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Planning for a Sustainable Future:
A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada
Sustainable Development Office
Theme IV. Shrinking the environmental footprint – beginning with government
The first Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) enabled the Government of Canada to make important strides in reducing the environmental footprint of federal government operations. It laid the groundwork to reduce environmental impacts in key operational areas such as real property management, fleet, procurement and general office operations. These actions have set a foundation upon which greening of government operations can advance.
Why it matters
The federal government has an extensive operational presence with more than 28,000 buildingsFootnote6 owned or leased, more than 16,000 on-road vehicles, and upwards of 200,000 employees. The federal government also procures significant levels of goods and services annually. These operations, while modest on an economy-wide scale, result in the consumption of natural resources, the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and the generation of waste. The federal government is conscious that Canadians expect their government to manage its operations in an environmentally responsible manner.
Sound stewardship of government assets is supported by greening of government operations. Our efforts in this area will lead to better use of resources, reduce the Government of Canada's environmental impacts and provide better value for money for Canadians. The greening of operations also aligns with the Government's priority to streamline activities by leveraging efficiency opportunities.
Best practices in greening operations
Governments in other jurisdictions, including the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia have also established a greening agenda. The majority of Canadian provinces and territories also have well-developed approaches to reducing their environmental footprint. Common trends and best practices show the adoption of government-wide goals and related targets are predominantly focused in these four key areas:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Reducing waste generated;
- Improving water efficiency; and
- Greening the supply chain (i.e. asset and materiel management).
Integrating sustainability initiatives within existing and planned initiatives, policies, and programs ensures that environmental implications are considered in day-to-day operations and decision making. For the Government of Canada, aligning greening initiatives with departmental operations is consistent with the government's priority to create efficiencies and potential cost savings, and embeds sustainability within government operations.
What the federal government is doing
Figure 13 - Theme IV: Shrinking the environmental footprint - beginning with government
This figure shows the structure of Theme 4, which includes three goals and six targets. Goal 6 (Greenhouse gas emissions and energy) is supported by Target 6.1, Greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Goal 7 (Waste and asset management) is supported by four targets: Target 7.1, Real property and environmental performance; Target 7.2, Green procurement; Target 7.3, Sustainable workplace operations; and Target 7.4, Greening services to clients. Goal 8 (Water management) is supported by Target 8.1, Water management.
Aligning with international best practices, the previous Theme IV goal "Minimizing the environmental footprint of government operations" has been separated into three goals: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy, Asset and waste management, and Water management.
This revised goal structure is intended to provide a more comprehensive view of the Government of Canada's environmental footprint and the actions being taken to minimize it. The new structure will also help to prioritize efforts in areas of greatest opportunity including improving our asset management, generating less waste, reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions, and managing water sustainably.
Lessons learned during the implementation of the first FSDS contributed to developing the updated targets under each goal. The updated FSDS intends to optimize the way in which departments conduct their operations, to minimize the Government of Canada's environmental footprint in the short, medium and long term.
Goal 6: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy
Reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of federal operations.
- Government-wide GHG emission reductions from buildings and fleets relative to fiscal year 2005–2006, expressed as a percentage
Figure 14 - Goal 6: Greenhouse gas emissions and energy
This figure shows Goal 6 (Greenhouse gas emissions and energy) in the context of Theme 4. Goal 6 is supported by one target: Target 6.1, Greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Reducing absolute GHG emissions generated by federal facilities and fleets remains the core focus of this goal. The government has in place a GHG tracking protocol based on internationally accepted principles, a solid reporting framework and departmental GHG reduction plans. This strengthened capacity will help the government implement the target under this goal in this FSDS.
To achieve this goal, the Government of Canada will:
- Continue to take action to reduce levels of GHG emissions from its operations to match the national target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
Target 6.1: GHG emissions reduction
The Government of Canada will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings and fleets by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
- Departmental GHG emission reductions from buildings and fleets relative to fiscal year 2005–2006, expressed as a percentage
- 6.1.1. Each department will report annually on GHG emissions inventories using the Federal Greenhouse Gas Tracking Protocol – a Common Standard for Federal Operations and submit results to PWGSC.
- 6.1.2. By March 31, 2015, each department will update its implementation plan to reduce GHG emission levels in absolute terms from 2005 levels and put them on a clear downward trend. Elements of the plan will address:
- 188.8.131.52. Scope of departmental GHG inventory including exclusions to be applied;
- 184.108.40.206. Approach to GHG emissions reduction being taken for buildings and/or fleets.
Goal 7: Waste and asset management
Reduce waste generated and minimize the environmental impacts of assets throughout their life-cycle.
