On Sustainability’s Leading Edge: Dean Luciuk, Vice-President, Business Development
In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed, amidst a growing sense of urgency about the need for global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
A few months later, Dean Luciuk joined TransAlta, after graduating with a Masters degree in Energy Policy and Systems Modeling from Simon Fraser University.
The timing couldn’t have been better.
Dean soon began applying his skills to help develop one of TransAlta’s first GHG offset programs – an effort that was recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as leading edge in the sustainability arena at that time. His key responsibility was to develop an understanding of the emissions trading markets and to identify GHG emissions reduction opportunities for our company.
The next sustainability challenge Dean took on was focused on TransAlta’s Centralia operations, working on emissions trading and the sulfur dioxide (SO2) allowances for the coal-fired facility, a position he described as “a fascinating job in the emerging financial market of emissions trading.” This challenge led him into the growing world of electricity trading and away from the company for a few years. He returned to TransAlta in 2006, where he has since focused on energy marketing and business development.
While sustainable development thinking and practices have evolved since the late 1990s, Dean believes one of the critical advantages that positioned TransAlta at the forefront of the movement was the leadership of then President and CEO Ken McCready.
Luciuk says, “Ken was an early adopter who saw how critical the social license component of sustainability was to how we grow infrastructure projects.”
He elaborates, “It’s all about how you choose to do business. Is a company just working to take money out of a community or is it working to make those communities better? TransAlta has consistently taken a broader, more inclusive view about generating wealth.”
Ken McCready was also known for his views on building sustainable development expertise inside an organization at a grassroots, operational level.
A telling example of how this has taken root at TransAlta is how carbon is viewed. Luciuk says, “When I think back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, carbon was viewed as a major uncertainty and a very big risk. Today, carbon costs are built into all of our project modeling and everyone involved in project development is extremely fluent about carbon. That’s how much sustainability has become part of our everyday business.”
Dean Luciuk, Vice-President, Business Development
- 2013 Report on Sustainability