Vision 2020 Stakeholder Profile: Jerome Conraud

The Sandbox


Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.39.43 PMWe sat down with McGill’s Energy Manager in the Utilities and Energy Management Department, Jerome Conraud, to discuss Vision 2020 action, operations, and community engagement processes on campus!

Can you describe your current or past involvement with the Vision 2020 Process?

I was mainly part of discussions around operations and research. I provided context during discussions and answered questions about where McGill stood in terms of energy/environmental performance and why McGill wasn’t investing in more renewable energy at the time.  A big part of my message had to do with busting myths (e.g. people don’t know Hydro Québec runs mostly on hydro dams and wind power, etc.). I also participated in shaping the actions themselves: I developed McGill’s energy management plan, which has since been implemented by Utilities & Energy Management, I collaborated on the implementation of the Green Building action, and implemented the actions related to the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition, I participated in the Sustainable Labs Working Group, which seeks to bring about the vision described in Vision 2020.  I’m also part of the Sustainable Procurement team and as such, I have been involved in discussions about making purchases more sustainable—with a focus on research equipment—and influencing granting agencies to include sustainability considerations in their requirements.

How has Vision 2020 impacted the work that your team does?

Vision 2020 hasn’t really impacted our daily activities. McGill’s Energy Management Plan precedes Vision 2020, but Vision 2020 broadened the scope of sustainability at McGill and offered a venue for people from different backgrounds, faculties, and units to get together and work on common goals such as sustainable procurement.  However, I think we could have gone further with adequate funding and support from all the governing bodies of the University. That’s what was lacking for us to fully bring about the community vision described in Vision 2020.

What, in your opinion, are some of Vision 2020’s key successes?

Definitely bringing people from all horizons together and having them work on a common vision.  There are very few venues where this can happen at McGill.

What are its failures or shortcomings?

Key decision makers, including senior administrative representatives, were not part of the process or, at least, they were less engaged. At the end of each Vision 2020 consultation, I left thinking that even though we had discussed some great ideas and created some potential partnerships, whatever we could do would have a somewhat limited impact unless somebody made the call and said “we’re steering this ship and going full steam ahead to make this dream come true”. This was especially true as far as renewable energy and climate action were concerned.

What do you want to see happen in this next stage of the Vision 2020 Process–choosing and implementing the priority actions for the 2017-2020 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan?

I want more key decision makers involved to back the plan. I want them to commit themselves to have their units and faculties deliver on the actions that will be defined in the next round of consultations, and I want us to get out of the meeting room with SMART objectives, hard facts, numbers, and targets to reach.

What would your sustainability superhero name be?

Super tree hugger! Or Energy Guy? Our team would be the Energy League. Whatever!

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