- Number of real property projects and existing buildings achieving a high level of environmental performance (cumulative since the 2011–2012 Departmental Performance Reports)
- Number and percentage of FSDS departments that have established three SMART green procurement targets from the identified commodity categories
- Number and percentage of FSDS departments that have developed an approach to maintain and improve the sustainability of workplace policies and practices
Figure 15 - Goal 7: Waste and asset management
This figure shows Goal 7 (Waste and asset management) in the context of Theme 4. Goal 7 is supported by four targets: Target 7.1, Real property and environmental performance; Target 7.2, Green procurement; Target 7.3, Sustainable workplace operations; and Target 7.4, Greening services to clients.
Two core elements are encompassed in this goal: managing federal assets using a life-cycle approach, and environmentally sound waste management. A life-cycle asset management approach incorporating the planning, acquisition, use and maintenance, and disposal phases aims to minimize environmental impacts of operations. Ensuring environmentally sound waste management focuses on reducing the quantities of waste generated and on increasing waste diversion through reuse and recycling options. A broad range of government operations are included such as the management of buildings, fleet, office furniture and equipment, and other goods required to provide services to Canadians.
To achieve this goal, the Government of Canada will:
- Achieve an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance in real property projects and operations.
- Continue to embed environmental considerations into public procurement.
- Adopt policies and practices to improve the sustainability of its workplace operations.
- Reduce the environmental impact of services to clients.
Target 7.1: Real property environmental performance
As of April 1, 2014, and pursuant to departmental Real Property Sustainability Frameworks, an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance will be achieved in Government of Canada real property projects and operations.
- Total number of existing Crown-owned buildings (over 1,000 m2) and new lease or lease renewal projects (over 1,000 m2), where the Crown is the major lessee, assessed for environmental performance using an industry-recognized assessment tool, and associated floor space (m2)
- Total number of existing Crown-owned buildings, new construction, build-to-lease projects, major renovation projects, achieving an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance, and associated floor space (m2)
- Number of fit-up and refit projects achieving an industry-recognized level of high environmental performance
- 7.1.1. By March 31, 2015, each department will update as appropriate, their Real Property Sustainability Framework to define the custodian's approach to managing the environmental performance of new construction, build-to-lease projects, major renovations, operation and maintenance of existing Crown-owned buildings, and new lease or lease renewal projects over 1,000 m2. Key elements of the Real Property Sustainability Framework will address the scope of application and commitments to:Footnote7
- 220.127.116.11. Achieve a level of performance that meets or exceeds the custodian's current commitment(s) to sustainable buildings using industry-recognized assessment and verification tool(s).
- 18.104.22.168. Conduct life-cycle assessments for major construction and renovation projects using an industry-recognized tool.
- 22.214.171.124. Develop plans to address environmental performance assessment recommendations for existing Crown-owned buildings.
- 126.96.36.199. Manage the collection, diversion and disposal of workplace waste in Crown-owned buildings in an environmentally responsible manner.
- 188.8.131.52. Manage construction, renovation and demolition waste in Crown-owned buildings in an environmentally responsible manner.
- 184.108.40.206. Develop an approach to improve performance of Crown-owned buildings via automation and commissioning.
- 220.127.116.11. Develop an approach to building operator training in Crown-owned buildings.
- 18.104.22.168. Integrate the use of sustainable real property performance management indicators into the investment decision-making process for Crown-owned assets in the building portfolio (e.g., density, energy intensity, facility condition, etc.).
- 22.214.171.124. Benchmark and report annually on the energy usage intensity of Crown-owned office buildings using an industry-recognized tool.
- 7.1.2. Real property managers and functional heads responsible for new construction, leases or existing building operations will have clauses related to environmental considerations incorporated into their performance evaluations.
Target 7.2: Green procurement
As of April 1, 2014, the Government of Canada will continue to take action to embed environmental considerations into public procurement, in accordance with the federal Policy on Green Procurement.
- Number and percentage of specialists in procurement and/or materiel management who have completed the Canada School of Public Service Green Procurement course or equivalent, in the given fiscal year
- Number and percentage of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel whose performance evaluation includes support and contribution towards green procurement, in the given fiscal year
- 7.2.1. As of April 1, 2014, each department will implement a green procurement approach that furthers the implementation of the Policy on Green Procurement. Each department will develop an approach to:
- 126.96.36.199. Integrate environmental considerations into procurement management processes and controls.
- 188.8.131.52. Train procurement and materiel management functional specialists on green procurement.
- 184.108.40.206. Include the contribution and support of the Policy on Green Procurement objectives in performance evaluations of managers and functional heads of procurement and materiel.
- 220.127.116.11. Set a minimum of three SMART targets to reduce the environmental impact of purchases (from a suite of predefined choices in identified categories of goods and services).
- 18.104.22.168. Leverage common use procurement instruments where available and feasible.
