Promoting EV Sales: Cascades, Leading by Example

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Paper product giant Cascades took advantage of the electric vehicle show that took place in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, the Salon du véhicule électrique de Saint- Hyacinthe, last November to announce the launch of a new employee EV incentive program.

Cascades employees purchasing a new EV in 2018 will receive a $2,000 cash rebate, while those opting for a pre-owned EV will receive a minimum of $500. These amounts are in addition to the Quebec Government program as incentives to encourage the purchase of greener vehicles.

The Quebec Government program offers $8,000 to purchasers of new EVs as well as the newly launched pilot program that distributes a $4,000 “thank you” to drivers purchasing pre-owned EVs that have never been registered in the province of Quebec. The Ontario government incentive rebate program includes a maximum of $14,000 towards the purchase of a new EV, which is the equivalent of an entry-level gasoline-powered subcompact.

Suggestion box

The person behind the innovative idea of encouraging the efforts of employees wishing to jump on the green bandwagon is Jean-Christophe Arsenault, who works in Cascades’ IT Department. “A majority of Cascades employees are concerned about environmental issues,” he explains. In fact, he conducted a survey of fellow employees that showed that 63 percent of his colleagues were planning to purchase an electric vehicle in the short term.

After the initial 12-month pilot program, Cascades will review the results, as they plan to roll out the program to the 11,000 employees working in the remaining North American production facilities.

Kingsey Falls: empowered

As a means of increasing their contribution towards the reduction of greenhouse gases, Cascades also announced the installation of twenty-two 240-volt charging stations and an additional 480-volt quick-charge station at its Kingsey Falls, Quebec headquarters. The small town, located 40 km from Drummondville, boasts a modest 2,000 souls. While Cascades employees and Kingsey Falls residents will have equal access to the regular and quick-charge stations, charging fees will be lifted for all Cascades employees. This is a first for a privately owned charging service, as the going rates that apply for these services are somewhere in the $10 to $15 range.

Green pioneer

Cascades is a pioneer in the field of sustainable development. Since 2011, the company, which produces and distributes a wide range of paper products and packaging, represents the pinnacle of Quebec-based “sustainable consumption brands” according to sustainable consumption research group l’Observatoire de la consommation, which, once again, rewarded Cascades’ efforts last Fall. Cascades President and CEO Mario Plourde points out that Cascades products are manufactured from 84 percent recycled raw materials while consuming 6.7 times less water and 2.7 times less energy than the Canadian industry averages. In addition, between 1990 and 2015, Cascades has managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent.

Cascades vehicle fleet management practices have already imposed limitations on vehicle engine size, so it’s safe to assume that they will encourage the purchase of EVs going forward. “Sustainable development and environmental protection can be two sides of the same coin,” estimates Plourde. “We are out to prove that sustainability and profitability can be achieved simultaneously, as too often I am asked about the price tag associated with such initiatives, while the real question we should be asking ourselves is how much it costs to stand by and do nothing,” which is why he actively encourages other Quebec-based companies to join them.

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