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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2009
Achieving Results

NRCan's Sustainable Development Strategy: Mapping a sustainable future

NRCan was the first federal department to enshrine sustainable development in its mandate and legislation, and was one of the first departments to have an environmental policy to guide its internal operations and procurement. Critical departmental documents promoting sustainable development, such as the National Forest Strategy and the Minerals and Metals Policy of the Government of Canada, pre-date the preparation of departmental sustainable development strategies. Given the Department’s mandate, it can be said that everything that NRCan does contributes to sustainable development in some way.

NRCan’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) is a key tool for addressing the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities related to sustainable development through the Department’s policies, programs, science and technology, legislation, regulation and operations. It is informed by a process of stakeholder engagement undertaken with interested groups and individuals from across the country.

The SDS is intended to serve as a challenge piece for the Department, given the nature of sustainable development as a process of change. It serves as a companion document to policies and strategies within NRCan’s operational sectors, such as the National Forest Strategy and sector business plans. It provides a three-year planning horizon that incorporates a longer-term vision for the development and use of natural resources.

A carbon-neutral SDS

As part of NRCan’s commitment to sustainable development, the Department obtained renewable energy certificates to offset emissions resulting from the SDS consultation process.

The SDS articulates an organizational commitment to sustainable development, focusing on key intermediate outcomes that are considered to be the most significant and essential to the natural resource sectors for the three-year period.

The three-year cycle of sustainable development strategies enables ongoing review and monitoring—it is a cycle of continuous improvement. As NRCan has progressed through this exercise, many important lessons have been learned, each enabling the Department to re-evaluate the role and fit of the strategy as a tool to promote change towards sustainable development. Throughout its evolution, the SDS has played an important role in this regard. Appendix 2 provides additional information.

Government-wide coordination on SD Strategies

For this fourth round of sustainable development strategies, Environment Canada led the interdepartmental community in the development of common sustainable development goals. These goals have been outlined in the guidance document, "Coordinating the Fourth Round of Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies," and are intended to build coherence on federal issues across departmental sustainable development strategies.

The Government of Canada sustainable development goals focus on both environmental quality (Clean Air, Clean Water, and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions) and sustainable development management (Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development and Use of Natural Resources, and Governance for Sustainable Development).

The three priority areas (Building Energy, Vehicle Fleet and Green Procurement) outlined in the guidance document for the operational component of the strategies, "Greening Government Operations – Guidance for Organizations Developing Sustainable Development Strategies (2007-2009)," have been captured within the broader Government of Canada sustainable development goals. The operational guidance also points to a number of other areas of opportunity.

In Section II of this document, commitments that contribute to the federal goals outlined in the main guidance document, or that relate to the broader thrust of the operational guidance, have been identified by way of a column marked "FG".

What you will find in this document: the SDS action plan

As the Department’s action plan for sustainable development, this document responds to the issues raised in stakeholder consultations, and sets out a series of time-bound, measurable actions to address them. The issue scan on the following pages provides an update of relevant sustainable development issues for the natural resource sectors. Section II of this document then sets out three long-term goals in response to these issues, the associated long-term objectives, intermediate outcomes and the targets that will be undertaken over the lifespan of this SDS. Section III describes our approach to performance measurement and also defines terminology used in the document. The appendices provide additional information on the departmental mandate and organization, the evolution of NRCan’s SDS, and the stakeholder engagement process.


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