Sustainable Consumption Chair

Built on the solid expertise of the CIRAIG, the Observatoire sur la consommation responsable and the GreenUX Lab, the Chair on Sustainable Consumption will allow the linking of knowledge and the creation of new synergies between lifecycle analysis and responsible consumption.

It is key to democratize robust scientific knowledge on sustainability metrics, both for citizens who need to adopt more sustainable behaviours and for those who accompany them in this process (governments, responsible businesses, NPOs).

To this end, one of the projects at the heart of the Chair is the creation of a sustainable compass, based on a life cycle inventory database of consumption in Quebec, allowing individual environmental footprint calculations to be able to shed light on the consumption choices and behaviours of Quebecers in a pedagogical and entertaining way.

These tools will not only provide a better understanding of the most relevant consumption strategies, but also of the unexpected indirect environmental consequences, from a life-cycle perspective, of every choice we make.

Academic partners

Scientific program

Axis 1 - Quantifying and informing individuals about their environmental and social impacts

Axis 2 - Supporting individuals in adopting more sustainable behaviours

Develop diagnostic tools to better inform individuals about their footprint  

  • Diagnosis of the environmental footprint using a questionnaire
  • Presentation of footprint results, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement
  • Robust generic data highlighting the most important issues (beyond sometimes biased perceptions) based on robust and up-to-date life-cycle inventory databases
  • Programming interfaces for calculating individual environmental footprints
  • User interfaces for different audiences and needs

Create a panoply of complementary diagnostic tools for those who support individuals in their efforts to reduce their impacts (NGOs, industries, communities and governments, especially the Chair’s partners)

  • Highlight “what really counts”
  • Better market positionning
  • Better communication with individuals
Improve and make more robust and exhaustive the calculation of the environmental and social impacts of individuals  
  • Improving methods and models for environmental and social life-cycle impacts
  • Development and operationalization of indicators on planetary boundaries
  • Creation of consumer life-cycle inventory databases more representative of Quebec
  • Modeling of individual behaviors and their consequences with a life cycle approach
  • Automate behavioral data collection and inference on missing data by combining life cycle analysis and artificial intelligence

Establishing ethical and effective practices for sharing individual environmental footprint information

  • How to communicate life-cycle impacts to non-experts for informed decision-making despite the complexity of analyses
  • How to establish ethical best practices in all the tools developed and in the management of the personal data needed to perform the calculations (privacy-enhancing algorithms, anonymization, development of a framework for the ethical use of individuals’ behavioral and environmental data, etc.).

Create tools to help users adopt more sustainable habits

  • Measure the reduction in environmental impact resulting from improved daily behavior
  • Personalized, progressive commitment to quantified actions to reduce environmental footprint environnementale
  • Support with personalized advice
  • Follow-up of targets, with quantified reductions in environmental impact
  • Rewards to encourage users to continue their efforts

Create a range of complementary support tools for NGOs, industries, communities and governments

  • Guide effective action and prioritize the most relevant levers for citizen transition
  • Share best business and governance practices in behavioral change towards sustainable consumption

Efficiently support individual behavior change towards more sustainable lifestyles

  • Identify the most effective levers for behavior change by analyzing data collected using machine learning
  • Customized advice and behavior change objectives
  • Identify and critically analyze best business and governance practices to support behavioral change towards more sustainable consumption

Communicating and democratizing this complex knowledge in an ethical manner

  • Development of effective, scientifically robust awareness-raising tools
  • Reflecting on the optimal level of disaggregation of data, media, environmental labeling, application user interfaces, exploring gamification
  • Influencing individual choices
  • Creating new social norms for sustainable consumption at the individual level
  • Raising awareness and education in the transition process
  • Importance of equity, diversity and inclusion in the tools and approaches developed

Becoming a partner of the Chair

Being a partner generates value for your organization:

  • a pool of experts in life-cycle analysis and sustainable consumption,
  • access to state-of-the-art research,
  • customized projects and support,
  • trainings,
  • associate professors bringing together their complementary expertise, essential for covering the various aspects of sustainable consumption (mobility, building, food, fashion, etc.) and relevant complementary expertise (behavioral psychology, artificial intelligence, etc.).

Projects of the Chair

A leading project

At the heart of the Chair’s program, this project aims to develop a lifecycle inventory database for Quebec consumption, enabling the evaluation of the carbon footprint of the consumption of an average Quebecer using a lifecycle approach.

This report presents the inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to the consumption of the Montreal community for the year 2017. The inventory covers all activities and operations taking place within the Montreal community, including household purchases and activities, spending by the Ville de Montréal itself, capital investments (e.g. the purchase of buildings or machinery) taking place within the community, as well as federal and provincial government spending benefiting the community.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive use of medical masks, two life cycle analyses were conducted to evaluate the environmental impacts of end-of-life management of single-use masks used in Quebec, but also of different types of reusable and single-use masks.

CIRAIG contributed to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report “Single-use supermarket food packaging and its alternatives: Recommendations from life cycle Assessments”. This report compares the environmental impacts of single use plastic packaging versus alternative options for supermarket food, intended for home consumption, and provides recommendations to policy makers.

Sara Russo Garrido participated in the full formal academic review of the Product Social Impact Assessment Handbook with the Product Social Impact Assessment Partnership led by Pré Sustainability.

Article published in “Sustainability”: Carbon Footprint of Beef Cattle by Raymond L. Desjardins, Devon E. Worth, Xavier P. C. Vergé, Dominique Maxime, Jim Dyer and Darrel Cerkowniak.

Gestimat makes it possible to perform comparative analyses of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the manufacture of materials (from cradle to factory door) for various building structure scenarios. The CIRAIG helped in calculating inventory data for the Gestimat project by Cecobois.

Scientific leadership

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