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From Greta to Carbon Neutrality

A year ago, CAE President and CEO Marc Parent was among those stuck in traffic because of a major climate protest that also involved Greta Thunberg. Today the company he leads announces that it is now CO2 neutral.

Posted Oct 6, 2020 at 9:00 am

Jean-François Codère
La Presse

"I looked at all those people walking, I took my phone and wrote to all the vice presidents telling them we needed to do more," recalls Mr. Parent, Father. of three children "very concerned" about these issues.

The goal of making CAE a carbon neutral company was officially born and announced shortly after, in November 2019.

Mr. The parent readily admits that the task was not as daunting as it was for other companies in the airline industry. CAE is best known for its flight simulators. As such, two of the three main sources of greenhouse gas emissions are energy consumed in buildings around the world and the movements of workers.

But the company primarily describes itself as a specialist in the training of pilots as a whole, including flight training, on board a fleet of more than 200 small aircraft. CAE & # 39; s second largest issue is CAE's problems.

To achieve neutrality, the company first tried to reduce its emissions, Parent says.

We have invested in solar energy for some buildings. Three of them run exclusively on solar energy, in Australia, India and Dubai, and we are building another in Tampa.

Marc Parent

The solar panels will be installed above the building's parking lot, which also has the advantage of shading cars.

CAE will still have to offset the annual emissions of about 90,000 tons of greenhouse gases that it cannot eliminate at this time. It will do this by acquiring renewable energy certificates and carbon credits.

"I hope this sends a message to the rest of the industry," Parent says now.

Good prospects

There is "nothing positive" for CAE in the pandemic that has hit the entire aviation industry very hard in recent months. The Montreal-based company is still in a position to be less affected than airlines and equipment manufacturers.

"For us the best indicator is the number of flying planes," summarizes Mr. Parent. It doesn't matter how many passengers they carry. The services of CAE or its simulators are requested by pilots at regular intervals, approximately every six months, to keep their skills up to date.

However, the number of flights has fallen less drastically than the number of passengers.

“Currently about a third of the world's fleet is still grounded, but two thirds are in use.

The seniority mechanisms in pilot collective agreements also indirectly favor CAE. Even if they keep their posts, many pilots are forced to switch aircraft types, forcing them to go through the simulator.

CAE also trains corporate jet pilots, an industry that has been much less affected.

According to Mr. Parent, the significant investments – about 1 billion – made in digital technologies over the past five years have greatly facilitated the transition from activities to remote working.

“Not only have we been able to enter the digital age, it also gives us an edge in working remotely. We will be able to operate much more efficiently. "

Written by Rahis

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