Today we had the pleasure of listening to Jorge Marques, Manager of DSM Strategies at BC Hydro, speak about sustainability and innovation. With over 20 years of experience in the energy and sustainability industry, Jorge has many ideas of how process can help invoke sustainability into every day transactions. While traditional DSM (demand side measure) programs work towards energy savings, Jorge is working toward a goal of total market transformation. He not only wants companies and citizens to use less energy, but wants them to do so in a smart and efficient way. “Treat the market as a system and apply leverage to transform market activities,” Jorge explained to us.
An example of how market transformation can occur, is to work with governments to change policies. This could be making sure that new buildings are built up to a certain standard of efficiency. An example of this is LEED certified buildings. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was formed in 2000. The goal of this initiative is to use an eco-friendly design and to meet the needs of the environment. This goal may be achieved through recycling, reducing or eliminating waste, using green building material, low or no emission of toxic fumes. The LEED exam must be passed for buildings to attain accreditation.
BC Hydro finds ways to be energy efficient
Jorge really focuses on the process when implementing new projects. He believes that this more so comes from his engineering background rather than his MBA business side. Jorge explains that you need to get the whole system in the room. This may mean really understanding the root of the problem and figuring out sustainable solutions and then attaining buy-in from shareholders by taking into account the diversity of all needs. Jorge emphasizes that innovation needs a smooth hand off process from R&D to marketing using an integrated approach. Strategic approach to innovation is different from opportunistic approach to innovation. In a strategic approach, more money spent and more projects completed. This leads to results and things getting done, rather than just good ideas coming forth.
BC Hydro improves sustainability of its supply chain
To wrap things up, Jorge says that uncertainty grows with time. He uses the metaphor of a car driving on a dark highway, only being able to see as far as its headlights will shine, to show us how much we need to know about the future. Speaking from experience, Jorge says that short-term activities and goals should be carefully planned and executed, while long term goals can be a little more fuzzy- because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Technology can change, new innovations can come about, or economic crises can happen. He leaves up with this: Innovation can mitigate risks, avoid lost opportunities, and prepare us for the future, but only if it is applied well.
How much would you work for your ride?