Sustainable development is everyone’s business.


On the occasion of Earth Day, we had the pleasure of speaking with Marc Ouimet, Assistant Vice-President in charge of asset management, operations and sustainable development at Le Groupe Maurice. He agreed to share with us the company’s vision and projects aimed at promoting a more environmentally friendly world.

 Marc, what is Le Groupe Maurice’s stance on environmental sustainability?

We’ve integrated the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) philosophy into the company for a few years now. Interestingly, we had already incorporated several practices in this regard without even realizing it, such as sourcing food locally. Our responsible and sustainable contribution is not just an objective; it’s a long-term commitment. We’re currently documenting these notable practices not only to highlight them but also to build upon these foundations.

Creating awareness about the impacts of climate change is imperative across all sectors, and it’s crucial to adjust our habits to synchronize with environmental priorities. We are actively pursuing the adoption of the 3RV concept: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Valorize. There’s a substantial need for public awareness-building, and I believe Le Groupe Maurice can play a leadership role in this realm, particularly within Private Seniors’ Residences (PSR).

Why is sustainable development so important to Le Groupe Maurice?

Preserving our ecosystem is a global concern, no doubt about it! For us, it’s about both safeguarding the integrity of our environment, and also meeting the increasing expectations of residents and employees to that extent.

The concept of sustainable development is a relatively new one in the PSR sector, yet incredibly essential… both socially and in terms of real estate. Residences designed with eco-friendly features exhibit significant longevity. When the environmental aspect of a building is taken into account, it also addresses other essential aspects such as services, customer experience, employment, and finances. This ultimately ensures that residents’ well-being is maximized, fulfilling Le Groupe Maurice’s mission. It’s a win-win for everyone!

What actions is the company taking to reduce its environmental impact?

We have several exciting projects going on this year. First and foremost, we plan to replace the roof of Le Cavalier residence to improve its efficiency and insulation, using more advanced materials.

Then, we’re planning to replace the gas heating equipment with heat pumps at La Croisée de L’Est to reduce our energy consumption. Unlike gas heating, which has an energy efficiency ratio of 80%, the heat pump boasts an efficiency ratio of 300%, enabling us to optimize our consumption while slashing our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)! Right now, it’s a pilot project. If the outcomes are promising, we’ll roll out the initiative to other residences.

Today, 23 of our residences are equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. This year, we plan to add 7 more complexes to this list and increase the number of charging stations in the already equipped residences.

When it comes to waste management, I’m happy to report that the majority of our residents recycle. On average, a Le Groupe Maurice complex produces nearly 300 kg of waste per resident annually. Of this amount, 47% is recyclable and we manage to reclaim 50% of this amount – meaning half of this waste doesn’t end up in landfills. It might not be immediately apparent, but it’s indeed excellent news.

Currently, Vast and 45Nord residences are sorting organic materials. In compliance with regulations, 9 more complexes will join the initiative this year: Ambiance, Elogia, L’Image d’Outremont, Les Jardins Millen, Le Savignon, Le 22, Station Est, ORA and Cornelius. Our long-term goal is, of course, to extend this practice to all Le Groupe Maurice residences.

Do municipal environmental regulations influence your initiatives?

Absolutely. We’re subject to municipal policies on various fronts. Let’s take waste collection, for example. If a borough doesn’t collect organic materials or glass, their treatment isn’t optimized. If a resident is keen on composting and recycling effectively, adequate facilities are essential. Therefore, we must adopt eco-friendly practices in municipalities where it’s feasible to implement them.

We’re heading in the right direction, as legislation encourages the adoption of eco-responsible initiatives. In addition to current government incentives for transitioning to electric vehicles and various waste collection programs, our strategy at Le Groupe Maurice goes even further. Whenever possible, we strategically locate residences near restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies to enhance convenience while reducing reliance on cars. This approach was already integrated into our business model, and now, with municipal support, we can accelerate the adoption of sustainable eco-energy practices.

How does the company manage its consumption of natural resources like water, energy, and raw materials?

This year, we’ve decided to measure our energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation to establish our starting point. We previously conducted a study, and this will supplement those findings, guiding us in the construction of our new residences.

We’ve also begun installing water meters and conducting annual checks on refrigerant gases in air conditioning systems. What’s more, our out-of-service refrigerators aren’t sent to landfills; instead, they’re collected for disassembly and recycling. Did you know that the environmental footprint of refrigerant gas is 1,000 to 11,000 times greater than that of CO2? That’s huge!

Finally, we rely on an expert contractor to recycle our computer equipment, preventing heavy metals from ending up in landfills, which can severely pollute soil and groundwater.

What challenges are there when implementing environmental initiatives within the company?

In all sustainable development initiatives, it’s crucial to strike the right balance. For instance, if we want to introduce organic waste sorting, several factors need to be addressed: the placement of brown bins, the use of paper bags, the installation of refrigeration systems to prevent odours, maintenance and so forth.

Perception can also pose a challenge. Some people may believe that their actions don’t have a significant impact on a global scale. At Le Groupe Maurice, we believe in the ripple effect of our initiatives – which influence our province, our city, our homes, our children, and our neighbours. This is why we’re dedicated to doing our part and raising awareness among residents and employees alike: every action counts, no matter how small.

It’s crucial to take things one step at a time in terms of what we can accomplish, considering the costs associated with implementing these initiatives, which can be significant.

Conversely, what factors facilitate the implementation of eco-friendly initiatives?

I’d say the positive reception from residents and employees is a great motivator. Effective communication facilitates change management; once you try it, you’ll embrace it! This spurs us on to implement increasingly more environmental initiatives.

And as I mentioned earlier, there’s legislation. Did you know that by 2035, every vehicle sold in Canada will have to be electric? It may seem coercive, but this approach will encourage responsible habits.

Gradually, investors are also incorporating ESG criteria into their business models. To secure financing or receive a discount on interest rates, companies, and property owners must comply with eco-friendly practices. This approach allows us to invest more in sustainable development and continue our growth plan in this regard.

Does Le Groupe Maurice plan to obtain certifications for its initiatives?

Certifications serve as valuable benchmarks for ensuring that established criteria are met, providing reassurance to the public. For example, Caléo is a LEED® Silver certified residence, while Cibèle is on its way to achieving certification.

LEED® certification highlights energy performance, environmental impact and building sustainability, whereas WELL™ certification specifically focuses on enhancing the health and well-being of occupants through design. In my opinion, it’s an intriguing certification to explore because it aligns perfectly with our mission, which prioritizes people-centric actions.

Finally, what are the next steps moving forward?

This year, we’re in a phase of structuring to integrate sustainable development principles on a larger scale. As mentioned earlier, we already have several projects underway in residences, as well as at corporate headquarters.

Today, it’s no longer just ideas, but concrete actions on the ground that will mobilize all of Le Groupe Maurice – that’s over 2,000 employees and more than 13,500 residents. Our approach includes raising awareness, participating in collective reflection, and committing to a more environmentally responsible future. Of course, this is just the beginning, but we’re committed to success and have the momentum to go further together.

Thank you so much for this interview, Marc. But above all, for your commitment to spearheading initiatives aimed at protecting our beautiful planet, which greatly needs it!

 In celebration of Earth Day, Le Groupe Maurice arranged various activities, including waste collection drives at our residences and headquarters. We also hosted a conference on embracing eco-friendly living, presented by the Earth Day organization. By inspiring more and more people to embrace a greener future, we can truly make a difference.

 Our initiatives certainly don’t end on April 22nd – they’re geared towards the long term! We have no intention of stopping anytime soon and anticipate that many other companies will join us in the near future.

sustainable development

sustainable development