National Capital Region is Choosing their Future

www.flickr.com TNS is supporting the City of Ottawa and its partners, la Ville de Gatineau and the National Capital Commission, in the development of the region’s long-term sustainability plan, in a project called “Choosing our Future.”  “Choosing our Future” has been under development since 2004 and was launched internally among the three lead partners in 2008 and publicly in May 2009. It will ultimately produce three main deliverables: a sustainability plan, community energy plan, and emergency and disaster response plan for the region. The intention is that, together, these plans will serve as the umbrella under which all relevant plans and policies for each of the three institutions will be aligned to when Choosing our Future is complete. It is an ambitious, complex project, and one that we are very proud and excited to be involved with. The Natural Step is one contributing partner, and our role focuses primarily on capacity-building for the three municipal partners to help them work with a common understanding of sustainability, work together as a team, and use a structured approach to planning in complexity. We have delivered several capacity-building workshops, participated in a design charette and have helped the City of Ottawa map out its process and determine its requirements for additional support. We have also helped facilitate the development of the project’s guiding principles and long-term sustainability goals. The lead consulting team for the main deliverables was selected in June 2009 – HB Lanarc from Vancouver.  Getting the consulting team in place is a most significant milestone for the project, and the majority of the work on the project, including the engagement...

GONGOS: Greening Ottawa NGO’s

On June 18th, 2009 participants from 25 Ottawa-based NGOs attended the second workshop of GONGOS: Greening Ottawa NGOs.  This workshop focused on developing a sustainability vision and conducting a baseline sustainability assessment for their organizations.  The 2009 cohort of organizations includes the Canadian Red Cross Society, the United Way, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Ottawa Folk Festival, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, and Independent Living Canada.  This gathering of diverse NGOs in one place provided participants with the unique opportunity for both enhanced networking and partnership building and collaborative learning. Bill Rostek, Procurement Director for Canadian Red Cross Society shared that the Red Cross “values the interaction with the other not-for-profit organizations that are participating”. TNS Advisor Chad Park said this sentiment has been communicated to him by many of the participants and believes that this contributed to the incredible energy that was felt in the room during the workshops: “Many participants have told us that this is the first time they have been in the same room with such a wide variety of NGOs, sharing experiences and insights together.” Diane Champagne, Executive Assistant to the National Director for Independent Living Canada acknowledged that “after each [workshop] I walk away with better ideas on how to improve the greening activities in our office.” Furthermore she states that her organization has “incorporated the sustainability concepts and greening ideas learned from the program and hope to set a precedent for all 27 Independent Living Centres throughout the Country”. With financial support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and in partnership with Ottawa’s EnviroCentre, TNS helped launch this two-year initiative in early 2009. The...

Edmonton Airports Authority Adopts Sustainability

  www.flickr.com Edmonton Airports Authority recently adopted “Sustainability” as one of its core values and the organization is committed to translating this into on-the-ground actions and results.  To support this commitment, Edmonton Airports has begun working with The Natural Step to develop its sustainability vision and build a roadmap that outlines the journey ahead. The first steps in the collaboration with TNS include internal capacity building around sustainability and an organizational sustainability review.  Some of the steps include interviews with senior managers, a survey distributed to all staff, a look at key sustainability trends for the industry and a scan of best practices. This information will be used to inform work with organizational leaders, outlining their vision for a sustainable airport authority and will inform actions in integrating sustainability across the organization. We will continue to report progress on this project as it unfolds and look forward to sharing some of the exciting developments. >Visit our blog for...

Town of Caledon, Ontario striving toward sustainability

The Town of Caledon, Ontario is truly a leader in sustainability. In 2003, the town was a co-recipient of the “the Greenest Town in Ontario” award for their progressive movement, and extensive list of initiative taken toward sustainability. These initiatives include: excellent countryside planning, the Healthy Horticultural Landscapes Bylaw, strong community involvement, membership in the Partners for Climate Protection Program and extensive waste diversion programs. In 2004, an Environmental Progress Officer (EPO) was appointed and in 2005 an Environmental Progress Action Plan was prepared.  Caledon’s 2009 Environmental Action Report  attests to the impressive progress being made in the seven priority areas contained within the 2005 plan. Over  the past year, Caledon has been reviewing its Official Plan for conformity with a range of provincial policy directives, including the Provincial Policy Statement  , the Greenbelt Plan  , the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Bill 51 (the Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act) . Continuing the sustainability momentum  Caledon, engaged The Natural Step to prepare a discussion paper reviewing Caledon’s Official Plan relative to the following sustainability aspects contained within these provincial policy directives: Alternative and Renewable Energy Systems; Air Quality; Climate Change; Conservation of Water; Adaptive Environmental Management; Sustainability Indicators and Monitoring; and Sustainable Development Patterns and Urban Design. Mike Purcell, a TNS advisor working with the Town of Caledon felt that “this was an interesting project for TNS as it provided an opportunity to use the framework as a lens to highlight how provincial policy is supporting a transition towards sustainability.” He shared that “this is an application of TNS Framework that has never...

Building Toward Sustainability, Literally

The Landmark Group of Builders is a residential construction company further comprised of seven individual companies with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary. In the fall of 2008, in collaboration with The Natural Step, Landmark embarked on a journey to identify their key sustainability challenges, key innovation goals to overcome those challenges, and to develop a road map for embedding sustainability into their business. TNS advisor Sarah Brooks commends Landmark for “taking a long term perspective in their strategic planning for sustainability.” She points out that by “benchmarking progress from full sustainability rather than compliance regulations, [The Landmark Group] are taking an approach that is rigorous enough to answer the question “how will we know when we’ve arrived there [at sustainability]?”” To date, TNS has been involved in facilitating the Awareness, Baseline, and Visioning phases of TNS ABCD process. This has been accomplished through a series of workshops and webinars held with various members of senior management and members of Landmark’s Green Team. With support from TNS advisors, Landmark Group of Builders has prepared a baseline analysis of their company.  This baseline analysis, along with a governance report drafted by TNS representatives, provided a means for the critical review of the company’s business practices which is integral for strategic planning.  In preparation for sustainable action, a draft of a sustainability vision has been created by the company’s internal “Green Team”. This partnership with TNS is only one of many initiatives making Landmark a strong corporate leader in Alberta. Dave Nasseri, the director and coordinator of the “Landmark Sustainability Initiative”, along with a group of dedicated visionaries, have a...