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Taking responsibility for sustainability : the sustainability performance management system model applied… Everdene, Barbara Ann 2005

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TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUSTAINABILITY: THE SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MODEL APPLIED TO THREE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS & ONE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT IN GREATER VANCOUVER by BARBARA ANN EVERDENE B.A., The University of Victoria, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Planning THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 2005 © Barbara Ann Everdene, 2005 Abstract Cities and regions contribute to global and regional ecological degradation and there is a need to focus sustainability efforts at a scale suited to understanding and mitigating their impacts. In Greater Vancouver, as the trajectory of economic and population growth, and over-consumption of materials and energy (and production of their associated wastes) continues unabated, local and regional government practitioners are professionally called upon to take preventative measures within their own jurisdictions. With new sustainability responsibilities and some regulatory authority, their democratic legitimacy and resources as public institutions, and their technical expertise and coordinative capacity, local and regional governments in Greater Vancouver have key opportunities to demonstrate leadership on sustainability. This study focuses specifically on what I term corporate ecological responsibility as a means to lend credibility to service provision and regulation roles and model sustainability processes and activities for replication in the community by other actors. Managing for sustainability performance demands a clear definition and understanding of ecological sustainability as a physical condition rather than simply a principle or an idea, and an effective system for managing institutional performance. A review of the literature on sustainability and performance management reveals that a practical model has not yet been devised to assist North American local and regional governments in adopting a strategic and systematic method to make a corporate contribution toward achieving ecological sustainability milestones. To fill this gap, I advance a Sustainability Performance Management (SPMS) model that is comprised of distinctive system components and recognizes five fundamental sustainability principles and organizational conditions of culture and capacity. In the study, I focus on corporate purchasing policies and building policies and projects as key tools for sustainability performance management. I then apply my SPMS model as a tool to assess what I term the sustainability performance management activities of four case organizations in Greater Vancouver: the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the City of Vancouver, the City of Richmond, and the City of Burnaby. The case presentations and assessments with a qualitative scoring tool demonstrate that the SPMS model has practical value for use in local and regional governments as a first template to encourage the development of a strategic, systemic, and sensitive approach to sustainability performance management where it does not yet exist and to correct organizational "blind spots" in existing approaches. The best practices of the case organizations enrich the model with specific examples of how to put the five sustainability principles into practice. ii In addition, the use of the model as an evaluation tool reveals specific areas in which each case organization can its sustainability efforts. Assessed against the SPMS model, the City of Richmond is the clear sustainability performance management (SPMS) leader, although the GVRD and the City of Vancouver are more prolific in implementing performance management tools. To date, the GVRD has experimented most aggressively with ecologically responsible and innovative facility development, while the City of Vancouver has recently adopted ambitiously scoped purchasing and building policies. The City of Burnaby's efforts are rated least effective of the study organizations when compared to my model. i i i Table of Contents ABSTRACT TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES & FIGURES LIST OF ACRONYMS & ABBREVIATIONS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Parti 1 THE SUSTAINABILITY DILEMMA: GLOBAL & REGIONAL 2 TOWARDS A REGIONAL SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTION ~ 8 CORPORATE ECOLOGICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOCAL & REGIONAL GOVERNMENT 9 OPERATIONALIZING C E R THROUGH SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT 13 THE SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MODEL 16 PART II 58 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS 58 PURPOSE OF RESEARCH 59 THEORETICAL LINEAGE: COMMUNICATIVE/COLLABORATIVE PLANNING 60 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 61 CASE APPROACH 63 LIMITATIONS ON CONCLUSIONS 70 Part III 72 CITY OF RICHMOND 73 THE GREATER VANCOUVER REGIONAL DISTRICT 93 THE CITY OF VANCOUVER 114 THECITYOFBU RNABY 139 Part IV 153 COMPARATIVE SYSTEMIC S P M EFFECTIVENESS 154 SYSTEM COMPONENTS 157 COHESION BETWEEN SYSTEM COMPONENTS 161 CULTURE & CAPACITY 161 SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES 163 NEXT STOP: COMMUNITY 171 DIRECTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH 173 RECOMMENDATIONS 175 LITERATURE CITED 180 Appendices 193 APPENDIX A: Two CONCEPTS OF SUSTAINABILITY 193 APPENDIX B: CITIES AND REGIONS 196 APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE 199 APPENDIX D: S P M S SCORING SYSTEM 201 APPENDIX E: COMPARATIVE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES 206 APPENDIX F: COMPARATIVE ECOLOGICALLY RESPONSIBLE PURCHASING POLICIES 209 APPENDIX G : COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGY OF S P M EFFORTS 213 iv List of Tables and Figures Parti F IGURE 1 - 1 : M A N A G E M E N T S Y S T E M C O M P O N E N T S 1 7 F IGURE 1-2: D E S I R E D C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S O F I N D I C A T O R S I N A S P M S 2 6 F IGURE 1-3: T H E P E O P L E PRINCIPLE - L A D D E R O F I N V O L V E M E N T 3 3 F IGURE 1-4: S T A G E S O F C O M M F T M E N T T O E C O L O G I C A L SUSTAINABIL ITY 3 4 Part II F IGURE 11-1: C O N C E P T U A L F R A M E W O R K 6 3 Part III F IGURE 111-1: SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T IN R I C H M O N D 7 7 F I G U R E 111-2: R I C H M O N D ' S E N V I R O N M E N T A L M A N A G E M E N T S T R A T E G Y 8 0 F IGURE 111-3: SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T I N T H E G V R D 9 7 F IGURE 111-4: P H A S E S O F T H E G V R D ' S S U S T A I N A B L E R E G I O N INITIATIVE 9 9 F IGURE I I I -5: SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T I N V A N C O U V E R 1 2 1 F IGURE I I I -6: SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T I N B U R N A B Y 1 4 3 F IGURE Hl-7: E N V I R O N M E N T A L P O L I C Y F R A M E W O R K I N B U R N A B Y ' S O C P 1 4 5 Part IV F IGURE I V - 1 : C O M P A R A T I V E EFFECTIVENESS O F C A S E U N I T S P M 1 5 4 F IGURE I V - 2 : C O M P A R A T I V E EFFECTIVENESS O F C O M P O N E N T S O F C A S E U N I T S P M 1 5 5 F IGURE I V - 3 : C O M P A R A T I V E S P M I N F R A S T R U C T U R E 1 5 7 F IGURE I V - 4 : D E G R E E O F A D O P T I O N O F S P M PRINCIPLES I N C A S E U N I T S 1 6 3 F I G U R E I V - 5 : C O M P A R A T I V E EFFECTIVENESS R A T I N G F O R A L L C