Innovation that Moves the World
Olivier Marcil, Vice President, External Relations, Bombardier Inc.
With the rising impact of climate change, the need for eco-efficient solutions has never been stronger. In the transportation sector especially, creating innovative and sustainable mobility solutions has become a business and societal imperative – customers expect it and the health of our planet requires it.
Innovation is at the core to this global shift.
For Bombardier, innovation has never been an option. We were born of innovation. Our founder Joseph Armand Bombardier was an inventive and entrepreneurial mechanic who dreamt of revolutionizing travel in rural communities during the winter months. Bombardier’s first invention, the snowmobile, did just that.
For the past 75 years, our spirit of innovation has helped us to evolve from a small garage to a world-leading manufacturer of both planes and trains. Today, with approximately 7,000 aircraft in service and over 500 million passengers transported on Bombardier rail vehicles per day, this spirit of innovation continues to motivate us to develop eco-friendly solutions that transform the way millions of people travel every day.
With the historic United Nations Paris Climate Agreement starting to be implemented, we anticipate even greater global demand for sustainable mobility options. We see this as an opportunity for the industry at large.
Providing Sustainable Mobility Solutions
So, in a world of carbon-conscious travel, how has Bombardier channeled this innovation to tackle undeniable climate change?
In our pursuit of innovation, we never compromise on sustainability.
Given our history, resources and global reach, we believe that we have an essential role to play in the evolution of sustainable mobility to achieve better, healthier and more prosperous future for everyone, everywhere. We namely do this through our product portfolio.
“In our pursuit of innovation, we never compromise on sustainability”
Every new Bombardier product goes through our product innovation lifecycle, which ensures that at every stage our products meet and exceed customer expectations and are the most sustainable, high-performing solutions. And, through this approach, we lead the way in new rail and aerospace solutions aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the transport sector.
Core to our product innovation lifecycle is EcoDesign – a process that takes into considerations critical environmental impacts from design to end-of-life. Our EcoDesign approach consists of the following elements:
- – Applying a lifecycle perspective: examining environmental impacts at the production, use, maintenance, repair and disposal stages
- – Maximizing recyclability and recoverability: using materials featuring high recyclability and a high recycled material content, as well as marking components that need special end-of-life treatment
- – Managing and eliminating hazardous substances: screening out the presence of hazardous substances as well as related toxic emissions
- – Investing in technologies: improving energy efficiency and reducing air emissions, resource consumption and waste
- – Working hands-on with suppliers: ensuring our suppliers comply with our environmental, social and quality standards and, through our Supplier Code of Conduct, uphold the UN Global Compact’s environmental requirements
Approximately 80 per cent of the environmental impact of both rail vehicles and aircraft is determined at the design stage, so our EcoDesign approach is a keystone of our product development. It allows us to consistently create efficient products with the lowest noise pollution and fewest greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in reduced impacts on the environment.
An Unwavering Commitment to Innovation
Our approach has led to countless innovations over time and has helped us to create cutting-edge products, such as the MOVIA Maxx metro platform and the C Series family of aircraft.
Rail accounts for one of the lowest environmental impact, as little as 3.3 per cent of transport related CO2 emissions. Several key indicators including population growth, increasing urbanization and heightened environmental awareness are expected to continue to drive demand for efficient rail solutions over the next several years. For rail transportation – the most energy-efficient transportation option for cities looking to reduce their CO2 emissions – Bombardier’s products define the category.
The MOVIA Maxx metro was especially conceived to provide an eco-efficient and cost-effective solution to fast-growing cities worldwide. More than half of the world’s population already lives in urban areas and almost 180,000 people move to cities each day. This rapid urbanization, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa, is driving the demand for high capacity, efficient and affordable urban mobility solutions.
Metro systems are key drivers of economic growth – providing social mobility and improving quality of life for citizens. Our extensive research and development for the MOVIA Maxx metro has ensured that this new product platform both delivered to operators’ requirements and provided the right solution to help cities grow sustainably.Air transport is also an essential component to the world’s prosperity, social progress and economic growth. With more than 3.5 billion passengers transported by air in 2015, this sector is expected to grow steadily in the future. Aviation accounts for approximately 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity and the aviation industry has been proactive in finding the right balance between growing its reach and lowering its climate impact.
“Approximately 80 per cent of the environmental impact of both rail vehicles and aircraft is determined at the design stage”
In 2008, the aviation industry presented the first global sector framework for climate action, supported by ambitious goals. Last September, a key milestone of this framework was reached. After years of asking governments to put in place the world’s first carbon offsetting scheme for a global sector, a historic climate agreement was concluded at the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada—the world’s third aerospace capital. This accomplishment was applauded by the aviation industry.
As an original equipment manufacturer, Bombardier has been actively contributing to the industry’s global climate plan by investing in advanced materials, technologies and innovations to create products that will help operators significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. Our clean-sheet C Series aircraft responds directly to this challenge. The C Series aircraft is a game-changer from nose to tail and raises the standard for environmental performance for the whole industry. Bombardier designed the C Series family of aircraft to deliver unparalleled economic and environmental advantages to operators and to open new opportunities for single-aisle aircraft operations. Both C Series aircraft models are now successfully in operation and are performing as promised.
In 2016, as a result of a full lifecycle assessment, our CS100 aircraft received the very first Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in the aerospace industry. This achievement reaffirms our commitment to provide factual and transparent environmental performance information to our stakeholders and solidifies our leadership in this field.
For nearly two decades, we have been proactively communicating the environmental benefits of our rail products to current and potential customers through our EPDs, which provide a standardized way of measuring and comparing the environmental impact of each of our products against others. Since publishing our first EPD for the Stockholm metro more than 15 years ago, we have published 16 EPDs for our rail products, the most recent of which was published in 2015 for AZUR, the new metro vehicles in Montréal, Canada.
By producing EPDs, now both for our rail and aviation products, we are better meeting customers’ current and future expectations for environmental transparency, and invite other members of our industry to adopt a similar approach.
Innovation is also about carving a new path for others to follow. It is with unwavering ingenuity and our ability to overcome obstacles that Bombardier has built a 75-year track record of delivering game-changing products that shape the aerospace and transportation industries.
While our product innovation lifecycle has proven successful, we continuously look for ways to improve and adapt to a changing industry and evolving customer demands. To this end, we are further integrating our EcoDesign approach into product development, with a goal to achieve 100 per cent recoverability of all new products by 2025, and issuing EPDs for all new products by 2020.
As the global community continues to seek new ways to address climate change, we are committed to manufacturing products with best-in-class performance, while prioritizing sustainability every step of the way. We believe this commitment is fundamental to Bombardier’s growth and success, and, most of all, to the future of our planet.
About the author
Olivier Marcil is Vice President, External Relations for Bombardier Inc. He joined the company in 2016 and is responsible for external communications activities, with a specific focus on media relations, as well as community and stakeholder engagement. Mr Marcil also oversees Bombardier’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility activities and annual reporting. With 73 production and engineering sites in 29 countries, Bombardier is the world’s leading manufacturer of planes and trains. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the company posted revenues of US$16.3 billion.