Act looks at what local governments actually do and deliver. It includes programs (such as fire, police, social services), regulatory requirements (e.g. zoning, guidelines, standards, permitting processes, other bylaws), financial tools (e.g. taxes, fees, pricing), public works (e.g. buildings, parks, roads, fleet, other infrastructure, major projects) and utility services (e.g. water, sewers, solid waste, energy). The guide summarizes the leading practice for Act as: Use programs, services, regulations and advocacy to achieve sustainability goals.

Below are links to the tools, case studies and examples mentioned in the guide. UNSM's Municipal Sustainability Office invites municipalities wishing to share their own resources and tools on this page to submit them by email to .

Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments (fourth edition) by Mark Roseland

This book provides a comprehensive overview of community sustainability issues and solutions. It includes compelling new case studies and expanded treatment of sustainability in rural and urban settings, which are complemented by contributions from a range of experts around the world. Toward Sustainable Communities demonstrates how "community capital" can be leveraged to meet the needs of cities and towns for energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, water, sewage, transportation, housing, climate change and air quality, and land-use and urban planning.

Development Sustainability Checklists

A number of municipalities have developed sustainability or green building checklists that developers have to complete as part of the building permitting process. The Fraser Basin Council's Smart Planning for Communities project hosts an extensive list of examples on its website. Notable examples include:

Sustainable Procurement

Procurement is one of a municipality’s strongest leverage points for sustainability. Three key resources for sustainable procurement are:

  • The BuySmart Network is a key source of information and education on sustainable purchasing administered by the Fraser Basin Council in BC. It has an extensive resource library and examples of successful private and public sector initiatives.
  • The Municipal Collaboration on Sustainable Purchasing was initiated to leverage the collective experience of municipalities to advance their sustainable purchasing initiatives through sharing ethical and sustainable purchasing resources. As of 2012, there were fourteen Canadian municipalities in the project: Edmonton, Grand Prairie, Guelph, Halifax Regional Municipality, London, Olds, Ottawa, Saanich, Saskatoon, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse, and Wood Buffalo. Sharing resources and best practices allows participants to fast track their individual municipal programs. This collaborative produced the State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada (740.97 kB).
  • Metro Vancouver's Sustainable Supply Logistics Guide (5.9 MB) can help businesses work with their clients and suppliers to avoid waste, make better use of resources, and improve financial, environmental and social performance.

Sustainable Communities Awards and Database

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) maintains a number of resources and case studies on sustainability action, including:

  • The FCM Green Municipal Fund database provides a variety of case studies on various municipal infrastructure projects.