Even as talk of tariffs and trade wars continued to swirl across the U.S.-Canada border last week, Armstrong Fluid Technology leadership politely shrugged off the baffling controversy to host a lively Global Energy Summit, June 18-20, for some 400-plus partners and customers in its hometown of Toronto. And the fluid systems specialist was determined to keep its focus on the larger theme of the event: The Sustainability Imperative.
Toward that end, Armstrong CEO Lex van der Weerd announced his firm's new "2-in-22" campaign, an ambitious initiative to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2 million tons by the year 2022. Concurrently, he also issued a challenge to industry participants to set similarly aggressive targets for the same four-year time frame.
“Organizations globally are being driven to achieve a zero-footprint future." he said. "We believe this can best be achieved through key stakeholders focusing on solutions and timelines that will make zero-footprint a near-term reality. We are both inviting and challenging all organizations to join us in pursuing this goal.”
The company says that reducing GHG emissions among its installed customer base by "2-in-22" is equivalent to taking 600,000 cars off the road, or offsetting the average annual CO2 emissions generated by 100,000 people. The firm already has launched a global validation effort across a wide range of customer types and applications, overseen by French testing giant Bureau Veritas.
Armstrong is also significantly expanding its team of energy-savings specialists that will work with existing customers to "measure, manage and enhance" current operations. "We are bringing on new staff to help our customers with the process of reviewing installed systems and, as necessary, upgrading them to our latest, most efficient solution," explained Steven Lane, Armstrong's Communications Manager. In fact, the site of the conference, itself, the Delta Hotel Toronto, set an example by swapping out its own relatively new Armstrong pumps just before the event, Lane noted.
“While aggressive, we believe this goal is absolutely achievable,” van der Weerd emphasized. “We have spent the last several years developing technology solutions that conserve energy and water, improve system efficiencies, and deliver strong and often immediate economic returns both on installed cost and operating cost that provide significant reductions in GHG emissions.”
Again and again, panelists and attendees discussed the growing mix of sustainability and profitability, which not long ago were dismissed as mutually exclusive. But now, the emphasis is on "eco-nomics", said Chairman Charles Armstrong, who is credited with first steering the 84-year-old company down the greener path in 2007-08. Since then, the 1,000-person manufacturer has stuck to that mission in all its markets around the world, both in lean times and market booms. "We really have a legacy in the industry to uphold now," claimed Lane.
Technology, meanwhile, is making all of these goals easier to monitor, measure, maintain, and monetize. And Big Data is helping building owners to become smarter and energy managers to become more persuasive in selling private investors on the bottom-line benefits of sustainability. In that sense, education on the issue is really the key. "The future is already here; it's just not evenly distributed," said Geoff Cape, CEO of Evergreen, a Toronto-based nonprofit dedicated to helping Canada's cities to reimagine themselves.