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The Natural Step Canada's FREE 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!

The Natural Step Sustainability Primer

Provides an explanation of the root causes of unsustainability and describes the strategic planning framework that has helped hundreds of organizations in their journeys toward a sustainable future. This primer will be useful for anyone interested in understanding why sustainability is an urgent challenge for humanity and how to contribute to lasting change. Please note that an Alberta-specific version of this toolkit is also available.

> Click here to download.

> Additional resources for this Primer.
 

Le guide élémentaire de durabilité

The Natural Step explique les causes fondamentales de la non-durabilité de nos sociétés aujourd’hui et fournit une démarche de planification stratégique qui a déjà aidé des centaines d’organisations dans leur cheminement vers un futur durable. Ce guide intéressera tous ceux qui souhaitent comprendre pourquoi la durabilité est un défi urgent pour l’humanité et comment ils peuvent contribuer à un changement durable. Notez qu’une version spéciale Alberta de ce guide est également disponible (anglais seulement).

> Cliquez ici pour télécharger le guide (en francais).

> Ressources complémentaires pour ce guide (anglais seulement).
 

Planning for Sustainability: A Starter Guide

A toolkit to assist Canadian organizations on the first steps of their sustainability journeys to assess their current reality, develop strategic goals for the future, and take early steps to bridge the gap. Inside, you will find a step-by-step planning guide, complete with recommended exercises, facilitators notes, case studies, success stories of Alberta organizations, and references to further resources. This guide will be useful to organizations that are interested in developing a first draft of a sustainability plan. Please note that an Alberta version of this toolkit is also available.

> Click here to download.

> Additional resources for this guide.
  

Planifier vers des sociétés durable : un guide pour débuter

Un guide conçu pour aider les organisations canadiennes à faire leurs premiers pas dans leur cheminement vers des sociétés durables, analyser leur situation actuelle, développer leurs objectifs stratégiques pour le futur et mettre en place des premières actions pour les atteindre.  A l’intérieur vous trouverez un guide de planification étape par étape, ainsi que des recommandations d’exercices, des notes pour l’animation d’atelier, des études de cas, des histoires de réussites d’organisations canadiennes et des ressources complémentaires. Ce guide sera utile aux organisations qui développent une première ébauche de plan de développement durable..

> Cliquez ici pour télécharger le guide (en francais).

> Ressources complémentaires pour ce guide (anglais seulement). 

 

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

A toolkit that helps Canadians understand how to apply sustainable development concepts to everyday household decisions. National in scope, this 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 home; renovations; resources for further information and ideas; and more. This version of the toolkit was created with our long term partners, The Co-operators, and builds on our earlier Alberta and British Columbia versions of the Sustainability at Home Toolkit. 

> Click here to download.  

 

Le développement durable à la maison : aide à la prise de décisions pour vos choix quotidiens (version nationale)

Un guide destiné à aider les canadiens à comprendre comment appliquer les principes du développement durable à leurs décisions quotidiennes. Avec une portée nationale, ce guide comprend une définition de la durabilité, les causes profondes de la non-durabilité, des questions à se poser lorsque l’on prend des décisions chez soi, des suggestions simples et concrètes pour chaque pièce du domicile, des conseils pour les rénovations, des ressources supplémentaires, et bien d’autres choses. Cette version du guide a été réalisée avec nos partenaires de longue date The Co-operators et s’appuie sur les versions anglophones précédentes Sustainability at home rédigées pour l’Alberta et la Colombie Britannique.

> Click here to download. 


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.

> Click here to download. 

 

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.  

> Click here to download.

  

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.

> Click here to download.

  

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.

> Click here to download.

 

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.

 > Click here to download.

 

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? 

> Click here to download.

 
To explore other learning opportunities with The Natural Step Canada, please check out our Sustainability Learning Programs.

 

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