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Decarbonization of the economy | WSP Global wants to help polluting industries



Consulting engineering firm doesn’t believe in ‘leaving entire industries behind’

In its contribution to the decarbonization of the economy, the Montreal engineering consulting giant WSP Global prefers to rely on technical assistance to polluting industries rather than completely excluding them from its order book.

“Leaving behind complete industries in need [de réduire leur empreinte carbone]we do not believe as an organization that this is the best way to make this green transition towards a better world”, indicated the president and chief executive officer of WSP, Alexandre L’Heureux, during a speech before the Cercle Montreal Canadian, which is one of the city’s most prestigious business forums.

“In terms of energy transition [vers la carboneutralité]WSP sees itself as an agent of change, whose technical know-how and excellence should be used to [contribuer à] change the world,” explained Mr. L’Heureux.

Therefore, “helping these industries [polluantes] to become more low-carbon” rather than putting them aside is the preferred way in WSP’s business plan to accentuate the development of its important “earth and environmental sciences” division.

In his speech, the President and CEO of WSP recalled that, since the acquisition of the specialized firm Golder & Associates last year for 1.5 billion, this division now weighs a quarter (25%) of the turnover WSP’s business, which is approaching 8 billion dollars.

This “earth and environmental sciences” division employs 14,000 of the 55,000 employees in WSP’s global workforce. It is also at the forefront of “ambitious objectives” to double in size and achieve “unmatched profitability in each of our target markets”.


Alexandre L’Heureux, CEO of WSP Global, in 2019

Essentially, there are projects that we don’t want to pursue, such as building new coal-fired plants, or even hydrocarbon projects (oil and gas) in areas that have a more fragile ecosystem. We won’t touch those things anymore.

Alexandre L’Heureux, CEO of WSP Global

“On the other hand, WSP must be there for these industries [qui veulent effectuer leur transition énergétique]. In terms of renewable energies, for example, what we currently have in the world is not enough to meet the needs. »

According to figures quoted by Mr. L’Heureux, “the International Energy Agency estimates that the planet will have to triple its investments in renewable energies by 2030 to curb the rise in temperatures”.

Moreover, in the context of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and the tensions generated in Europe by its dependence on oil and gas of Russian origin, the president of WSP underlined that “we talk a lot about energy independence since a few weeks “.

“I think it exacerbates this discussion. [sur les efforts de transition énergétique]. We cannot leave behind important industries that need technical know-how to reduce their carbon footprint. »

Eastern REM

In another register, the REM de l’Est project in Montreal is of interest to WSP Global, but the engineering firm is awaiting the publication of a call for tenders in good and due form before working in more detail on its proposal.

“The call for tenders has not been submitted yet, so there is nothing to bid for us at this time,” said Alexandre L’Heureux, in an interview with The Canadian Press on the sidelines of a speech. in front of the Canadian Club of Montreal, Monday.

If there is a call for tenders and the work is well done, we would definitely be interested in bidding.

Alexandre L’Heureux, CEO of WSP Global

CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec, announced in March that it had decided to delay the final presentation of the project before the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), which was scheduled for this spring. , in order to obtain better support from its partners, including the City of Montreal.

“Of course we are preparing upstream, but as long as we don’t know the outcome of all this, it’s difficult to have optimal preparation, said the big boss of WSP. We are waiting for more details to bid. »

WSP had tried to obtain the engineering and construction contract for the first REM route, but the company had been beaten by its rival SNC-Lavalin.

With The Canadian Press

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