- 7.2.2. Incorporate environmental considerations into procurement instruments. (PWGSC)
- 7.2.3. Train acquisition cardholders on green procurement.
- 7.2.4. Increase awareness of the Policy on Green Procurement among managers.
Target 7.3: Sustainable workplace operations
As of April 1, 2015, the Government of Canada will update and adopt policies and practices to improve the sustainability of its workplace operations.
- Existence of departmental approach to maintain or improve the sustainability of workplace policies and practices
- 7.3.1. By March 31, 2015, each department will develop an approach to maintain or improve the sustainability of the departmental workplace. Key elements of the approach will address the scope of application and commitments to:Footnote8
- 22.214.171.124. Engage employees in greening government operations practices.
- 126.96.36.199. Integrate environmental considerations into corporate policies, processes and practices in accordance with departmental refresh cycles.
- 188.8.131.52. Maintain or improve existing approaches to sustainable workplace practices (i.e., printer ratios, paper usage, and green meetings).
- 184.108.40.206. Minimize the ratio of information technology (IT) assets per employee.
- 220.127.116.11. Select and operate IT and office equipment in a manner that reduces energy consumption and material usage.
- 18.104.22.168. Dispose of e-waste in an environmentally sound and secure manner.
- 22.214.171.124. Reuse or recycle workplace materiel and assets in an environmentally sound and secure manner.
- 126.96.36.199. Minimize all non-hazardous solid waste generated and leverage service offerings to maximize the diversion of waste.
- 188.8.131.52. Increase the population density in office buildings and space utilization in special purpose buildings.
- 184.108.40.206. Maintain or improve sustainable fleet management.
Target 7.4 (Optional): Greening services to clients
By March 31, 2015, departments will establish SMART targets to reduce the environmental impact of their services to clients.
- To be identified by each department
- 7.4.1. Conduct an analysis of client services and implement practices to reduce their environmental impact.
Goal 8: Water management
Improve water management in federal operations.
- Number and percentage of custodial departments that have included an approach to improve water management in their departmental Real Property Sustainability Framework
Figure 16 - Goal 8: Water management
This figure shows Goal 8 (Water management) in the context of Theme 4. Goal 8 is supported by one target: Target 8.1, Water management.
This goal focuses on sustainable water management within federal operations and represents the government's operational contribution to global priorities of water quality and availability. Custodial departments are required to outline their approaches to implementing water conservation and management measures, and are encouraged to take steps to improve data availability related to potable water consumption.
To achieve this goal, the Government of Canada will:
- Improve water management within its real property portfolio.
Target 8.1: Water management
As of April 1, 2014, the Government of Canada will take further action to improve water management within its real property portfolio.
- Existence of an approach to improving water management in departmental Real Property Sustainability Framework
- Amount and percentage of floor space of new Crown-owned construction and major renovation projects that includes water metering, in the given fiscal year
- 8.1.1. By March 31, 2015, each department will update, as appropriate, the Real Property Sustainability Framework to define the custodian's approach to sustainable water management in Crown-owned assets. Key elements of the approach will address the scope of application and commitments to:Footnote9
- 220.127.116.11. Conserve potable water.
- 18.104.22.168. Manage storm water run-off.
- 22.214.171.124. Improve the metering of water utility usage for existing Crown-owned buildings.
- 126.96.36.199. Meter the water usage in new projects.
- 8.1.2. Conduct potable water audits in Crown-owned assets.
- 8.1.3. Analyze the water consumption data collected to determine steps to improve water management in Crown-owned assets.
- 8.1.4. Reclaimed non-potable water is used for landscape irrigation.
- Footnote 6
These buildings vary widely in size and purpose – from laboratories, sheds, lighthouses and hangars to office buildings and military bases.
- Footnote 7
Departments are able to state which elements will be addressed using their Real Property Sustainability Framework (RPSF). This would include details on the assessment tools chosen (e.g., LEED, BOMA, etc.), including the performance level to be achieved, and the actions proposed in the areas selected. Similarly, the departmental RPSF will include thresholds that define the scope of application, such as building type, project dollar value, floor area, geographic location and the availability of resources.
- Footnote 8
Departments are able to state which elements will be addressed using the strategy and comments section of the Greening Government Operations (GGO) table within the departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP). This would include details on the actions planned in the areas selected. Similarly, the departmental RPP will include thresholds that define the scope of application such as: scope of control, availability of supporting programs, geographic location and the availability of resources.
- Footnote 9
Departments are able to state which elements will be addressed using their Real Property Sustainability Framework (RPSF). This would include details on the actions planned in the areas selected. Similarly, the departmental RPSF will include thresholds that define the scope of application such as scope of control, availability of supporting programs, geographic location, building type, project dollar value, geographic location and the availability of resources.
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