A S E U N I T S 1 7 0 Appendices F IGURE A - 1 : T w o C O N C E P T S O F SUSTAINABILITY 1 9 3 F IGURE D - l : D E F I N I T I O N S F O R S P M S S C O R I N G M E T H O D 2 0 1 F IGURE D - 2 : S C O R I N G CRITERIA F O R S P M S PRINCIPLES 2 0 2 F IGURE D - 3 : P O I N T S C O R I N G S Y S T E M 2 0 4 F IGURE D - 4 : M A S T E R S C O R I N G M A T R I X F O R C A S E STUDIES 2 0 5 F IGURE E - 1 : G V R D O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L S T R U C T U R E 2 0 6 F IGURE E - 2 : V A N C O U V E R O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L S T R U C T U R E 2 0 6 F IGURE E - 3 : R I C H M O N D O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L S T R U C T U R E 2 0 7 F IGURE E - 4 : B U R N A B Y O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L S T R U C T U R E 2 0 7 F IGURE G - 1 : C H R O N O L O G Y O F S P M D E V E L O P M E N T I N G R E A T E R V A N C O U V E R 2 1 3 v List of Acronyms and Abbreviations ACE Advisory Committee on the Environment CBIP Canadian Building Incentive Program CCAP Climate Change Action Plan (City of Vancouver) CVTF Cool Vancouver Task Force (City of Vancouver) DSM Demand Side Management EMS Environmental Management System ESCO Energy Service Contract Organization ETCC Environmental Terms and Conditions of Contract FCM Federation of Canadian Municipalities GVRD Greater Vancouver Regional District ICLEI International Council for Local Government Initiatives LCA Life Cycle Analysis/Assessment LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design OCP Official Community Plan ODP Official Development Plan PCP Partners for Climate Protection sec Supplier Code of Conduct (City of Vancouver) SEFC South East False Creek (City of Vancouver) SOER State of the Environment Report SOFE Special Office for the Environment (City of Vancouver) SPMS Sustainability Performance Management System SRI Sustainable Region Initiative (Greater Vancouver Regional District) SSM Supply Side Management TFAC Task Force on Atmospheric Change (City of Vancouver) vi Acknowledgements My warm thanks goes first to my Advisory Committee members Dr. Bill Rees, PhD. of the School of Community and Regional Planning and Deborah Curran, LL.M. of West Coast Environmental Law for providing clarity and insight through my process of writing and revision. A thank you is also given to Dr. Michael Leaf, PhD. for his willingness to serve as a third reader of this study. I am indebted to all staff at West Coast Environmental Law for the exceptional flexibility and moral support they have given me over the course of this study. Finally, I am deeply grateful for the patience, encouragement, and sense of humor of my core team of supporters: my parents Ken and Margitta Ewert, my partner Tariq Jooya, and my invaluable friends Jodi Newnham, Dean Rempel, Antonella Nizzola, and Sandra name only a few. vii Part I Corporate Ecological Responsibility & Sustainability Performance Management in Local & Regional Government 1.1 INTRODUCTION. In the 15th century, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) observed that: "it is necessary not only to pay attention to immediate crises, but to foresee those that will come, and to make every effort to prevent them. For if you see them coming well in advance, then you can easily take the appropriate action to remedy them, but if you wait until they are right on top of you, then the prescription will no longer take effect, because the disease is too far the beginning the disease is easy to cure, difficult to diagnose; but, after a while, if it has not been diagnosed and treated early, it becomes easy to diagnose and hard to cure (cited in 11 Wootton 1994)." Machiavelli's practical wisdom holds true as a comment on the sustainability dilemma of the 21 st century. Although the optimistic claim has been made that "in the battle of big public ideas, sustainability has won: the task of the coming years is simply to work out the details (Campbell 1996 cited in 30 Berke and Conroy 2000)", the expansionist economic worldview and its instrument, the market capitalist system, still dominates all levels of government in North America and beyond. The disease is far from cured and the battle far from over: more work must be done to make sustainability meaningful in ecological and practical terms. The purpose of this research is to position sustainability (and un-sustainability) as a physical, ecological condition rather than a principle or an idea, and to set forth a strategic, systematic, and sensitive method for local and regional governments to "work out the details" of making a corporate contribution toward achieving ecological targets. 1.2 STUDY OVERVIEW. This study focuses in on change opportunities at the local and regional government level. Cities and regions are centers of production and consumption and contribute to global and regional ecological degradation. There is a need to focus sustainability efforts at a scale suited to understanding and mitigating the impacts of cities and regions. By focusing on a local and regional scale, I do not argue that cities and regions can be made sustainable in and of themselves (see Appendix B). Rees and Wackernagel observe that according to the principle of patch ecology, cities are unsustainable by definition because "modern cities and industrial regions are dependent for survival and growth on a vast and increasingly global hinterland of ecologically productive landscapes (29 Rees and Wackernagel 1 1996)." Rather, I argue that taking responsibility for sustainability means that immediate actions must be taken in the context of the existing milieu and governance structures and institutions. In a recent address to the professional planning community, Judith Maxwell observed that Canadian cities have inherited major new responsibilities as provinces and the federal government have scaled down their activities (13-14 2003). With these new sustainability responsibilities and some regulatory authority, their democratic legitimacy and resources as public institutions, and their technical expertise and coordinative capacity, local and regional governments have powerful opportunities to demonstrate leadership on sustainability. In Part I, I portray the current and projected sustainability condition of the Greater Vancouver region in terms of economic growth, population growth, and consumption as a case for local and regional governments to take action on achieving ecological sustainability milestones. Secondly, I present a review of the literature on city management and sustainability to point out that a management system designed to track performance on corporate ecological sustainability targets for North American local and regional governments has not yet been devised. To fill this gap, I posit a model of a sustainability performance management system on the basis of the literature on sustainability and management. To demonstrate the applicability of the model to local and regional government, I focus on purchasing and building projects and policies as key corporate functions to calibrate toward greater ecological sustainability. Subsequent Parts detail the methods used to obtain case information and present the results of an assessment of the sustainability efforts of the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby against my Sustainability Performance Management System (SPMS) model. While this study is exclusively concerned with a local and regional government's corporate (i.e. their own organizational operations), rather than community-based, sustainability efforts, it assumes that local and regional governments should undertake what I term corporate ecological responsibility not simply as an end in itself. Rather, corporate ecological responsibility should also be viewed as a means to lend credibility to service provision and regulation roles and model sustainability systems and activities for replication by other actors in the community. 