Case Studies

Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI)

Fourteen organizations across Atlantic Canada have come together to embed sustainability in the region with the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI). These partners, ranging from the major Atlantic telecom provider, a large municipal government to a local coffee shop have all taken on the challenge of modeling strategic sustainability using The Natural Step Framework. Each partner attended three intense workshops, created a sustainability plan and is showing tangible actions toward sustainability. Further, each partner has received one-on-one coaching from The Natural Step and is building their own ability to teach others about sustainability. ACSI is coordinated on the ground by the Centre for Rural Sustainability.

Antigonish Sustainable Development

The town and county of Antigonish are located in the province of Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast. The county has a population of about 22,000 people, with just over 4000 of them living in the Town of Antigonish itself. As home to St. Francis Xavier University and the longest-running Highland Games festival in North America, Antigonish already has an international reputation. But if area residents have their way, Antigonish could soon be known for a lot more than excellence in education and bag piping.


Alcoa is one of the world’s largest producers of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities. In 2006, The Natural Step Canada partnered with Alcoa Canada to create a customized version of Sustainability 101 for employees in several Québec production plants. Since then, using a combination of our award-winning eLearning course and in-person workshops, Alcoa Canada has worked towards meeting its goal of instilling a shared definition of sustainability and a common language for sustainability planning among its staff.

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association: Guidebook on Municipal Sustainability Planning

Recognizing the growing need for guidance on sustainability planning among their members, many of which face significant growth challenges, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) hired The Natural Step Canada to help develop programs for municipal sustainability planning. A major piece of this program was developing a guidebook on municipal sustainability planning (MSP) and supporting the AUMA in piloting it in five municipalities (Olds, Chauvin, Pincher Creek, Thorhild, and Claresholm).

The AUMA MSP guidebook is a step-by-step guide for municipalities on how to create an integrated municipal sustainability plan.  It’s designed to help municipal staff integrate sustainability into their decision-making in a strategic way.  Based on The Natural Step Framework, it can be used by other communities across Canada with different, sizes, budgets and challenges.

Halifax Regional Municipality

Halifax, Atlantic Canada’s biggest city, has a burgeoning tourist economy, a number of universities, and many small town charms such as local shops, clean beaches and beautiful parks.