(Montreal) Even if many entrepreneurs do not know where to start, there is a strong interest on the part of Quebec companies to find ways to improve their environmental practices, notes the President and Chief Executive Officer of Investissement Québec, Guy LeBlanc, interviewed to take stock of the Compétivert program.
For the first two years of the program, the financial arm of the Quebec government granted financial support worth $703 million to support 209 projects. This assistance can take the form of funding for a project, but also through support in the form of a diagnosis to establish the most promising environmental actions for a company. The total value of the projects would reach 2.7 billion taking into account the investments of the other partners.
Mr. LeBlanc says he is reassured to see that the interest of Quebec companies has continued after the initial enthusiasm of the first year of Compétivert. From the first year, Compétivert had exceeded its initial objective of deploying 375 million over three years. The target had been increased to 1 billion, still by the end of March 2024.
“ I was worried for the second year, confides the big boss of Investissement Québec. I was very happy to see that, for the second year, we are at the same pace and that we are on track to reach our goal of one billion over three years. »
The electrification of transport represents “roughly speaking” 30% of the amounts granted by Investissement Québec, reports Mr. LeBlanc. Renewable energy another 20% and circular economy projects 10%.
In the manufacturing sector, there is great interest in decarbonizing operations, says LeBlanc. It is based on a Léger survey conducted in collaboration with the organization Québec Net Positif.
In fact, 87% of manufacturing companies believe there is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, only 12% have compiled an inventory of their emissions. Nearly half (49%) have made no climate action in their operations.
“The good news is that there are a lot of people who are aware of this. The bad news is that not many are taking action. This confirms that our support and diagnostic role is extremely important. »
A delay to catch up
Energy efficiency is a project that all players in society will have to tackle, and Quebec businesses will be called upon to put their shoulders to the wheel.
Subject less publicized, Quebec companies are also accumulating a significant delay on the front of the circular economy, gives the example of the director, Industrial environmental performance, at Investissement Québec – CRIQ, Nicolas Turgeon.
Only 3.5% of the Quebec economy is circular, according to the latest report from Recyc-Québec. This figure would be 7.2% for the global economy and even reach 24.5% for the Netherlands.
“That means that 96% of our economy is still in linear mode, which means that we produce, we consume and then we eliminate,” says Mr. Turgeon. In fact, there are plenty of companies that have understood that it does not make sense, then, that economically it is in our best interest to go in a circular mode. »
There are undeniable benefits to going green, LeBlanc argues. More stringent requirements from governments, institutional investors and financial institutions will force companies to adjust if they want to export their products or obtain financing, for example.
In a context of labor scarcity, a good environmental record is important, he stresses. “Are you going to work for a company that has a bad environmental reputation? These days, that’s not a good idea. »