1.3 THE SUSTAINABILITY DILEMMA: GLOBAL & REGIONAL. This section illustrates the rationale for local and regional government leadership on sustainability, pointing out that even the highly livable and abundant Greater Vancouver region is symptomatic of un-sustainable economic growth, population growth, and consumption when examined from an ecological sustainability perspective. Before examining the region in greater detail, I will distinguish a definition of ecological sustainability from the many uses of the term sustainability. 2 The te rm sustainability, s ince the Brund t land C o m m i s s i o n report in 1 9 8 7 , has been used as a loose eth ic to s teward resources for future genera t ions a n d has c o m e to def ine - at least nomina l l y - a w i d e array of def in i t ions a n d f rameworks . Edward Jepson jr. astutely po in ts out that mos t accep ted pub l i c def in i t ions of sustainabi l i ty are vague descr ip t ions tha t avo id the inherent c o m p e t i t i o n b e t w e e n eco log ica l a n d expans ion is t e c o n o m i c wor ldv iews - a "vagueness [that] serves to p ro tec t the d o m i n a n c e of the fo rmer w h i l e a c c o m m o d a t i n g (w i thou t necessari ly fur ther ing) the yearn ings of the latter (6-7 2 0 0 4 ) . " For c lar i ty a n d prec is ion , I d is t inguish be tween a sha l low c o n c e p t of sustainabi l i ty a n d s t rong , or eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty. A l o n g w i t h Rees (2004 , pers. c o m m . ) a n d S i m o n Bell and S tephen M o r s e (12 1999 ) , I cons ider these t w o v iews of sustainabi l i ty as mutua l l y exc lus ive w i t h un ique ph i losoph ica l assumpt ions . The c o n c e p t of sha l low sustainabi l i ty resonates w i t h neo l ibera l i sm, a n d s t rong sustainabi l i ty resonates w i t h m a n y of the major pr inc ip les of eco log ica l e c o n o m i c s . W h i l e sha l low sustainabi l i ty concent ra tes o n m i t iga t ing the d a m a g e rather than cha l l eng ing the behav io r of industr ia l e c o n o m i e s a n d [northern] lifestyles o n local ecosys tems or the g loba l env i r onmen t (9 B o y d 2 0 0 4 ) , eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty is c o n c e r n e d w i t h the t rans format ion of those h u m a n ideo log ies , systems, inst i tut ions, a n d behav io r pat terns d r i v ing the causes of un-susta inabi l i ty (478 Jacob 1994) . In eco log ica l e c o n o m i c terms, wh i l e sha l l ow sustainabi l i ty assumes tha t manu fac tu red cap i ta l can be subst i tu ted for natural cap i ta l , eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty con tends that a hea l thy f unc t i on ing b iosphere mus t be preserved a n d that manu fac tu red capi ta l c a n n o t subst i tute for the in tegr i ty of natural systems a n d resources. For fur ther detai l o n this d is t inc t ion, see A p p e n d i x A . The i m p o r t a n c e of the c o n c e p t of eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty d e m a n d s a m o r e deta i led exp lana t i on . In basic te rms, systems theory a n d the sc ience of e c o l o g y def ine sustainabi l i ty as the a t ta inment of a ba lance in w h i c h the d e m a n d s p laced o n an ecosys tem (in terms of resource ex t rac t ion a n d was te assimi lat ion) d o no t exceed the capac i ty of the ecosys tem to meet those d e m a n d s (Rees 1995 ) . Further, these d isc ip l ines conce i ve of h u m a n social and e c o n o m i c systems as i n te rdependen t w i t h and subord ina te to the ecosphere , a n d ho ld that a cond i t i on of relative stabi l i ty can be a t ta ined or u n d e r m i n e d based o n the act iv i ty of one or m o r e of these subsystems (Al len and Starr 1 9 8 8 c i ted in Jepson Jr. 2 0 0 1 ) . In keep ing w i t h these not ions , an assembly of Swed ish scientists d e t e r m i n e d that the p lanet and the society of its h u m a n inhabi tants can be d e e m e d susta inable w h e n mater ia ls f r om the Earth's crust a n d mater ials p r o d u c e d by soc iety are not systemat ica l ly increased in the ecosphere a n d w h e n the phys ica l basis for the product iv i ty and diversi ty of nature is no t systemat ica l ly d im in i shed (Natura l Step 1988 ) . O n the basis of this l i terature, I posi t that eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty deno tes an ac tua l , e n d c o n d i t i o n ; moreover , I also argue that progress towards eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty - or put ano ther way , progress towards reduc ing the degree of un-susta inabi l i ty - can be m a d e a n d measured by degrees. Like a doc to r that uses his or her unde rs tand ing of the cond i t i ons of op t ima l hea l th w h e n 3 examining a patient, we can now examine the state of the globe and the region with this definition of ecological sustainability. How balanced are the flows of consumption and regeneration across the global ecosphere? At the turn of the millennium, the planet's energy, water, and materials are being consumed faster than natural cycles of regeneration can replenish them, and materials from the Earth's crust and materials produced by society are being systematically increased in the ecosphere. Put another way, the physical basis for the productivity and diversity of the ecosphere is being systematically diminished and degraded by human demand for resources and waste generation (Factor 10 Institute 2004; Natural Step 2004). In ecological terms, half of all global ecosystems have been transformed and are being managed in some way for human purposes (5 Rees 2001). Mass consumption and burning of fossil fuels, largely used for space heating and transportation as well as industry, is responsible for the accumulation of gases in the atmosphere, climate change, and its consequent impacts (Homer-Dixon 1999; UNDP 2001 cited in 5 Rees 2001). Environmental scientists are generally in agreement that the global environment continues to deteriorate at an accelerating pace. The literature demonstrates that the ecological deterioration that defines un-sustainability is driven largely by the economic growth assumptions of global market capitalism that reinforce increasingly consumptive behavior among a rising global population. Rooted historically in human industrialization, this globally dominant economic system has been largely abstracted from the functioning of the global biosphere.1 Ecological economist Paul Hawken vividly summarizes that: "in its late maturity, industrial society runs on life support systems that require enormous heat and pressure, are petrochemically dependent and materials-intensive, and require large flows of toxic and hazardous chemicals. These industrial 'empty calories' end up as pollution, acid rain, and greenhouse gases, harming environmental, social, and financial systems (1999 cited in 14 Throgmorton 2003)." Given their development within this economic context of industrialization and growth, conventional financial systems and techniques from pricing to accounting have failed to adequately value the ecosphere. We are not even able to quantify its many life support services1'4. Despite these theoretical and practical oversights, this economic system has had very real ecological impacts. The expansion of the economy and individual incomes is reliant on increasing consumption, and further increases in consumption are made possible by economic growth and rising incomes. 