Since his appointment as Head of Carbon & Climate in September 2022, David Levrat has been working on Tractebel’s science-based emissions reduction targets as well as on the neutralization of our residual emissions. Next, he will further develop our capability to assess the carbon footprint and climate resilience of our products – all while maintaining his current position of Business Developer for Water – Europe & Africa.
David joined Tractebel in France 16 years ago as Hydropower Design Engineer. He has held various roles since then, including Project Manager and Resident Engineer in Africa, as well as Branch Manager and ENGIE Country Representative in Myanmar, where he chaired the European Chamber of Commerce. He is currently based in Lyon, France.
David talks about his new role and its implications for Tractebel and the fight against climate change:
David, describe your new role as Head of Carbon & Climate.
The role is to set up and support the implementation of a consistent Carbon & Climate roadmap, with ambitions around four main pillars:
- Lead by example: to reduce Tractebel’s carbon emissions in line with COP21 recommendations, and to neutralize our residual emissions year-over-year.
- Decarbonization of clients: to reduce the carbon footprint of our projects, which is the best mitigation leverage we have as an engineering company.
- Resilience of clients: in the face of the unfortunate reality of climate change, mitigating emissions is not sufficient. We will adapt our projects to strengthen our clients’ climate resilience.
- Support: this pillar includes accuracy and transparency in communications, anticipating clients’ needs and benchmarking competitors to continuously feed our decarbonization roadmap.
Why does this role appeal to you, and how does it align with your educational and professional background?
After nearly 15 years at Tractebel, I took a year off to go back to school: in September 2020, I graduated with an Advanced Master’s Degree at the French National Meteorological School, with a master’s thesis on carbon footprint. I actually did so in view of working to decarbonize Tractebel.
David Levrat, Tractebel’s Head of Carbon & Climate
In 2021, Tractebel announced its goal to contribute to global carbon neutrality by reducing our carbon emissions by 20% by 2022 and compensating for residual emissions. Are we on track?
We recently completed our carbon assessment, and we are glad to confirm our emissions in 2022 were reduced by more than 20% as compared to the pre-Covid 2019 baseline.
We also pledged to neutralize our remaining emissions by purchasing high-quality, certified carbon offsets from projects that contribute directly to global decarbonization. These projects have to demonstrate that they contribute directly to global decarbonization, and they will typically be certified with “gold standard” or other best practice certificates. Best practices can often relate to forest plantation or electrification (avoiding the use or burning of the surrounding biomass). Some solar and wind projects already meet these standards, but we did not recommend those in Tractebel’s neutralization portfolio, as they generally do not need financial incentive to be implemented.
Our Carbon & Climate team identified and made recommendations for projects to finance, and we have now finalized and approved the neutralization budget.
As planned, we are well on our way to contributing to global carbon neutrality, by both reducing our carbon footprint as per COP21 recommendations and by fully neutralizing our residual emissions.
What measures were taken to achieve the emissions reductions target in 2022?
Our company-wide lowered emissions rate is thanks to the implementation of several actions by Tractebel entities across the globe. These include lower-carbon intensity of travel and commuting, adoption of hybrid working with subsequent office space optimization, as well as better energy efficiency of our premises.
How will we develop our capability to assess the carbon footprint and climate resilience of our services?
We have already conducted carbon footprint assessments of several projects, especially within our Infrastructures and Energy activities. Of course we need to go further, and it should be common practice to assess the carbon footprint of all significant projects. Still, we are already going beyond client requests in some cases. For example, we just released a specific tool - possibly a first of its kind, globally - which fully assesses the carbon emissions of hydropower schemes.
We’re also currently performing carbon footprint assessments of major urban infrastructures, such as the Grand Paris subway lines, using specific life cycle assessment (LCA) software. Regarding resilience, Tractebel now has a dominant position in the hydropower market: to further develop these capabilities, we are currently considering the best way to apply these technologies to all our activities.
How will your role help drive Tractebel towards its strategic goals?
I anticipate that our Carbon & Climate capabilities will not only support our engineering activities through added value and differentiation, but they will soon become a prerequisite. That’s currently the case for a large portion of the UK & US engineering markets. These capabilities will also contribute to attracting young talents who are challenging organizations on carbon and climate topics. They are our company’s future!