Thompson Rivers University

TELUS sponsors carbon accounting program at TRU

  Posted on: November 26, 2020

Business students

Researchers to help companies reduce their carbon footprint

A new research opportunity will benefit both grad students and local organizations. TELUS is sponsoring a program at TRU that will pair graduate research fellows with businesses or non-profits that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Community Carbon Accounting Program (C2AP) is an initiative in partnership with the Interior University Research Coalition (IURC) that will connect businesses primarily with graduate students pursuing their Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management (MScEEM).

TELUS Sustainability Research Fellows will produce recommendations to help partnering organizations work toward carbon neutrality. Economics professor Laura Lamb said grad students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-life setting, in essence playing the role of a consultant. Graduate research fellows will measure the carbon footprint, make recommendations for reductions and energy savings, look at potential abatement levels, assess the cost of different technologies, and more.

“When I first heard about this project, what got me really excited was that it’s very much an applied project. It’s a great opportunity for students,” Lamb said.

TELUS is sponsoring the first year of the program, which will welcome its first cohort of research fellows in 2021.

“At TELUS, we are committed to driving positive social outcomes and helping to ensure stronger and healthier communities, while caring for our environment,” said Geoff Pegg, director, TELUS Sustainability and Environment. “We are excited to support the innovative Community Carbon Accounting Program with TRU. Not only will it support students with their education, but will also allow them to connect to their local businesses to encourage positive environmental impacts.”

Given the challenges of climate change, private sector companies and public organizations have committed to going carbon neutral. TRU aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, in part through its campus electrification strategy to avoid the burning of fossil fuels. Lamb said the recent federal commitment to reduce emissions is expected to put greater pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprint. There is evidence that both for-profit companies and non-profits are making larger attempts to do so, Lamb said.  

“We developed the MScEEM program because the field of sustainability is growing at the local, national and global level,” said Mike Henry, dean of the School of Business and Economics. “Graduate students need experiential opportunities like this to be leaders in management and environmental economics. The fellows’ research will have a direct impact on business sustainability in the Interior.”

The program is modelled after a similar initiative between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. TRU, UNBC and the University of British Columbia-Okanagan form the IURC.

“This is a great example of the strength of our collaboration across the IURC—sharing innovative programming and engaging in our business communities’ efforts to address climate change, while also providing real-world opportunities for our students to develop valuable skills for careers in sustainability,” said Janice Larson, director of the Tri-University Partnership Office. “Many thanks to TELUS for supporting this good work.”

Companies interested in a carbon assessment can contact Professor Laura Lamb at llamb@tru.ca or 250-852-6277.

Backgrounder

Created by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBC-O) in 2017, the Interior University Research Coalition forms a core of research and innovation talent and infrastructure in the BC Interior. The goal of the IURC is to accelerate the BC Interior’s research and innovation ecosystem by harmonizing resources, enhancing student and faculty mobility, increasing academic opportunities, and establishing community connections.