1 E.O. Wilson goes on to argue that human culture has advanced in complexity because of its ever-increasing ability to use and manipulate natural resources, leading to enormous cultural optimism about the capabilities of science to continually provide technological solutions to scarcity that continues today (45 1988). 4 Ecological footprint analysis demonstrates that the largest ecological footprints belong to those in the developed north, pointing out that northern countries are generally the higher consumers and waste generators. In many developed countries, per capita energy consumption is thirty or more times that of developing countries (6 Rees 2001). In the developing south, per capita consumption and population are rising very quickly with the expansion of industrialization and electrification in some areas of the developing south (58 Homer-Dixon 1999). At the broadest level, a recent figure from the United Nations Population Division (2002) predicts that there will be an additional 2.9 billion people on Earth by 2050 (14 Nierenberg and MacDonald 2004). The combined effect of human numbers and human consumption is driving the sustainability crisis; if uncorrected, this dangerous positive feedback loop between human behavior and the ecosphere threatens to undermine human health and overwhelm the regenerative capacity of the ecosphere to restore the balance (Factor 10 Institute 2004; Natural Step 2004). Each region of the globe experiences unique impacts from these global conditions and makes a unique contribution to ameliorating or exacerbating them. In general terms, the developed north has remained relatively insulated from the worst effects of ecological deterioration, while profiting from the economic dependence of the south. This is true of the Canada's ecologically abundant but highly consumptive Greater Vancouver region.2 Despite their relative health, local ecosystems in Greater Vancouver now show signs of population and consumption pressures, the same dynamics that characterize the global sustainability dilemma. On the basis of availability of existing studies, the following section will summarize the current condition of the region and projected economic, consumption and population trends to 2031 (UFI I 2003; UFI II 2003) to demonstrate the urgency of public leadership on strategically and systematically setting course for ecological sustainability. 1.31 REGIONAL ECONOMIC G R O W T H . The Greater Vancouver region is characterized by a market capitalist economy that has constituted the main engine of economic growth in the province of British Columbia over the past five years (8 GVRD SR 2002). The region is a single, diversified, and highly interdependent economy in which boundaries do not play a prominent role. People, goods, services, capital, and information all move freely within the region. The region is governed by the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), a non-hierarchical federation of 21 member municipalities and one electoral area (8 2002 GVRD SR).3 Through the GVRD, 2 In general, Canada enjoys a surplus of natural capital, with a biocapacity of approximately 14 hectares per capita. For reference, this represents a biocapacity of almost 7.5 times what is available to the other six billion people on earth (6 Anielski 2004). 5 The GVRD is referred to as a single organization by this study but is in fact a body of three legal entities: the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD), the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District (GVS&DD), and the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The former two own and command water storage lakes, pumping stations, water mains, air quality monitoring stations, wastewater treatment plants, sanitary sewers, solid waste transfer 5 the provincial energy utility BC Hydro, and senior governments, Greater Vancouver is also bound together by shared infrastructure that sustains its economic base (2 BCBC 2002). According to the Business Council of BC, the region is modestly under-performing economically within the Canadian context (2 BCBC 2002); however, future economic scenarios created by Urban Futures (I 2003) predict modest economic growth over the next thirty years." An employment distribution scenario created by Urban Futures (2003) relates the relative contribution of each municipality to regional economic activity and makes projections for the contribution of each towards future economic growth. On the basis of 2001 data, Vancouver provides approximately 36% of the region's employment, with Richmond at 12% and Burnaby at 11 % (15 UFI II 2003). By 2031, Vancouver is expected to offer 23% more employment, Richmond 37%, and Burnaby an additional 38% (15 UFI II 2003). The model predicts that Vancouver will continue to drive the regional economy over the next three decades. There is no indication that private and public sector actors in the region will address alternative economic models that are more ecologically sustainable in the same timeframe, which also indicates that regional consumption patterns are unlikely to meet global reduction targets for the developed north. 1.32 R E G I O N A L C O N S U M P T I O N . The Greater Vancouver region is characterized by an ecological footprint roughly nineteen times its land area (86 Wackernagel and Rees 1996). It is estimated that the average Canadian requires six to eight hectares of productive land to support his or her consumer lifestyle; as a point of reference, the average human ecological footprint is estimated between 2.2 to 2.8 hectares, given that citizens of the world's poorest countries have average ecological footprints of less than half a hectare (WWF 2004; 12 Rees 2001). These figures clearly demonstrate the scale at which consumer lifestyles must be recalibrated. Put another way, if every person alive today consumed at the rate of an average person in the Greater Vancouver region, almost four more planets would be required to supply the demand (Rees 2004, pers. comm.) . 5 Other jurisdictions have shown that this consumption is excessive: some developed Northern European countries in similar climatic conditions as British Columbia have managed to use 10% the energy as provincial residents do (9-3 Van. SOER 1995). Moreover, by 2031, the region's moderate stations, a landfill, and a Waste-to-Energy facility (GVRD SR 2002). The latter is responsible for regional growth, air quality, parks and related functions. 4 Urban Futures (UFI) analysts suggest that the combined influence of the projected population and changing demographics could fuel Greater Vancouver's labor force to grow between 30 to 36% over the next three decades. The scenario suggests that there will be a constraint in the range of one percent per year on employment growth, with any economic growth beyond this level relying on increases in productivity (viii UFI I 2003). s This assessment is based on average consumption in the United States. Canadian consumption patterns are relatively close to the US, and given that this is a very general measure, the approximation stands (15 Nierenberg and MacDonald 2004). 