For Alain Lemaire, Co-founder of Cascades, 2013 has without a doubt been a highly emotional year. Most significantly, he handed over the reins to Mario Plourde, who assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer on May 9. After 10 years at the head of the company, having followed in the footsteps of his brothers Bernard and Laurent, Alain decided it was time to make room for the younger generation, while continuing to serve as Executive Chairman of the Board. This year has also been particularly charged with emotion because of the numerous awards and honours bestowed on this Québec pioneer of sustainable development.
Canada’s Greenest Chief Executive
On June 6, 2013, Alain was named Greenest CEO in Canada by Corporate Knights, an organization specialized in the promotion of good corporate practices in terms of social responsibility. This prestigious award, given for the first time, was presented at the Corporate Knight’s 12th annual gala. The gala also announced and paid tribute to Canada’s 50 best corporate citizens.
The jury unanimously chose Alain as winner of the award! The jury was made up of leaders from Canada’s five most recognized environmental organizations: Équiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, World Wildlife Fund-Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Pembina Institute. According to Toby Heaps, President of Corporate Knights, “the jury recognized in Alain Lemaire a man who has a number of environmental achievements to his credit. Among these, are the ongoing concern to prioritize recycled fibres over virgin wood fibres as a raw material; the development of strategic partnerships to offer Cascades’ expertise, namely in energy efficiency and in the management of waste materials; and the continued willingness to improve the company’s results with regard to water and energy consumption.”
Québec’s Green CEO Award
The mission of the Green CEO awards is to shine a spotlight on the initiative and exemplary contribution of business leaders in promoting sustainable development in their business practices. The judges also confer a Green CEO Hommage award on a well-known leader for lifetime achievement. Since the brothers work closely together, the judges named all three as recipients of the award this year!
It is interesting to note that Alain also won the Green CEO Hommage award in 2012, for his contribution to the business community and for his environmental values.
A “Phares” award for social responsibility
Under Alain’s leadership, Cascades won the “Phares” award as part of a contest organized by the magazine Les Affaires and Korn/Ferry International. The contest honours sound governance in regard to social responsibility.
For the past 11 years, the event has honoured companies and boards of directors who stand apart for ethical practices and excellence in corporate governance. This year, the judges decided to look at corporate governance specifically in regard to social responsibility. Cascades beat out the competition, capturing first prize in the “Corporate” category.
Prix d’excellence pâtes et papiers
Recently, the Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) conferred the “prix d’excellence pâtes et papiers” on Alain for his contribution to the Québec forest industry, specifically within the pulp and paper industry.
These numerous distinctions point to a general consensus: Alain Lemaire is recognized by industry members, the business community and environmental organizations, and it is quite safe to say that he is truly “green by nature!”
These well-deserved honours are the pride and joy of all Cascaders.