Responsible consumption and production with Annette Bergeron and Jeff Card
Our guests were Annette Bergeron and Jeff Card
Mel De Gioia 0:25
Welcome to Engineering Heroes Mini Series in the lead up to the very first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development 2020. This mini series is being supported by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations. My name is Melanie and my co host and our podcast’s resident engineer is Dominic. Today’s episode we are going to be talking about Responsible Consumption and Production which is United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 12.
Today’s a bit different to all our podcasts to date. For our episode on responsible consumption and production, one engineer is not enough. We’ve got two engineers joining us. Both engineers are from Canada. Annette Bergeron is a metallurgical engineer with an MBA and extensive public and private sector experience. She has held presidential positions in a number of organisations, including Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, and was recognised as being one of the top 25 women of influence across Canada. And he’s currently consulting on STEM project with the Federal Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. Also joining us is Jeff Card. Jeff’s an electrical engineer who works in building and engineering department at Bell Canada, where he’s had multiple roles throughout the organisation. He served a term on the board of the Newfoundland and Labrador construction Safety Association and has been elected to sit on the Engineer’s Canada Board.
Mel De Gioia 1:43
So in high school, both Jeff and Annette were really drawn to maths However, Annette was conflicted because she also was really into drama. Annette and Jeff both had engineering fathers and were quite influenced by their dad’s careers. Next was an engineering technologist. And so was Jeff’s actually. Jeff’s dad worked on micorwave technology. And he remembers while growing up helping his dad work on the family cabin, and hearing the stories his dad would tell him about his work. And Jeff recalls being really impressed by how his father’s work was helping the community, the pride that he’s dead took, but also the actual work his dad was doing was really interesting.
You know, the innovative ways that his team and he would solve problems and the pioneering spirit that kind of went along with that as he built up a network. And I didn’t really know it at the time, but I think looking back at that now that probably played a pretty significant role.
And so this mini series is all about UN Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly, this one today is in regards to UN SDG Number 12, responsible production and consumption. Can you tell our listeners what that involves, and what that’s about?
Sustainable Development Goal 12 is about ensuring sustainable consumption and sustainable production patterns.
So what it means is
the world needs to really decouple economic growth from natural resource use.
And here in Canada, historically, we’re a large natural resource country. So what we need for SDG 12 is policies that improve resource efficiency that reduce waste and consumption and integrate into the mainstream, sustainable practices across all sectors of the economy and not just natural resources
When I think about SDG. And what it means, you know, when I, when I read through it, there’s really three points. One is policy development and infrastructure requirements, we think about things like you know, diesel emissions, and so on that to me really strikes home. Another is
education of the public and sustainable consumption.
So even things we do as individuals, you know, I’ve got two young kids that go to school now and things like the use of plastics, for example, and baggies versus things that you can repeatly use and how we better make use of that and then finally, you know, resource efficiencies and various energy reduction techniques. In my own line of work trying to reduce fuel consumption and energy through building projects. So those are the things when I look at SDG 12.
Mel De Gioia 4:08
Yeah, thanks for that. Actually, I find out of all the goals this one I’m the most clueless about. So that actually did help a little bit to clarify for me. So, Jeff, what was your inspiration for aligning your work with this goal?
As I mentioned, I’m building engineer with a telecommunications company here in Canada. And for me, there’s a lot of ways in which these projects really do align very well with multiple objectives we have so not only is it good for energy, but green is green, we say you know, it’s good for cost reduction. It’s also good for reliability. Oftentimes, you know, when we do these projects, my goal is to make buildings more reliable. Normally green solutions, we talk about LED lights, lighting retrofits that last longer than typical bulbs, but also save energy. We talk about HVAC economisation where you’re not only reducing your footprint, energy wise, but you’re also reducing the number of parts in the system required to make it work properly. Because you don’t need things like compressors, you just need fans. We think about UPS battery footprints and needing less batteries on uninterruptible power supplies. All these different things that we do on the building sites. Solar systems that reduce diesel run, so less maintenance. It was a really a no brainer for us in terms of trying to do things that are in line with SDG 12. Because it just makes good business sense.
Mel De Gioia 5:22
Yeah, it sounds like a real win win in your situation. What about you Annette? How did your inspiration to follow this goal come in?
Well as an engineer, sometimes it’s hard to do things by yourself.
But if we joined forces and joined voices, it can be more effective.
So for me that was becoming a leader of an organisation like Engineers Canada, where Jeff and I are on the board of directors. So I think
engineers have a role to play in all of the goals.
But we need to advocate to our government here in Canada anyways, and let them know that we as engineers are ready and willing to help on a wide range of these policy areas. So we developed a policy for our government to help them, establish goals and targets and identify actions to help them include sustainable consumption. So the reduction of greenhouse gases and energy efficiency and conservation, and also sustainable production.
So we need more climate resilient buildings and infrastructure that extends their service life.
So we don’t need to replace infrastructure and buildings, and therefore the consumption of resources is less frequent. So that’s where I really am passionate about this work.
So Annette, are there any projects that you can tell us about the you as an engineer working on to contribute to this UN SDG?