6 economic growth and rising population will drive the construction of nearly a fifth of a million additional housing units in Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby alone (5 UFI II 2003).6 1.33 R E G I O N A L P O P U L A T I O N . Managing demographic change promises to be one of the most important sustainability issues in the region in the future, given that the future needs and services demanded by the region's population in 2031 will be greater overall and considerably different from the requirements of current residents. Currently, there are approximately two million people who enjoy the region's reputation as one of the most desirable places in the world to live.7 A model created by Urban Futures projects population for the Greater Vancouver Regional District to be just under three million by 2031, representing projected total growth of 44%.8 Taken together, Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby represent almost half of the population (46.2%) of the Greater Vancouver region, on 12% of its geographical area.9 None of these study municipalities are expected to take the majority of this growth, though each may expand between 20-45%.'° The population over the age of 65 is expected to double relative to the number of people of working age." 6 Urban Futures (UFI) divided the Greater Vancouver region into eight "sub-regions" that follow jurisdictional boundaries (1 UFI I 2003) to model population rather than 21 member municipalities. UFI then created predictive scenarios of sub-regional population distribution (1 I 2003) based on life cycle trend analysis. First, the capacity of the existing housing stock in a sub-region to accommodate people was identified. The capacity of this stock was compared to the future housing demands of the sub-region's current population to identify both (a) the requirement for different forms of housing, and (b) the potential for the sub-region to accommodate additional population. In turn, this demonstrates the extent to which net new housing stock is required to accommodate projected population. The sub-regional distribution of housing indicates the distribution of population across Greater Vancouver and its sub-regions. ' The best available population estimate for the Greater Vancouver region (GVRD) is 2,126,806 (27 Urban Futures II 2003). The Mercer Human Resource Consulting Overall Quality of Life Report gave the GVRD a second place ranking overall in the world (iv GVRD SR 2003). Zurich, Switzerland was rated first, and the GVRD tied with Geneva and Vienna for second place. 8 The UFI reports use a "continuing recent trends" distribution scenario methodology to make predictions about housing, population and employment in eight sub-areas (based on municipal boundaries) of the Greater Vancouver Regional District over the next three decades (2001-2031). The methodology first accounts for demographic change of the current (2001 's) residents in each sub-area and their future pattern of occupancy demand by structure type (ground-oriented and apartment) as they age through the lifecycle of housing maintainership. The next step allocates growth in regional housing occupancy demand to the existing housing stock already in each sub-area, with net additions based on the regional pattern of development as indicated by annual housing starts data for the past two decades. The reports rely on 2001 Canadian Census data (1 UFI II 2003). 5 Vancouver occupies 11,309 ha, or 4%, of the GVRD's land area of 275,681 ha and is anticipated to expand its current population of 545,671 by 21 % by 2031. Richmond occupies 12,420 ha, or 4.5% of the GVRD's land area and is anticipated to expand its current population of 164,345 by 45% by 2031. Finally, Burnaby occupies 8,845 ha, or 3%, of the GVRD's land area and is anticipated to expand its current population of 193,954 by 44% by 2031. '° Of the 909,000 additional residents projected for the GVRD over the coming three decades, it is estimated that the most rapidly growing area within the GVRD will be the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge sub-region. The Surrey-White Rock sub-region is predicted to see the greatest absolute growth at 252,000 new residents or 28% of overall regional growth (17 Urban Futures II 2003). " This population scenario for the GVRD shows the 65 plus population increasing by 425,000 people (from 12% to 22%) over the next thirty years due to increasing life expectancies, continued immigration, and the ongoing aging of GVRD residents (22 Urban Futures I 2003). 7 While each municipality and the regional district can expect to see variable impacts in the future, all share the overall economic, consumption, and population dynamics that are typical of the developed north. The expansionist economic worldview and the economic institutions that support it can be expected to remain dominant over the next three decades, underlining the need for a strategic approach to ecological sustainability that can begin breaking down the barriers to a more sustainable way of life. 1.4 TOWARDS A REGIONAL SUSTAINABILITY SOLUTION. A clear understanding of the solutions required at the global scale is needed to direct ecological sustainability efforts at a local and regional scale and calibrate them to the institutions that have a strategic opportunity to make a difference. Jepson Jr. (2004) posits that the long-standing arguments of ecological economics have been unable to challenge the dominance of the economic expansionist worldview and that integrating the ecological worldview into the institutional realm affords the major opportunity for change (7 2004). He argues that public and social institutions can and should influence the development of more sustainable values and beliefs in citizens to set in motion a feedback cycle wherein civil society transforms the "working rules" of economic institutions over time (Jepson jr. 2004). Even while institutions begin the often slow process of internal shift, sustainability practitioners remain tasked with lowering human population everywhere, and reducing fossil fuel-based energy and material consumption and waste production by 50% over the next several decades (5 Rees 2000).12 Furthermore, if allowances are made for necessary growth in the developing world and the needs of an additional three to four billion people on the planet, practitioners in the industrialized north face the monumental task of influencing their communities to reduce their consumption by 80-90% (5 Rees 2000). With this global diagnostic in hand, and a strategic awareness of his or her regional sustainability conditions, the local and regional government sustainability practitioner is tasked with setting out practical ecological sustainability targets within the institution's jurisdiction and a process of systematic change within the institution itself. Jepson Jr. cautions against the common pitfalls of expecting too much, relying solely on expert reasoning, or triggering risk-averse responses in colleagues (9 2004); on the other hand, a process is needed that is grounded in science while respecting its limits, focused on the needs, concerns, and positive potential of people, and rigorous enough to contribute to the attainment of meaningful objectives. As a first step in meeting this challenge, I argue that practitioners should understand ecological sustainability as an end condition and responsibility as the organizing principle of change. 1 2 The term 'practitioner' is used rather than 'planner' to reflect the fact that many practitioners take on a planning function as part of their municipal or regional responsibilities. 8 1.5 CORPORATE ECOLOGICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOCAL & REGIONAL GOVERNMENT. Institutional organizations like local and regional governments can and should evolve and adapt to become more ecologically sustainable by degrees as their focus sharpens and commitment strengthens; however, as a primary but often overlooked step, they need an understanding of their change strategy. The "buzz words" of dematerialization and energy efficiency may be used without a strategic understanding of how they relate to two broad organizing principles or strategies: technological innovation and responsibility. 