Managing sustainable development in the federal government

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In order to support the Federal Sustainable Development Act, Environment Canada created the Sustainable Development Office, which is responsible for putting in place the systems and procedures to monitor progress on implementing the FSDS. A Management Framework, adopted in June 2011, outlines roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of all the participating departments, committees and stakeholders; clear expectations for outputs and outcomes; indicators to measure performance; and, strategies for communication, risk management and reporting. The Management Framework will be reviewed with every new cycle of the FSDS to ensure that it continues to be a tool that helps manage the implementation of the FSDS.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The FSDS underscores the role of corporations in adopting sustainability as part of successful business strategy. Implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices helps companies improve their economic, environmental and social performance, benefiting those corporations in many ways, including lowering production and operating costs, stimulating innovation, and expanding market opportunities.

The government promotes CSR in many ways. These range from developing and disseminating information and management tools to help business integrate CSR practices, to working with business networks and associations that advance CSR. Examples are:

  • CSR Toolkits and a Small and Medium Enterprises Sustainability Road Map;
  • Promoting internationally recognized voluntary CSR performance and reporting standards and practices (e.g., the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Global Reporting Initiative);
  • The Network for Business Sustainability; and,
  • The Industry Association Sustainability Council.

Federal initiatives also include:

  • The continued implementation of the Government's CSR policy, entitled Building the Canadian Advantage: A CSR Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector;
  • The creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development to provide research, training and technical assistance;
  • The Responsible Resource Development plan to streamline the review process for major economic projects while protecting the environment and enhancing consultations with Aboriginal peoples; and,
  • The Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development to forge partnerships so that Aboriginal communities can benefit from economic opportunities.

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