On December 13, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal hosted a panel on businesses and biodiversity as part of the COP15 and the Public Action Zone.
For the occasion, the Chamber hosted Olivier Joyal, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Execution, Earth and Environment, WSP, Jeanne-Hélène Jugie, Manager, Nature-based Solutions, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal), and étienne Lapierre, Co-founder and Vice-President, Sales, Alvéole.
Organizations taking action to protect the environment and nature
The panelists opened the discussion by explaining how their organizations help protect the environment and nature.
“Our environment team has 6,000 members, who, day to day, assist clients in reducing the impact of their activities on the environment and nature.” – Olivier Joyal, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Execution, Earth and Environment, WSP
For CRE-Montréal, the most important objective is to influence decision makers and raise public awareness.
“Our role is to influence decision makers and make them aware of innovative solutions. The core of our mission has always been to protect the environment and nature.” – Jeanne-Hélène Jugie, Manager, Nature-based Solutions, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal
The representative of Alvéole indicated that her company offers support to businesses that want to take concrete action for biodiversity.
“We help businesses that want to take action for biodiversity. Our services are focused on nature to create a living ecosystem in our cities.” – Étienne Lapierre, Co-founder and Vice-President, Sales, Alvéole
Concrete efforts that pay off
According to WSP, convincing business to invest in biodiversity is a win for the environment, but also for the economy and society.
“One dollar invested in biodiversity in a city brings in $10. The return on biodiversity in urban settings has an impact on the health and education of adults and children. We want to help clients reduce their environmental impact, which is good for our economy and society.” – Olivier Joyal
The CRE-Montréal representative explained how her organization uses art to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
“For people to act, they need to be made aware. For example, on December 14, we will launch a comic on biodiversity. The arts have that ability to touch people.” – Jeanne-Hélène Jugie
The co-founder of Alvéole went on to say that Montréal businesses are increasingly sensitive to protecting biodiversity.
“We help businesses that want to take action on biodiversity. We started with a beehive on top of a building in Montréal. We now have over 3,500. We want to offer nature-based services to create a living ecosystem in our cities.” – Étienne Lapierre
Innovation, a key factor in evaluating the impact of businesses on nature
WSP believes that new technologies make it possible to study the environment before new projects get under way.
“We had a road expansion project in Kenya. With infrared cameras in our offices in Québec, we could observe giraffes moving through the area, so the new viaduct does not impact wildlife.” – Olivier Joyal
The CRE-Montréal is relying on innovation in governance to improve the state of nature in urban settings.
“There is an enormous amount of innovation, particularly with respect to green buildings. In terms of governance, cities are gathering an increasing number of actors around the table to make decisions.” – Jeanne-Hélène Jugie
Similarly, sensors installed in Alvéole hives can measure the quality of the surrounding environment.
“We receive data from the honey from our hives in real time. We analyze the DNA, which reveals the state of the biodiversity in an area, enabling us to monitor the state of nature.” – Étienne Lapierre
The three panelists ended the discussion by reiterating the importance of preserving biodiversity and protecting nature.
“My hope is that the COP15 makes people aware that biodiversity is just as important as climate change. The collapse of biodiversity is more insidious and has an equally significant impact.” – Jeanne-Hélène Jugie