My focus really is in the public policy area and in advocacy. So if we talk about things like infrastructure as an example, we need to address future climate impacts that addresses vulnerability gaps. We don’t want to cause later service disruptions and failures of infrastructure and buildings. This increases cost to the government, increases costs of the private sector, and mostly it increases cost to us, we’re the public. It also increases the consumption. So for example, here in Canada in June 2018, whenever the federal government sees a project that wants funding, they asked the people to undertake an assessment of how their projects will contribute to, or reduce carbon pollution. And to consider climate change risks. So they used a protocol that was developed by us at Engineers Canada, as one of the methodologies for change, climate change, resilience could be used.
Mel De Gioia 7:23
What a great result.
Yeah, we’re very proud of it.
Mel De Gioia 7:26
And, Jeff, do you have a project that you wanted to mention that contributes to this goal?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we have a few different initiatives are doing but one that I’m particularly proud of, within my own province of Newfoundland and Labrador. A lot of the telecommunications in Labrador is typically been done by microwave. So if you were to pick up the phone and call from one area to the next it hops on a bunch of microwave towers to make that connection. And a few years ago, we put in fibre and we still had microwave backup, but we’ve since found some unique telecommunications ways to provide that redundant route through other means, which is allowing us to shut down seven of those sites. What that means for us, these are all non grid sites that have about 4,000 gallons of fuel supply at sites because they’re helicopter access, and now we’re able to shut those down. So between you know the last couple of years, we’re shutting down seven sites and 28,000 gallons of store diesel, which is a significant reduction for us. And then additionally, the remaining site, we have a solar renewal plan that we’re doing where we’re installing solar power on these sites that is reducing our diesel footprint by about 80%. And again, back to the comment I made early not only is that beneficial from the fuel reduction perspective, and the environment, but all this fuel is flown the site so it’s the JA1 fuel for the helicopters that bring it in as well. And the maintenance on machines because they run less, then the maintenance is extended on those things. We get longer life out of rebuilding system. So just a great initiative. Really looking forward to finishing that one this year.
Yeah, this is great.
Mel De Gioia 8:48
Yeah, really great use of innovation and moving forward but in a responsible manner. What’s 2020 look for the both of you. What’s a goal that you hope to achieve that will improve or work towards this Sustainable Development Goal number 12?
Well, one thing I’m really excited about is for Engineers Canada, we developed a free online course that anybody in the world can use. It’s called sustainable development and environmental stewardship. It’s been offered three times already. And registration is currently open right now for anybody to join. It’s been taken by close to 4600 people around the world. They’ve given it great reviews. And it uses engineering case studies from across Canada to demonstrate the application of these principles. So we’d encourage engineers around the world to register for the course in 2020. And they can find it on our website engineerscanada.ca.
Mel De Gioia 9:38
And that sounds amazing as well to make something like that so open and available. You’re ticking a lot of United Nation Sustainable Development Goals boxes there.
Yeah. Thank you.
And Jeff, is there something that you hope to achieve in 2020 is part of this year in SDG?
Yeah, well, I mean, beyond my corporate goals and objectives,
I try to be a good steward
here, but personally you know at home we’ve been trying to make some changes so I want to speak to that for some of the listeners as well. So we’ve done a lot around at the house you know towards recycling and now at the plastics reduction, the you know trying to use things over again there. But one thing I’m still terrible at I’m a vicious paper towel user. I’ve got a two year old son.
Mel De Gioia 10:18
You and Dom can bond over your use of paper towels. I would love to you how you were working on that one.
So dish towels and dish cloths and face cloths, that’s a personal goal for me. Maybe more relatable to most listeners, but something I’m trying to work on here.
Mel De Gioia 10:36
I think you and Dom need to form a support group on paper towels. He has like the biggest meltdown whenever we’re running low as I go to go to the shop, we need paper towels.
Now that you’ve said that, it is something that I think that I might need to put on my list as well this year in regards to my goal to sort of cut out paper towels and start using the teatowels and dishcloths.
Mel De Gioia 11:00
There you go Jeff, you’ve inspired him so well done.
That’s great. Well, thank you so much guys that’s been really wonderful. I’ve really picked up a lot about what’s going on.
Thank you very much.
Mel De Gioia 11:15
And thank you for tuning into Engineering Heroes as we prepare you for the first World Engineering Day on Sustainable Development, which is going to be held every fourth of March. If you want to know more about our podcast or the episode you just heard, visit our website, www.engineeringheroes.com.au. We hope you’re enjoying our mini series which is brought to you with the support of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations. The best way for you to show your support for our show, is to tell people, either in person or write a review. Just spread the word. Seriously, it is that easy. We look forward to you and your friends joining us next time when we bring you another episode with one of our engineering champions.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Today is a bit different to all our podcasts to date. For our episode on responsible consumption and production, one engineer is not enough… we’ve got 2 engineers joining us.
Both engineers are from Canada.
Annette Bergeron is a Metallurgical engineer with an MBA and has extensive public and private sector experience. She has held presidental positions in a number of organisations, including Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. Annette was recognised as being one of the Top 25 Women of Influence across Canada and is currently consulting on a STEM project with the federal Ministry of Women and Gender Equity
Also joining us is Jeff Card, an electrical engineer. Jeff works in the Buildings Engineering Department of Bell Canada where he has held multiple roles throughout the organisation. He served a term on the Board of the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association and has been elected to sit on the Engineers Canada Board.