This is the first annual performance report for the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) Sustainable Development (SD) strategy for 2007-2010. It covers the period from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008.
This first year of implementation was largely focussed on research and the development of benchmarks to enable future progress. To this end, we made concrete progress across all four goals of our SD strategy:
- Goal 1: Reduce the effects of our operations on land, air, and water;
- Goal 2: Our programs demonstrate sustainable service delivery;
- Goal 3: All employees apply SD in their job; and,
- Goal 4: Modern systems that support and maintain SD.
Progress on our SD strategy is achieved through the implementation of the SD national action plan, and associated branch and regional SD action plans. Our Environmental Management System (EMS) also contributes through Environmental Management Programs (EMPs) that enhance the delivery of goal 1 of the SD strategy. Of the 30 activities of SD national action plan to pursue in year-one, the Agency completed 82% of the planned work, and 80% of scheduled activities of the EMPs.
Goal 1 Highlights
We made incremental progress in reducing solid waste and ensuring efficient use of resources. We lowered our consumption of multi-use office paper, achieving a reduction of 0.7% or 40 sheets per employee. We included environmental specifications in 100% of strategic sourcing contracts issued during the period. Our total spending on green products accounted for 11.4% of total product spending, exceeding our target of 10% for fiscal year 2007-2008.
Goal 2 Highlights
The uptake of the CRA's electronic services continued, with the number of individual (T1) and corporate (T2) tax returns filed electronically increasing by about 3% respectively. To demonstrate environmental benefits that accrue from electronic services delivery, we assessed paper savings resulting from electronic filing of individual (T1) tax returns between 1990 and 2007. The results showed that of the 402 million individual (T1) tax returns filed, about 107 million (27%) were filed using the CRA's EFILE and NETFILE online filing services [Footnote 1]. The total estimated paper saving from electronic filing during this period was 4.3 billion sheets of paper. This reduction is equivalent to approximately 500,000 trees or a pile of paper 430 km high. This also avoided the creation of about 54,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Goal 3 Highlights
Our ongoing efforts to engage our employees through national and regional SD events, online information, and other SD learning and awareness media produced concrete results. A 2007 survey indicated that 89% of CRA employees were aware of the SD efforts in the Agency. The Agency's target is 95% by 2010. Of those who indicated awareness, 94% reported that they reduced paper consumption, 92% that they increased recycling, and 91% that they reduced their energy consumption. We also released the second launch of the SD Innovation Fund to support five projects aimed at improving the environmental performance and operating efficiency of the CRA.
Goal 4 Highlights
We continued to strengthen our SD support systems. We began development of the next generation online reporting system to improve the efficiency of our performance measurement system for SD. We developed semi-annual feed back report to allow CRA branches and regions to compare their SD performance against CRA national SD averages. To expand our SD reporting lens, we completed a research paper that examined options for developing an SD report card for the CRA that would report against agreed to social, economic, and environmental indicators.
We responded to one environmental petition forwarded by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) on the recycled content of the paper used by the CRA. Internally, the CRA Board of Management examined both the reliability of the SD program's reporting framework and the CESD perception of the CRA's SD reports. The Board rated performance in both areas as "strong" - its highest rating.
The CRA maintained compliance with all applicable environmental legislation and regulations. Through implementation of our national SD action plan, the Agency also contributed to the environmental and SD priorities of the Government of Canada.
We enhanced the overall management of the SD program at the CRA through a number of measures. These included achieving a service level standard of 100% when responding to SD enquires through the national SD mailbox. We received an over all approval rating of 78% for services provided to the Agency's SD network. The CRA also extended its SD reach by engaging other government departments in a number of forums to learn and share SD best practices.
Overall, our results show that good progress was made during the first year of implementation of our 2007-2010 SD strategy. While we fell short of full completion in some areas, we are satisfied that the CRA is on track to deliver on its SD commitments for 2007-2010.
- [Footnote 1]
- The estimate excluded tax filing by telephone (TELEFILE), as this involves the use of paper.
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