ARCHIVED - Sustainable Development

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Sustainable Development Strategy
Moving Forward

Issues

Demonstrating leadership and commitment to sustainable development

As a federal department involved in both targeted and multi-stakeholder consultations on sustainable development and related issues, the Department fields many enquiries about the state of sustainable development at Natural Resources Canada. Representatives of the Department are often asked about what NRCan is doing to implement and maintain sustainable development in its operations. This is a fair question. To inspire Canadians to work towards sustainable development, the federal government must demonstrate leadership and commitment in its own operations.

To promote sustainable development effectively, government must be able to demonstrate that its own house is in order.

NRCan has a mandate to promote the sustainable development and responsible use of our nation’s natural resources. In addition, the Department is advancing a vision in which Canada’s natural resource sectors and allied industries are world-leading models of sustainable development. In order to effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities and successfully promote its vision for the future, the Department must be able to lead with authority and credibility. For these reasons, internalizing the principles of sustainable development at NRCan is a departmental priority.

There is a need to improve the information that can demonstrate progress on sustainable development objectives.

Stakeholder consultations have consistently pointed out that industries, non-government organizations and the Canadian public would all like to see government commitments to sustainable development backed up by firm figures that demonstrate progress towards well-defined, measurable targets. This does not apply solely to government operations, but it does apply here specifically in the context of demonstrating the federal government’s commitment to sustainable development.

NRCan is the co-champion of Sustainable Federal House in Order, an initiative designed to identify and coordinate opportunities to integrate the principles of sustainable development into the day-to-day activities of the federal government, in keeping with the Government of Canada’s commitment to demonstrate leadership on sustainable development. An important part of this work is further refining performance measurement and endeavouring to achieve more comprehensive reporting on operational performance, which will enhance government transparency and accountability, while demonstrating leadership on sustainable development.

Within its own house, NRCan is working to achieve its goals by integrating economic, environmental and social-growth opportunities into day-to-day practices. The term ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) is being used by a growing number of private- and public-sector organizations to describe an organization’s overall commitment to meeting stakeholder expectations on economic, environmental, social and governance performance. Moving beyond environmental performance, CSR is generally understood to be the way an organization achieves a balance or integration of economic, environmental, and social objectives. By endeavouring to continuously improve the implementation of sustainable development principles within its operations and integrate the tenets of corporate social responsibility throughout the organization, NRCan is striving to become a model department, leading the way within the federal government.

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