Smart Energy Voices - Episode 3

Smart Energy Voices - Episode 3

Multiple Approaches To Address The Climate Challenge with James Goudreau

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Multinational corporations have the opportunity to play a unique role in the energy transition. Health care company, Novartis is taking that opportunity seriously, moving the needle significantly when it comes to the company’s own carbon footprint and power usage as well as creating opportunities that smaller organizations may be able to utilize to move their power purchases toward renewable energy faster.

James Goudreau is “Head of Climate” for Novartis and our guest on this episode. His experience in the U.S. Navy, serving as a logistics and procurement specialist enabled him to not only understand the inner workings of a large organization’s procurement operations, it also introduced him to the necessary considerations large organizations need to make regarding climate issues. Listen to hear how Novartis is making a difference in the global renewable energy transition.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • How Jim’s Navy career led him into climate-related issues and planning [05:01]
  • The internal corporate process of procuring power from a wind farm in Texas [11:15]
  • Novartis’ physical properties being considered for future energy conversion projects [15:42]
  • How and why Jim desires to work himself out of a job [17:33]

The wide-ranging approach Novartis has taken to climate change issues

When Novartis created the position “Head of Climate” and tapped James to take on the role, the company took their work in carbon emissions reductions and climate mitigation and paired it with climate adaptation. The focus is multi-faceted, creating a portfolio through efficiency, adopting renewables as rapidly as possible, creating a credible and transparent program of offsets, and combining that with adaptation to understand the risks, opportunities, and responsibilities associated with climate.

Some of the questions Jim began asking were…

  • What are we doing with emissions that impacts our clients?
  • What is happening to impact patient populations (since Novartis is a healthcare company)?
  • What’s our responsibility to understand how a changing climate impacts communities, the people we serve, our associates, and our supply chain?

As you can see, there are many interdependent things to consider if the right issues are to be addressed in the right ways. Jim's experience in the Navy set him up for addressing those issues perfectly.

Navy logistics experience that translates into a business energy transition

In his role with the U.S. Navy, Jim was intimately involved with logistics questions that informed how the Navy operated in various theaters around the globe. Climate issues were among those he regularly had to consider. He explains that climate issues greatly impact issues of national and global security so the U.S. military is keenly interested for those reasons.

Examples: The increasing recurrence and severity of storms impact many things we tend to take for granted such as sewage, water, food distribution, transportation, logistics, economics, and the social fabric of a community. These issues create or promote either stability or instability. When climate issues cause those areas to fall apart you start to see risks to the individuals increase through viruses, climate-related migrations of populations, destabilization of economies, and more.

This experience enables Jim to translate those same concerns into a business context. He says it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the rapidly accelerating rate of change due to climate issues and seriously consider the impact it has on such interdependent systems. It impacts how companies support operations and supply chains, as well as those connected with organizations. There is far too much involved to do this subject justice in a small write-up like this, so be sure you listen to hear Jim describe the issues.

James Goudreau wants to work himself out of a job as “Head of Climate”

While the title of “Head of Climate” at Novartis can sound like a career track with plenty of future job security, Jim doesn’t see it that way. He’s eager to work himself out of a job. How is that? He believes that when his role is fulfilled correctly, he’ll be able to help the company reach a place where it is investing in energy efficiency, shifting rapidly to renewables, developing credible offsets, and understanding and managing risks in aways that incorporate all the elements of climate risk and environmental sustainability into how the company designs and delivers products routinely. When that happens, the company won’t need a “Head of Climate” role because everyone will be doing their job, executing on a daily basis, and together will be running a profitable, sustainable business that consumers have confidence in — because it is a values-driven organization.

That’s an admirable goal and embodies the spirit of the many professionals like Jim who are committed to making the renewable energy transition a reality. Listen to hear more of Jim’s amazing perspective and how he’s helping Novartis accelerate the change.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with James Goudreau

James Goudreau, Head of Climate, Novartis Business Services, crafts strategy and policy for Novartis to increase climate resilience, reduce GHG emissions, and increase energy resilience across their global operations. These efforts include managing a diverse portfolio of efforts in technology, partnerships, renewables procurement, and climate risk assessments designed to achieve efficiency, resilience, and greater shareholder value. James also serves on the Carbon Removals Technical Working Group for the revision oftheGreenhouse Gas Protocols. Prior to joining Novartis, he culminated a military career as a U.S. Navy Captain working on energy and climate security issues in the Pentagon. As the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy) he focused on increasing operational capabilities and climate resilience globally for the U.S. Navy and U.S. MarineCorps

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