Environmental Strategy: Building a Greener Capital

The NCC’s Environmental Strategy, developed in 2009, provides a framework for environmental leadership in Canada’s Capital Region. The strategy identifies measurable goals and objectives centered around five key action areas that will have tangible and lasting impacts on the environment. The following diagram highlights the strategy’s objectives and timelines.

Guiding principles

The NCC’s Environmental Strategy is guided by four core principles:

  • Transparency
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership by example
  • Continuous improvement

Environmental Strategy Areas for Action

The NCC Environmental Strategy defines five areas for action that are aligned with the NCC’s core business. Each area for action has ambitious objectives with clear, concrete, measurable targets. The National Capital Commission Environmental Strategy: Building a Greener Capital provides more in-depth information about each area for action.

The NCC Corporate Environmental Strategy, Building a Greener Capital (2009–2017), was updated and approved by the NCC’s Board of Directors in November 2013. It was updated to reflect the NCC’s renewed mandate (as outlined in the federal budget that passed in June 2013), as well as the priorities of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). The second cycle of the FSDS (2013–2016) received Parliamentary approval in November 2013.

Updated Environmental Strategy Areas for Action and Objectives1

Reduce Waste

The NCC will reduce the waste going to landfill from all aspects of its business.

Priority objective

  • By 2013, the NCC will have achieved and will maintain a 50 percent reduction, compared with the 2009–2010 level, in waste sent to landfill sites from activities associated with the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Secondary objectives

  • Divert 70 percent of waste from all NCC business areas by 2017.
  • Encourage partners hosting events on NCC lands to divert waste by 50 percent.
  • Develop and implement green procurement guidelines by 2010.
  • Demonstrate leadership in green demolition practices by 2010.

Protect Biodiversity

The NCC will provide greater protection for biodiversity on NCC lands.

Priority objective

  • Designate all 28 high-value ecosystems and habitats on NCC-owned land as conservation lands by 2012.

Secondary objectives

  • Implement new recovery plans for federally and provincially listed species at risk on NCC lands within one year of the plan’s being finalized.
  • Protect all critical habitats identified on NCC lands under federal and provincial law for species at risk, within one year of the habitat’s being identified.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of biodiversity on NCC lands through the Natural Resources Research Program.
  • Reduce the amount of NCC urban land infested by aggressive invasive plant species by 10 percent by 2014.

Prevent Pollution

The NCC will show leadership in preventing pollution of lands, ground water and surface water.

Priority objective

  • Secure all contaminated sites on NCC lands by 2017.

Secondary objectives

  • Identify, remove or repair all problem underground storage tanks on NCC property by 2011.
  • Adopt a policy to eliminate pesticides used for cosmetic purposes on NCC lands by 2010.

Lead in Environmental Practices

The NCC will use leading environmental practices in planning, transportation, buildings and watershed management.

Priority objective

  • Obtain LEED® Gold certification for all new buildings (larger than 250 square metres) constructed on NCC lands by 2013 and LEED® certification for all major building renovations.

Secondary objectives

  • Use green building practices for the construction of all buildings smaller than 250 square metres.
  • Integrate environmental education into all NCC activities, where appropriate.
  • Add environmentally sensitive practices into all maintenance contracts.
  • Provide and promote environmentally sustainable transportation alternatives.
  • Implement best practices for water quality management in projects and activities taking place on NCC land, and encourage the NCC’s partners and stakeholders to do the same.
  • Place priority on sustainable development approaches in carrying out the NCC’s planning mandate.

Combat Climate Change

The NCC will reduce the carbon footprint of all aspects of its business.

Priority objective

  • Reduce the NCC’s overall carbon footprint by 30 percent (against a 2011–2012 baseline) by 2017.

Secondary objectives

  • Seek renewable sources of energy. By 2013, 25 percent of all NCC electricity purchases will be from renewable sources.
  • Continue to broaden the NCC’s knowledge of the effects of climate change on NCC operations.
1. This addendum to the objectives and areas for action supersedes the 2009 version of the Corporate Environmental Strategy.