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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2009
Goal 3: To integrate economic, environmental and social considerations into departmental decision-making and to continuously improve operations
As a federal government organization, NRCan has a responsibility to provide Canadians with a department that is efficiently and effectively managed in all respects. As a champion of the sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources, the Department must demonstrate its commitment to the principles of sustainable development in its own operations.
Critical to building a ‘culture of sustainability’ is the enhancement of capacity to incorporate sustainable development into departmental decision-making. This will be achieved through training of management and staff, as well as through opportunities to promote sustainable development through informal engagement and awareness activities.
Implementing sustainable development principles in how we manage our operations is also key. These efforts fall within the context of the Greening Government Operations (GGO) initiative led by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). This initiative focusses on three priority areas—Energy/ Buildings, Vehicle Fleet and Green Procurement—while promoting progress in others such as contaminated sites management, land use and facilities management, regulatory compliance, and green stewardship.
NRCan plays a lead role in the Energy/Buildings and Vehicle Fleet areas. NRCan also plays a key policy and implementation role in the third GGO priority area, Green Procurement, as one of the three co-sponsoring departments (with Public Works and Government Services Canada and Environment Canada) of the new Policy on Green Procurement, effective April 1, 2006. NRCan has provided expertise in the development of tools and workshops for implementation, the updating of training materials, and continues to provide expertise for the commodity management work led by PWGSC.
A primary focus for the Department continues to be the implementation of its comprehensive environmental management system (EMS). NRCan’s EMS facilitates management of the Department’s assets responsibly while minimizing environmental impacts and facilitates monitoring of our progress. The aspects managed by way of the EMS are: chemical and toxics management; land use management; atmospheric emissions; resource use; environmental emergency preparedness and response. The three GGO priorities are captured within NRCan’s resource use aspect. Detailed action planing and performance target-setting comprise part of the management of each EMS aspect. The operational targets within this SDS reflect the GGO priority areas as well as highlight new initiatives.
Over the past decade, NRCan has undertaken a significant program of energy use improvements in most major facilities across Canada under the mandate of the Federal Buildings Initiative program. As a result, operating efficiency at a portfolio level is very good considering the existing age, condition and intensive use of the portfolio by science programs. However, the bulk of the Department’s real property assets are poor candidates for additional energy technology-based investments. It has been determined that building replacement strategies are significantly more effective over the long term in addressing the Government’s commitment to the environment than further investments in long payback improvements. NRCan is currently working with PWGSC to build a business case to central agencies for the replacement of a number its aging assets in the Booth Street Complex. Until such time as aging assets can be replaced and/or significantly renovated, the GHG reduction target for facilities (detailed under Objective 3.2) will be achieved through: a continued commitment to green purchasing when undertaking cyclical investment in facilities; the implementation, where the investment horizon of an asset permits, of recommendations outlined in building audits to be conducted; and the implementation of green stewardship-type activities.