Our evolving approach

This report is the result of close collaboration with our stakeholders. Through consultations, surveys, workshops and discussions, we placed these stakeholders at the heart of our approach to prepare this Sustainability Report. Their comments and suggestions further to the publication of the 2013 Sustainability Report were the starting point for our deliberation. Then, with our stakeholders, we prioritized the issues, which made it possible for us to define the topics presented in this report. The unprecedented participation of 86 external stakeholders and 57 internal stakeholders allowed us to come to these conclusions and prepare this second report.

The 2013 Sustainability Report was our first report published in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. It was the beginning of a rigorous process, as the GRI criteria require that a true sustainable development management system be put in place. As a result, since 2013, we have made improvements in terms of responsible procurement; among other things, we published our first supplier code of conduct. We also reviewed our social acceptability practices and improved our sustainable development governance structure.

The 2015 Sustainability Report is the continuation of this process, as the stakeholders agree that the issues identified in 2013 are still a priority two years later.
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Our achievements

The 2013-2018 strategic plan set out two major ambitions: to protect and to grow. It is in this context and with this vision that we have been focusing on three main objectives.

First, consume less. Gaz Métro has been promoting energy efficiency to its customers since the early 2000s. These efforts have led to natural gas savings of more than 418 million cubic metres realized by Quebec customers from 2001 to 2015. Furthermore, fiscal 2015 was a record year in terms of the reduction of Gaz Métro customers’ energy requirements, with total savings of more than 42 million cubic metres.

Second, develop renewable forms of energy. Gaz Métro has become a provider of diversified energy solutions. Our company is a partner in one of Canada’s largest wind farms, the Seigneurie de Beaupré, whose 154 wind turbines represent 340 megawatts of installed capacity. It is also involved in biomethanation, which entails transforming waste into useful energy. In the summer of 2015, the Régie de l’énergie approved an initial project with the City of Saint-Hyacinthe, which will make it possible to add up to 13 million cubic metres of local and renewable natural gas to our network.  

Third, consume smarter. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. When it is used instead of other more polluting energies, such as diesel, oil and coal, there is an immediate reduction in GHG emissions of approximately 25%, 32% and 42%, respectively. Moreover, using natural gas instead of heavy fuel oil improves air quality by reducing sulfur oxide (SO2) emissions by 99%, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 70%, and fine particle emissions by 90%.

In 2014 and 2015, Gaz Métro kicked off several projects to make natural gas more available.
  • In June 2015, the Quebec and Canadian governments made financial contributions to the extension of the natural gas network in the Bellechasse region. This 71-kilometre extension to our network had been on the drawing board for over 10 years. In December 2015, the Régie de l’énergie approved this $40 million project.
  • Further south, in the Asbestos sector, the federal government has made a commitment to contribute to a 7.4-kilometre extension of our network to supply the industrial park with an additional 386,000 cubic metres of natural gas over three years. In December 2015, the $4.3 million project was officially submitted to the Régie de l’énergie. Commissioning is scheduled for the end of 2016.
  • In partnership with Investissement Québec, we have begun work on a development project aiming to increase the production capacity, as of 2016, of our liquefaction plant in the east end of Montréal. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) makes it possible to extend the benefits of natural gas to road and maritime transport, as well as supply natural gas to communities and industrial sites beyond our network’s reach which usually meet their energy needs with diesel or oil.
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Our responsibilities in the urgent fight against climate change

Climate change is a reality. It is mainly caused by the rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in our atmosphere. This can be attributed to human activity, specifically to the use of fossil fuels. Gaz Métro is fully aware of this threat.

If businesses in the energy sector are part of the problem, they also need to be part of the solution. In this spirit of collaboration and shared responsibility, Gaz Métro attended the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) alongside environmental groups and non-governmental organizations from Quebec, as well as federal and provincial government representatives.

