Municipalities can manage their operations to achieve their sustainability objectives. This includes creating the right organizational structure and administrative policies needed to facilitate implementation. The ultimate goal is to make sustainability a part of everyday life, much like health and safety is in many organizations. This requires a proactive, systematic approach that touches on all aspects of organizational management and culture. The guide summarizes the leading practice for Manage as: Embed sustainability into corporate processes, policies and management systems.
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 .
Sustainability Job Descriptions
Numerous municipalities have hired full or part-time sustainability coordinators or managers to lead implementation activities. The Town of Bridgewater's (NS) Sustainability Planner (13 kB) job description is one example.
Building a Culture of Sustainability
A number of excellent guides outline tools and practices for building a municipal culture of sustainability:
- Embedding Sustainability into the Culture of Municipal Government: A resource for municipal change agents is a joint publication of The Natural Step Canada, the Network for Business Sustainability and the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. It provides practical guidance and Canadian examples for municipal staff to support a culture of sustainability in their organizations.
- Best Practices Scan of Sustainability Decision Making and Planning for the Municipal Sector is a publication of The Natural Step Canada that outlines top tips and leading practices.
- The Sustainability Champion’s Guidebook by Bob Willard is a practical, easy-to-follow guidebook that helps sustainability champions at any level in an organization lead a transformation to a smarter, more successful, and more sustainable enterprise. It outlines the transformational steps to take, tips and techniques to use, and “derailers” to avoid. For more information see www.sustainabilityadvantage.com.
Integrated Design and Decision-Making
Adopting integrated design and decision-making processes, tools and ways of thinking are key to long-term success. Resources include:
- BC Green Building Roundtable commissioned a detailed guide on integrated design titled, The Roadmap to the Integrated Design Process (3.5 MB). While focused on building and infrastructure decisions, it provides a process and set of tools that can be applied in multiple decision-making contexts. The guide and other resources can be found on the Cascadia Green Building Council website.
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a brief Integrated Design Process Guide (348 kB).
- The National Charrette Institute (NCI) in the United States is a non-profit educational institution that builds community capacity for using holistic, collaborative “charrette” planning processes for planning. They provide guides, tools and training.
Integrated Management Systems
Many municipalities are working to integrate their financial, environmental and health and safety management systems into a single sustainability management system. Examples of current efforts include:
- The balanced scorecard is a performance measurement framework that adds strategic non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more 'balanced' view of organizational performance. Though more commonly used for internal ‘corporate’ reporting, they can be adapted to address the full range of ICSP issues. The City of Nanaimo (BC) is working to align all of its plans through a balanced scorecard approach. Information is presented online using a simple graphic interface.
- The City of Calgary (AB) has implemented an environmental management system that is registered with ISO 14001 and integrated with health and safety management and reporting. A single annual report is produced that addresses both areas along with other State of the Environment resources.