In the Spotlight: Heather Davidson

Jul 7, 2014

Heather is working at FCBA in Paris, France.

The topic of your research project is “GHG emissions accounting and reduction in the forest products sector”. You’ve been working on it for some months now – how is your work progressing? What do you plan to do over the next 6 months?

The forest products’ sector is large and diverse. FCBA, where I am based, is plugged in to the French industry and has expertise in data modeling and life cycle assessment (LCA). Using their industry connections and trove of data, I am focusing on glulam (laminated glued wood used in construction and furniture), which is a prominent product in the French SME sector.  GHG emissions accounting is conventionally accomplished by conducting a LCA. However, it is considered an expensive and time consuming process, making it prohibitive for SMEs to accomplish.  The aim of my project is to allow SMEs a viable opportunity to obtain information about waste and efficiency of a product.

Over the next few months, I will develop a simplified parametric model that can identify the main contributors to greenhouse gasses and other midpoint impact indicators. The idea is to obtain an environmental impact assessment for SMEs that can be used in place of conducting a full LCA. If SMEs can obtain useful information without the time and expense, then they will be more likely to benefit from this type of environmental assessment.

Eventually, I would like to focus more on the business side of the equation, using a similar parametric model that could aid companies in balancing economical with environmental criteria.

Why did this exact topic interest you?

I have a diverse background that includes research on environmental impact assessment and small-medium enterprise ownership. Obviously, these experiences lead to accomplishing a great project that brings the two themes together.

What would you like to do after the CASTLE project has finished?

After the CASTLE project is finished, I would like to continue with exploration at the intersection of environmental health and business. There are so many questions still unanswered where a multidisciplinary approach is absolutely necessary.

What are your thoughts on the CASTLE project so far, and the training courses in particular?

The CASTLE project is a one-of-a-kind project in Europe, and is a much-needed addition to the European commitment of international cooperation and effective research.  By bringing diverse institutes together to accomplish a shared goal, the approach to research has both bredth and depth.

The training courses are excellent opportunities to interact with the leading practitioners in the field, as well as network with my amazing CASTLE colleagues. We each bring diverse perspectives to the table, but are all working toward a common goal.