Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s 2020-21 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy Report
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This report on progress supports the commitment in the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FSDA) to make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament. It also contributes to an integrated, whole‑of‑government view of activities supporting environmental sustainability.
The departmental information reported must take into account information previously prepared in accordance with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s 2020 to 2023 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy (DSDS).
Introduction to the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
The 2019 to 2022 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) presents the Government of Canada’s sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act. In keeping with the purpose of this Act to provide the legal framework for developing and implementing a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy that will make environmental decision-making more transparent and accountable to Parliament, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) supports reporting on the implementation of its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.
Sustainable development in Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s 2020 to 2023 Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy describes the department’s actions in support of achieving the Greening Government goal of the FSDS. This goal is consistent with the commitments of the Greening Government Strategy, which elaborates the Government of Canada’s plan to transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient and green operations. This report presents available results for the departmental actions pertinent to this goal. Previous years’ reports are posted on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s website.
Departmental performance by FSDS goal
The following tables provide performance information on departmental actions in support of the FSDS goal listed in the previous section.
Context: Greening Government
Greening Government goal: The Government of Canada will transition to net‑zero carbon and climate-resilient operations, while also reducing environmental impacts beyond carbon, including on waste, water and biodiversity.Footnote 1
This goal captures commitments from the Greening Government Strategy (GGS), as well as reporting requirements under the Treasury Board Policy on Green Procurement.
TBS supports the Greening Government goal of the FSDS by:
- Developing new rules for procuring and managing assets and acquired services (for example, real property, goods – including fleets – and services), and supporting their implementation.
- Providing leadership and support to departments and agencies through the Centre for Greening Government, which is responsible for developing, updating and coordinating implementation of the Greening Government.
- Helping to advance the other FSDS goals as part of TBS’s ongoing review of the proposals that come to the Treasury Board.
- Leading by example to improve the internal operations of TBS
TBS has made the following changes to its DSDS since it was tabled in October 2020 to align with the updated Greening Government Strategy (released in November 2020):
- updated the Greening Government goal to reflect the FSDS’s more ambitious and expanded commitments
- advanced the target date for achieving a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2030 to 2025 for real property and conventional fleet
|FSDS contributing action(s)
|Corresponding departmental action(s)
|Contribution by each departmental action to the FSDS goal and target
Reduce GHG emissions from federal government facilities and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 (with an aspiration to achieve this target by 2025) and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 (with an aspiration to be carbon neutral)
Publicly disclose detailed environmental performance information on government operations—in particular, a complete inventory of federal greenhouse gas emissions and energy use—on the Greening Government website each year
Aggregate and publish environmental performance information on government operations on the Greening Government website each year, including an inventory of federal greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, as well as other environmental performance measures
Provide annual updates on the overall reductions in GHG emissions from federal government facilities and fleets
Starting point: 32.6% reduction in GHG emissions as of 2018-19
Target: 40% reduction by 2025
Indicator: percentage reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions from federal facilities and fleets (excluding national safety and security) from base year 2005–06
Data from 2020–21 show that emissions from federal facilities and fleets were 1071 kt, representing a reduction of 731 kt, or 40.6% relative to 2005–06 levels.
The level of reduction in 2020–21 was due to the decreased use of federal facilities and fleets as many public servants were required to work remotely during the COVID‑19 pandemic, as well as ongoing public health travel restrictions. GHG emissions will continue to fluctuate as government operations continue to evolve with the pandemic situation
Promoting the switch to cleaner sources of energy will lead to reductions in GHGs
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG):
SDG target 13.3: Improve education, awareness raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
By 2022, departments have developed measures to reduce climate change risks to assets, services and operations
Increase training and support on assessing climate change impacts, undertaking climate change risk assessments and developing adaptation actions to public service employees, and facilitate sharing of best practices and lessons learned
Undertake an assessment of potential climate impacts that may affect TBS operations and programs
Develop measures to reduce identified risks, where warranted
Starting point: work is underway to complete TBS’s climate risk assessment
Target: by 2020–21, complete a departmental climate risk assessment and, by 2022–23, develop measures to reduce identified risks, where warranted
Indicators: completion of climate risk assessment for TBS, and development of measures to reduce climate change risks to TBS’s assets, services and operations, where warranted
TBS has completed its departmental climate risk assessment. Action is being taken on two of the highest-ranking risks identified: (1) disruption of services; and (2) the potential impacts of climate change on the fiscal framework. The first has been addressed through significant improvements to telework capability due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. The response to the second risk will be to estimate actual and projected costs for select federal programs to better understand the risks and impacts.
