging the knowledge and field experience that the Consortium’s other industrial members bring to the table. We firmly believe that this partnership will enable L'Oréal to make its life cycle analyses more insightful and robust, resulting in better data to guide our projects and performance indicators over the short, medium and long terms."

Jacques l'Haridon, Sustainable Innovation, Methods Development & Environmental Evaluation, L'ORÉAL Research & Innovation

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About the CIRAIG

Established at Polytechnique Montréal in 2001, the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (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.



Media contact information
Annie Touchette
Senior Communications Advisor
Polytechnique Montréal
514 231-8133

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