1 . 5 1 T E C H N O L O G I C A L I N N O V A T I O N A N D RE S P O N S I B I L I T Y . While the technology strategy emphasizes innovation, the responsibility strategy prizes voluntary simplicity and husbandry. Taking behavioral responsibility for attaining reduction targets involves encouraging more resourceful use of materials and energy and purchasing less, and more ecologically responsible, supplies. I posit that technological and design innovation is an important strategy, so long as it is subordinated to an overarching culture of corporate responsibility: market-driven technology alone cannot solve the sustainability dilemma. Technological innovation is typically favored in the economic context of market capitalism as the source of solutions to the sustainability dilemma. This is not a new phenomenon: since industrialization and the wealth it created, an unbounded optimism about the supply of natural resources and the capabilities of science to continually provide technological solutions to scarcity has characterized North American culture in particular (45 Wilson 1988). E.O. Wilson further argues that wealth from industrialization has prevented widespread critical review and revision of the assumptions underlying economic growth and the development of more integrated and responsive institutions (45 1988). In any case, a range of efficiency and dematerialization strategies have been developed to produce products that reduce energy use, reduce the amount of material (especially virgin material) used in manufactured goods, and to increase the quality and longevity of service that the good is designed to provide. Operational and production techniques have been created to serve as guidelines for making better products; some of these include product stewardship, design for the environment, the eco-efficiency management strategy, and cleaner production. These initiatives all involve systematically combining a series of successive savings in materials and energy at different parts of the value chain from resource extraction through every intermediate step of processing and transportation, to final delivery and ultimately recovery of discarded energy and materials. The fundamental point is that each of these initiatives is based on the notion that achieving better ecological performance can be compatible with, and even complementary to a firm's ultimate goal of earning more profit, increased growth, and competitiveness in the market. 9 Extreme proponents of this strategy have suggested that efficiency gains are capable of rescuing the planet from the ecological consequences of growth 1 9°. On the contrary, studies have demonstrated that generalized efficiency gains throughout the economy can result in higher incomes chasing cheaper goods and services.13 Individuals and firms tend to respond to efficiency savings by using more of a good or service and/or redirecting savings to alternative forms of consumption, which counterproductively results in a net increase in gross consumption (4 Rees 2001; WRI 2004). These findings clearly demonstrate that a responsibility strategy is required to pursue meaningful and enduring change. 1.52 C O R P O R A T E RESPONSIBILITY T H R O U G H T E C H N O L O G I C A L I N N O V A T I O N ? In an irony of public discourse, a global movement has adopted responsibility as an organizing principle and strategy for sustainability while largely pursuing market-driven technological innovation and economic growth. Echoing Jepson's comment on the term sustainability, responsibility has become so vague in meaning to protect the dominance of economic growth and consumption while referencing (without necessarily furthering) the yearnings of voluntary simplicity. Corporate Responsibility (CR) as a movement began in the early 1990s within the realm of private enterprise as a philosophy that firms and institutions have a responsibility to ensure that their business practices do not undermine social and ecological systems locally or globally (6 SustainAbility 2004). CR represents a major departure from the conventional accounting focus on a single bottom line of profit and loss to describe the performance of corporations in use since the 1500s (6 SustainAbility 2004). The origin of the movement was driven both by external forces, such as increasing government and consumer expectations, and the internal opportunities for efficiency and cost reduction in the form of higher profit margins, lowered liability risks for wastes and toxins, and labor or human rights issues. Conventional CR promises firms a good public image and brand identity in the marketplace, where they expect to gain a competitive advantage, and a higher profit, by providing emerging socially aware markets with innovative and responsible products and services. As such, CR subscribes to a shallow understanding of sustainability that does not question the market capitalist assumption of unlimited economic growth, nor address the causal link between human economic and consumptive activity and ecosystem degradation. ' In 1865, Jevons observed that the economical use of fuel did not equate to diminished consumption, but rather accelerated it. A contemporary study of five sophisticated economies over 1975-1996 demonstrated that resource savings realized from efficiency gains and economic restructuring were negated by population growth and increased per capita consumption (cited in 4 Rees 2001). 10 1.53 E M P H A S I Z I N G RESPONSIBILITY IN L O C A L & R E G I O N A L G O V E R N M E N T . While the concept and conventional application of Corporate Responsibility has failed to attain its full potential and has even subverted the importance of voluntary simplicity, I argue that the term should be repatriated rather than rejected. Like sustainability, corporate responsibility has also triumphed in the battle of big public ideas, and now work must be done to make it meaningful in ecological and practical terms. Despite its lack of depth in economic and ecological analysis, the Corporate Responsibility movement has generated prolific and detailed research on institutional change and management effectiveness. The literature proposes two main strategies: (1) leadership through sponsoring other organizations and individuals who are contributing to sustainability, and (2) leadership by example, in which firms or institutions model social and ecological values in their own organizations and operations (WBCSD 2004).'4 I posit that the leadership by example strategy of Corporate Responsibility can be successfully applied to the local and regional government sectors as an organizing principle for action on ecological sustainability. The concept can be used to direct efforts to build a culture of responsibility from politicians to practitioners so that local and regional governments demonstrate how sustainable material and energy use targets can be attained in their own operations. Corporate Responsibility is particularly appropriate for the local and regional government sectors for two main reasons. The first, and seldom recognized, is that un-sustainability, or increasing ecological scarcity, is likely to threaten political stability and the viability of government (42 Homer-Dixon 1999). Homer-Dixon argues that scarcity causes social friction, a concept he defines as competition among powerful groups and elites to protect their narrow interests. This social friction impedes the ingenuity and adaptation of