Sustainability Toolkits

The Natural Step Canada develops practical and well-researched sustainability toolkits, guidebooks, and thought leadership reports on issues that matter. We publish and disseminate them widely to sustainability practitioners across Canada and around the world for FREE.

The Natural Step’s Toolkits for Sustainability have been created to share best practices based on our work with thousands of corporations, municipalities, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations around the world. Our partners and clients have proven that moving strategically toward sustainability leads to innovation, new opportunities, reduced costs, and dramatically reduced ecological and social impacts.

The challenge to all of us is to inspire and become the sustainability champions that are needed to lead this change and create a better tomorrow. Please help us accelerate change toward sustainability by downloading, reading, and sharing our free toolkits widely today!

Please also consider making a donation to The Natural Step Canada to ensure that we can continue making these toolkits available to you and other sustainability practitioners around the world.

Sustainability at Home: Decision-making help for your everyday choices (Alberta version)

A toolkit that helps homeowners understand how to apply sustainable development concepts to everyday household decisions. The guide covers an explanation of sustainability; root causes of un-sustainability; questions to ask while making household decisions; concrete and simple suggestions for every room in your house; renovations; resources for further information and ideas; and more. Originally designed for Alberta, this guide will be useful for new and experienced homeowners alike.

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Sustainability at Home: Decision-making help for your everyday choices (British Columbia version)

Sustainability is confusing and can be totally overwhelming, especially when it comes to making daily decisions in your busy home. The Natural Step, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Light House Sustainable Building Centre have created a toolkit, Sustainability at Home for BC, to make those decisions easier.

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Integrated Community Sustainability Planning: A Guide

Pioneering Integrated Community Sustainability Planning (ICSP) efforts have engaged citizens and community stakeholders in a dialogue on the sustainable future of their community, where sustainability is achieved not through a variety of discrete actions in diverse sectors, but rather by finding integrated approaches that produce multiple impacts and benefits.

The Natural Step believes that transformational change at the community level is the most effective way to foster change toward sustainability overall. The purpose of this guide is to help you lead a community through a transformational change process through the development of an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. As such, the guidebook shares lessons learned, tools, case studies, and other resources to support the process.

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Best Practices Scan of Sustainability Decision Making and Planning for the Municipal Sector

Under the Federal Gas Tax Agreement, municipalities are required to develop an Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) to accelerate the shift in local planning and decision making toward a more long-term, coherent and participatory approach. An ICSP is a strategic business plan for the community that identifies short, medium, and long term actions for implementation, tracks and monitors progress, and is reviewed and revised regularly.

In preparation for the development of its ICSP, the City of Saskatoon, Canada asked The Natural Step to perform a scan of the best practices of leading municipalities with respect to integrating sustainability into governance and decision making.

This document contains excerpts from The Natural Step’s Best Practices Report.

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Embedding Sustainability into the Culture of Municipal Government

A growing number of municipal governments across the country are aiming to become beacons of sustainability in their communities, but many are struggling to lead by example. This report promises to help municipal change agents advance sustainability in their organizations and become role models for others in the community.

Developed as a collaboration between the Network for Business Sustainability, The Natural Step Canada, and Dr. Stephanie Bertels from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, the report is the result of a comprehensive review of municipal sustainability practices from across Canada. Based on leading research, the guide provides practical guidance for municipal practitioners and organizations to support a culture of sustainability in municipal governments.

Available for download and distribution for free, municipal change agents are encouraged to study this new resource, share it widely with their colleagues, and incorporate it into their municipal sustainability planning.

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Re-imagining our Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhoods are the building blocks of society. They are the places we call home, where we live, work, and play. But what are the characteristics of a livable, vibrant, sustainable neighbourhood? Re-imagining our Neighbourhoods: A vision for the future of Alberta, begins to answer exactly that question.

A contribution to the Alberta Real Estate Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Thought Leadership series, the report builds on The Natural Step Canada’s experience working with dozens of communities across the country to accelerate change toward sustainability over more than a decade. Over several few months, The Natural Step Canada engaged people in a dialogue about what sustainability means at the neighbourhood level. This report provides a summary of ideas gathered from Albertans through a survey and an online forum, as well as from experts from across Canada through interviews.

This process addressed questions such as:

  • What are the characteristics of a sustainable, vibrant, livable neighbourhood?
  • What are the current barriers and obstacles to social, economic, and environmental progress?
  • What are the steps we might take to move toward a desired future in our neighbourhoods?

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