Quebec has a short-term GHG emission reduction target of 20% below the 1990 level by 2020; it established a medium-term reduction target of 37.5% by 2030 further to consultations held in 2015; and, in the long term, Quebec is aiming to reduce its GHG emissions by 80–95% by 2050, having joined, in 2015, the UNDER 2 MOU group, which brings together numerous signatory members that all share this ambitious target.

Gaz Métro stands with Quebec and believes it can play a significant role in attaining these objectives.

Furthermore, Gaz Métro supports the carbon market and has been subject to it since January 1, 2015. Beyond the GHG emission reductions stemming from its energy efficiency efforts, Gaz Métro must acquire emission allowances under the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances (C&T system) to offset the GHG emissions resulting from its activities as well as the consumption of a portion of its clientele. Gaz Métro can acquire these emission allowances by taking part in auctions jointly organized by the Quebec and California governments, for example. Gaz Métro has participated in every auction since November 2014. The company can also acquire offset credits recognized by the C&T system which are generated by GHG reduction projects. This is how it acquired the first offset credits ever generated in Quebec. Gaz Métro’s goal is to ensure compliance with the carbon market while generating positive spinoffs in Quebec.
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Social acceptability, the cornerstone of our projects

Adopting a long-term approach to energy not only requires that our company fight climate change, but also entails another fundamental implication: ensuring our projects are socially acceptable.  

Our vision of social acceptability revolves around three milestones:
  • Identify the positive and negative environmental, social and economic impacts of our activities as early as possible
  • Meet the stakeholders who could be affected by our activities
  • Reduce any negative impacts as much as possible and emphasize our projects’ positive spinoffs

Gaz Métro undertakes major projects in the territory it serves and within many communities. These projects come with risks and benefits. For us, seeking out social acceptability starts with frank and open communication on all aspects of our projects; these discussions must be part of a process adapted to each project, in order to address each community’s specific questions.

In 2015, construction project analysis criteria were improved. Potential social and environmental impacts are assessed in more detail, and the analysis by each interested party is easier and more in-depth as a result. Potential impacts are therefore better anticipated, and more relevant information is given to the stakeholders.

During fiscal 2015, approximately 30 projects were followed more closely because of the potential impacts that had been identified.

Social acceptability is a central component of Gaz Métro's philosophy. It is also a growing concern in Quebec society. In fact, in 2015, Quebec's Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles held consultations, in which Gaz Métro participated, specifically to define the notion of social acceptability in connection with the use and development of public land and energy and mineral resources. The analysis report stemming from these consultations was filed on October 27, 2015, and will inform the thinking of businesses, public decision-makers and stakeholders.
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Ready for Next?

Today, we are placing an emphasis on transparency as we present our process and achievements in relation to several issues that Gaz Métro and its stakeholders view as priorities. We have made a commitment to pursuing our improvement efforts with respect to these issues.

As an engaged corporate citizen in favour of change and a better future, Gaz Métro has taken part in many public discussions and consultations, in particular regarding Quebec’s new energy policy. Gaz Métro is also a member of the SWITCH alliance. This group shows just how far the discussion on sustainable development has come, bringing together organizations whose missions are varied and were perhaps even opposed just a few years ago—industrial enterprises, environmental groups, employer associations and investors are just some of the members of this multiparty alliance, which seeks to accelerate Quebec’s transition to a greener economy.

Gaz Métro wants to experience sustainable development in all its complexity, without, however, forgetting to look out its own windows. The community we want to support is all around us, in the Centre-Sud and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhoods that house our company's headquarters. Gaz Métro invests significantly in this community, through projects fostering student retention like Ruelle de l’avenir, and encourages social and community involvement among its employees.

Gaz Métro values consistency, from its thoughts to its actions, from its guiding principles to its day-to-day activities. Because shouldn't we all aspire to making sustainable development a way of life that no longer required conscious effort? We’re not there yet, but with this second Sustainability Report, we are humbly trying to get ready for what's next.
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