institutions to remedy the ecological degradation that characterizes un-sustainability (42).15 Secondly, unlike private sector firms, governments are democratic entities with a fiduciary duty to plan for the future in order to safeguard human health and ecological integrity. Local and regional government planners, in particular, are professionally concerned with responding in a forward-thinking manner to the local symptoms of global sustainability problems, recognizing that all facets of planning for the welfare of humans have effects on ecological processes (Dubos 1981; Beatley 1998 cited in 505 Jepson Jr. 2001). Recasting the issue in recognition of the interdependence between humans and ecosystems, legal theorist Andrew Gage argues that ecological protection is related to the public right to life, liberty, and security of person (2003). Beyond the basic fact that humans require water, air, and food from productive land to survive, research has shown that the increasing amount of human-made " This often takes the form of grants and scholarships for innovative research and development and donations for community and environmental projects and services. 1 5 Homer-Dixon includes technology in his theory of adaptive failure. Scarcity can hinder institutional and technological adaptation. Rather than inspiring the wave of ingenuity predicted by economic optimists, environmental scarcity instead sometimes reduces the supply of ingenuity available in society (42). 11 substances, especia l ly those that are acute ly tox ic , persistent, b io -accumu la t i ve , ca rc inogen ic , mu tagen i c , a n d endoc r ine -d i s rup t ing (6 B o y d 2 0 0 4 ) , pose major threats to h u m a n hea l th . Local a n d reg iona l gove rnmen ts that strive for eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty targets also con t r ibu te to ful f i l l ing their pub l i c trust responsibi l i t ies in heal th a n d ecosys tem m a n a g e m e n t . Local a n d reg iona l gove rnmen ts have tr ipart i te roles as regulators, service prov iders , a n d corpora t ions ; the co rpo ra te role exists for the sole purpose of car ry ing out o ther roles a n d prov ides the f ounda t i on for successful ly d o i n g so . M o r e o v e r , each of these roles presents oppor tun i t i es for m a k i n g sustainabi l i ty progress. Howeve r , local and reg ional gove rnmen ts also have l imi tat ions o n h o w they can take effective ac t ion t o w a r d eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty. They rema in legal ly and pol i t ical ly subord ina te to prov inc ia l and federal g o v e r n m e n t s a n d econom ica l l y to the pervasive in f luence of g loba l i zed in ternat iona l t rade. In c h o o s i n g a sustainabi l i ty strategy, these inst i tut ions c a n n o t cons ider d i rect ly extra- jur isdict ional concerns , t h o u g h they can seek to exert in f luence o n t h e m for strategic purposes . The leadersh ip by e x a m p l e strategy of the C o r p o r a t e Responsib i l i ty m o d e l d e m a n d s that the corpora te role of a local or reg iona l sustainabi l i ty pract i t ioner is the log ica l start ing po in t for ac t ion o n sustainabi l i ty . In Greater Vancouve r , local a n d reg ional gove rnmen ts have a key oppo r tun i t y to harness the insights f r o m the C o r p o r a t e Responsib i l i ty m o v e m e n t , g r o u n d t h e m in the eco log ica l sustainabi l i ty f ramework , a n d take a lead corpora te role in advanc ing a cul tural shift towards sustainabi l i ty in their jur isdict ions. T h e func t iona l jur isd ict ion of local gove rnmen ts in the reg ion is enshr ined in the prov inc ia l Community Charter a n d , in the case of the C i t y of Vancouver , the Vancouver Charter. Each mun ic ipa l i t y has a M a y o r a n d C o u n c i l e lec ted democra t i ca l l y o n a three-year cyc le o n the basis of representa t ion by p o p u l a t i o n ; V a n c o u v e r C i t y C o u n c i l compr ises the M a y o r a n d ten Counc i l o r s , wh i l e R i c h m o n d a n d Burnaby are each ind iv idua l ly g o v e r n e d by a M a y o r and e ight Counc i l o r s . The Greater V a n c o u v e r Reg iona l Distr ict ( G V R D ) has a un ique func t i on to p rov ide services to its m e m b e r munic ipa l i t ies , a n d munic ipa l i t ies del iver services to the taxpayer . These services ma in ly take the fo rm of ut i l i ty p rov is ion , name l y d r i nk ing water , sewage t rea tment a n d sol id was te d isposa l . In add i t i on , the G V R D prov ides the strategic f r amework for reg ional g r o w t h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t and manages a po l icy and regulatory f ramework for reg ional air qual i ty and po l lu t ion con t ro l . The G V R D has on ly indi rect jur isd ict ion over energy- re la ted issues in its m a n d a t e to m a n a g e reg iona l air qual i ty a n d increasingly , g reenhouse gas emiss ions. M e m b e r munic ipa l i t ies a n d o n e e lectora l area f o r m the G V R D ' s g o v e r n i n g Board of Di rectors o n the basis of representat ion by p o p u l a t i o n . ' 6 As such , Vancouver , R i c h m o n d , a n d Burnaby are act ive par t ic ipants in the gove rnance of the Greater Vancouve r reg ion and he lp set the d i rec t ion of the G V R D by their pol i t ica l representat ion o n 1 6 The number of Directors per municipality depends on the population of that municipality, as well as the weighting of each Director's vote. Each Director, an elected mayor or councilor, exercises one vote for every 20,000 population, to a maximum of five votes, capped at 100,000. Every municipality in the GVRD is represented on the Board, as is the electoral area, which elects a director to serve on the board for a three-year term. Thus, municipalities with large populations (such as the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam) have more than one director. One municipality, Abbotsford, is a member of the GVRD for the parks function only (GVRD 2004). 12 the GVRD Board. In turn, the GVRD exerts significant informal influence and coordinative capacity among its member municipalities. 1 . 5 4 C E R T H R O U G H D E M A T E R I A L I Z A T I O N A N D E N E R G Y E F F I C I E N C Y . With an eye to these jurisdictional niches and the prevailing political context of support for economic growth, the sustainability practitioner must investigate how to assist the local or regional government in becoming less material and energy intensive. In Greater Vancouver, addressing corporate consumption and waste production provide the strongest opportunities for local and regional governments to show leadership on sustainability. Due to limitations on the scope of research, this study will only address waste issues insofar as they are included in stories about procurement." In general, local and regional governments can take two approaches to reducing consumption of materials, water, and energy: supply side management and demand side management. The former is largely the realm of purchasing and planning and the latter with operations, maintenance, and behavioral training. Supply side management is concerned with making best value purchases that satisfy the multiple criteria of an organization's needs and preferences. Demand side management (DSM) involves educating individuals about the choices available to them and the ecological impacts of those choices. A successful DSM program can reduce and/or postpone the need for supply. DSM can also be effectively embedded within supply side management in the form of performance specifications or criteria that request more efficient and less wasteful and/or harmful products and services. In theory, supply and demand side management approaches are closely related. While conventionally dealt with as independent activities in practice, supply and demand side management objectives can work in tandem to achieve ecological sustainability targets. 