Understanding the likelihood and severity of climate change impacts and taking action to reduce identified risks contributes to more resilient services and operations
SDG target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
Actions supporting the Goal: Greening Government
Departments will use environmental criteria to reduce the environmental impact and ensure best value in government procurement decisions
TBS officials were asked to consider green procurement as a primary purchasing mechanism when making purchasing decisions
Starting point: as of 2019–20, all TBS officials were asked to consider green procurement as a primary purchasing mechanism when making purchasing decisions
Performance indicator: percentage of procurement processes that consider green procurement in their contracting requests
In 2020–21, TBS procurement processes required users to consider green procurement 100% of the time when making purchasing decisions
Green procurement incorporates environmental criteria into purchasing decisions. This is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce GHG emissions associated with their goods, services and supply chains.
SDG target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
Support for green procurement will be strengthened, including guidance, tools and training for public service employees
Ensure all TBS procurement officers are trained in green procurement within the first year of being on the job.
Starting point: as of 2019–20, all of the department’s procurement officers were trained in green procurement within the first year of being on the job.
Performance indicator: percentage of procurement officers trained in green procurement within the first year of being on the job.
In 2020–21, TBS continued to have all of its procurement officers trained on green procurement within the first year of being on the job.
Target met: All TBS procurement officers have undertaken this training.
Green procurement incorporates environmental criteria into purchasing decisions. Procurement officers who are trained to apply such criteria can award contracts to suppliers with a reduced GHG footprint. This is expected to motivate suppliers to reduce GHG emissions associated with their goods, services and supply chains.
SDG target 12.7: Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
Departments will adopt clean technology and undertake clean technology demonstration projects
Provide project funding to federal government departments and agencies to test or implement innovative approaches to reducing GHG emissions in their operations, through the Greening Government Fund
Starting point: in 2019–20, the Greening Government Fund allocated $9.8 million over 4 years
Target: 100% of available funding is allocated to projects
Indicators: percentage of available funding committed to projects
In FY2020-21, the Greening Government Fund had $5 million of funding available, of which 99.7% was allocated to projects that invested in clean technology.
Supporting the use of innovative clean technologies will help reduce the environmental footprint of government operations while contributing to the success of clean-tech businesses in Canada.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Report on integrating sustainable development
During the 2020–21 reporting cycle, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat had no proposals that required a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), and no public statements were produced.
TBS continually strives to integrate sustainable development into its internal decision-making and operations. To date, TBS has decreased its environmental impacts through the following departmental processes and activities:
- Decreased the environmental footprint of departmental operations: To divert non-hazardous waste from landfills, a composting infrastructure to support a composting program was added to the 219 Laurier TBS worksite, in addition to the program already established at 90 Elgin. Given most employees were working remotely due to COVID‑19, there is currently insufficient waste to operate the composting program. Waste audits were conducted to establish baselines, but further work (e.g., targeted waste reduction efforts based on the results of waste audits with more complete occupancy) will depend on the timing of re-occupancy based on public health advice regarding the COVID‑19 pandemic.
- Modernized work practices and support alternative sustainable work arrangements: In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, TBS changed how it carried out its activities to enable most of its employees to work remotely by ensuring that employees had the equipment and tools they needed. And TBS worked closely with Shared Services Canada to provide those public servants working from home with a secure, efficient and reliable digital working environment.
- De-carbonized part of TBS’s executive fleet: One of three TBS executive fleet vehicles has been replaced with a hybrid electric vehicle. The other two vehicles are slated to be replaced with a hybrid or zero-emission vehicle at the end of their life cycle.
- Mobilized its employees for further green actions: TBS encouraged its employees to help celebrate Canadian Environment Week by taking part in a virtual Green Challenge for Government of Canada employees and their families. The Challenge provided participants with a set of green challenges each day and awarded points based on actions taken.
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2021,
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