Habitat, a consulting firm specializing in the conservation, development and management of biodiversity, is pushing its luck and its growth as far as West Africa.
The Montreal company, which is dedicated to accelerating the ecological transition, wants to set in motion what “in our jargon, we call a natural solution”, explains its president and co-founder Jérôme Dupras. “So how to use nature and ecosystems to do climate change mitigation and adaptation to protect biodiversity. »
To these lofty ideals, the African startup project adds the goal of “empowering local people and developing their economy,” he says. Not in a logic of extractivism, but in a logic of working with nature, so that agricultural and forestry activities can also be respectful of the environment”.
The mandate will only be officially announced in a few weeks, so he cannot mention the exact location or the partners.
“But our teams are already there. We are already collaborating with local scientists and technicians who will take data. And that’s really part of our international development strategy. »
The company wants to work abroad with local partners and organizations, in a collaboration “where our role will be to bring the best possible science to the service of the fight against the ecological crisis”.
The word science will often come up in his mouth. Unsurprisingly: the president of Habitat is also a professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Quebec in Outaouais and holder since 2019 of the very first Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics.
Jérôme Dupras granted this telephone interview from Quebec City, at the end of the afternoon of Wednesday, June 21. He had just been dubbed a Knight of the National Order of Quebec, a recognition that highlights his scientific career, his environmental commitment and his musical career.
Because the scientist-entrepreneur is also the bassist of the Cowboys Fringants, whose environmental song Plus rien tells the agony of the last human on Earth.
“I remember very well where this song came from,” he says. It was following a conference by Hubert Reeves that Jean-François Pauzé and I went to see on the South Shore in the early 2000s. It was a conference that really gripped us, with its impactful side on the impact of human activities on the planet. Me, it fed me from a scientific perspective, and Jean-François from an author’s perspective. That song was born in 2004.”
Habitat, for its part, was born 13 years later, in 2017. It was founded by three university professors who had worked together for a decade: Christian Messier, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Quebec to Montreal, Andrew Gonzalez, professor in the Department of Biology at McGill University, and Jérôme Dupras.
“The great challenge of humanity in the 21st century is that of the environmental crisis, comments the latter. Basically, we are obviously scientists, but we found that the vehicle of an environmental engineering start-up made it possible to respond more quickly and more effectively to this challenge, and also to find financing solutions to propel our expertise. So far, it’s working very well. Again this week, we posted new positions, because our team is growing. »
The company now has more than twenty employees. She is leading some thirty projects in Quebec, Canada, the United States… and now in West Africa. Three people are assigned to research and development, in projects carried out in collaboration with universities.
“When we talk about our flagship themes such as the analysis of ecological connectivity, forest diversity or carbon calculations, we have our own models and our own tools which are the subject of trademark registrations”, indicates Jerome Dupras.
Habitat, for example, draws up urban forestry plans, which guide municipalities in setting up woodlots that are resistant to pollution and insect pests.
The firm also draws up conservation plans.
“We arrive on a given territory and we look at where to create a wildlife passage, where to widen a riparian strip, he illustrates. And we are supporting cities, MRCs, regions, provinces, and even possibly countries in land conservation plans. »
COP15, held in Montreal last December, concluded with a commitment to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030, he recalls.
“Our playing field for supporting associates and clients is truly global, because everyone has signed on to this pledge. »
The difficulty lies in the fact that the rules of this game change with the terrain.
“We know the Quebec context very well,” he says. The environment obviously has scientific dimensions, but there are also social, economic, cultural and political dynamics. Our challenge is to learn to read similar contexts in other Canadian provinces, in other countries. »
An ambitious program!
“That’s how we built our careers, he defends, and that’s how we want Habitat to grow. »
It’s an electrical outlet: Groupe Industries Fournier has acquired a majority stake in Boivin Évolution (BEV), a manufacturer of electric dumpsters for the collection of residual materials. Thanks to this partnership, Boivin Evolution will be able to meet growing market demand by entrusting Fournier with the manufacture of its products. BEV’s founding president and owner, Claude Boivin, had begun discussions in 2020 to focus on engineering, product development, sales and technical support for its customers. Groupe Industries Fournier President Harold Roy sees it as an opportunity to “add another high value-added product” to the company’s portfolio. The Thetford Mines company is an industrial equipment supplier and installer in various sectors of activity, including water treatment, the mining industry and aluminum smelters. Boivin Evolution’s automated and 100% electric side-loading dumpster is unparalleled on the market, the company maintains. Installed on any type of chassis, it provides fuel savings and a reduction in GHGs. Over 25 dumpsters are currently in service across North America.
While several microbreweries have been demolished, Alchimiste is reopening its terrace. The microbrewery will welcome the public for the first time since its pub closed in 2014. The industrial brewery will serve customers in its 45-seat beer bar (and 15 keg lines) and on its 148-seat outdoor terrace. They will be able to admire a mural telling the story of the company, created by Montreal artist Marc-Olivier Lamothe, and visit the factory. “We want people to immerse themselves in our universe,” said its administrators, in a formula that evokes a dive into a bubble bath. Alchimiste Microbrasserie was founded in 2001 by Carl Dufour in downtown Joliette, then sold a few years later to Michel Bérard. Taken over by Pol Brisset in 2019, it has since grown by 300%. In 2022, Alchimiste had made an outlet in the world of non-alcoholic beers with three products.
Long-term care in Quebec may be improved, at least in terms of comfort. Because LPA Médical and ConfortMédic are joining forces and furniture. The first, a manufacturer specializing in medical chairs, acquired the second, a manufacturer of personal care and mobility assistance equipment. The transaction strengthens the long-term care sector in Quebec, argue the companies involved, which will continue their activities independently in their respective factories. All jobs at LPA Médical in Quebec and at ConfortMédic in Saint-Césaire are maintained. This approach will allow them to retain their skills, while taking advantage of their complementarity to expand their representation on the market and offer a more complete range of products. LPA Médical has around 50 employees and ConfortMédic employs around 25 people.
The 18th China International Small and Medium Enterprise Fair, which is held from June 26 to 30 in Guangzhou, will have no less than 3,200 booths. It will host more than 1,600 national exhibitors and 300 international exhibitors, including Canadians.