1.6 OPERATIONALIZINC CER THROUGH SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT. Sustainability performance management is a process for "working out the details" of how an organization can employ dematerialization and energy efficiency as strategies for taking corporate ecological responsibility for action towards sustainability. The review of the literature thus far demonstrates that the corporate ecological responsibility model is a suitable instrument to organize the reduction of materials and energy and thus drive local and regional governments as corporations toward the destination of ecological sustainability. It sounds simple in theory, but it is well known that the planning context is characterized by ambiguous and poorly defined problems, incomplete information about alternatives, and limited time, skills, and resources. A strategic, systemic, and sensitive approach is " More specifically, the study considers stories about waste production and the management of waste as part of descriptions of "organizational culture" within study organizations but does not include waste production and waste management in the scoring system for system components or principles of sustainability performance management. The latter is discussed in detail in the remainder of Part I. 13 needed to assist practitioners in communicating about what they are trying to do and how they are trying to do it, nor measure their efforts in the challenging planning context over time to ensure their organization's change is effective and enduring. A survey of the literature on local and regional government management reveals that a systemic and strategic method to pursue corporate ecological sustainability in a North American jurisdiction has not yet been advanced or implemented. Over the past five years, the major North American planning journals have showcased research on corporate performance, or outcomes-based, management and evaluation for local and regional government, but not in relation to attaining ecological sustainability objectives.18 On the other hand, discussions of sustainability performance have been initiated, but not yet in relation to measuring corporate activity, and not within a model of corporate responsibility. In 1999, Theodore Poister and Gregory Streib surveyed American cities to determine the extent to which performance management had become integrated into contemporary local government management to find that many local governments share a strong commitment to the effective use of performance measurements. Later, in 2001, David Ammons introduced an approach to performance management in local government based on setting targets and performance milestones, but with a comprehensive scope that encompassed municipal operations from animal control to police services. In 2002, C. Heinrich focused on the American federal public sector in his research of whether reliance on outcomes rather than program activity provided better information for management. He determined that measures of both were useful - the former for accurate estimates of program impacts, and the latter for leveraging better organizational performance (Heinrich 2002). A Canadian study by Mark Seasons (2003) focused on how organizational culture affects corporate monitoring and evaluation in local government, determining that significant obstacles such as the competition for limited resources often stand in the way. Another 2003 study by Ross Rubenstein et al examined the nature of the performance measures used to find that measures specifically adjusted to specific organizational and contextual conditions were technically superior to "raw" measures. Collectively, the research to date on performance management highlights that it is generally accepted as a management style for local and regional government in North America. Moreover, the research suggests that a performance management system should include technical elements such as targets, milestones, outcomes, and a monitoring and evaluation regimen, as well as softer considerations of the organizational culture and contextual conditions that influence program activity. On the other hand, a survey of the journal literature on local and regional government and sustainability reveals that research on measuring sustainability at the local and regional level has become popular but not yet applied corporately, aligned with performance management, or integrated into supply and The Journal of Planning Literature, the Journal of the American Planning Association, and Plan Canada. 14 demand side management. Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in 1992, the sustainability agenda has moved from national governments to local authorities (Lafferty and Eckerberg 1998; Ethier 2002). The conference introduced a sustainability agenda called the "Local Agenda 21", which focuses on changing lifestyles, production, consumption, and land-use patterns. The weight of research and practice to date has been focused on the land use agenda item in the form of community based growth management and "smart growth."19 As one important example, Philip Berke and Maria Conroy (2000) undertook a study of thirty community-based (rather than corporate) comprehensive plans to determine the influence of sustainability as an organizing principle. They defined a set of local sustainability principles that addressed land use, regulation, and economic issues in the community, but did not address reduced consumption through managing supply and demand. Their discovery that plans which integrate sustainability as a concept did not significantly differ from plans that do not led them to conclude that sustainability was not effective as an organizing principle; however, they did not go so far as to suggest sustainability may be more effectively considered a destination or end condition (26 Berke & Conroy 2000).20 In fact, the professional conversation on measuring sustainability has largely emphasized means of including sustainability or sustainability assessment, usually by indicators, in the planning or decision-making process rather than setting up a systemic means to track progress towards ecological sustainability as an end (Button 2002; Foxon et al 2002). As far as systematically organizing sustainability efforts is concerned, the North American literature has focused on the community, rather than the corporation, as the unit of analysis. Simon Bell and Stephen Morse (1999; 2003) and Okechukwu Ukaga and Chris Maser (2003) pioneered models for a local community-based planning process based on the use of sustainability indicators. In 2004, Kent Portnay pushed farthest in developing a "seriousness index" to analyze 24 American cities most reknowned for their sustainability efforts in order to determine how cities have planned for, implemented programs and policies, and measured progress towards what he terms environmental sustainability in their communities. As a brief note, European researchers have blazed a trail into corporate sustainability at the policy level; most notably, William Lafferty and Katrina Eckerberg (1998) have looked at the integration of environmental and sustainability policies into all functions of local government in European countries. Collectively, then, the research to date on North American local and regional government sustainability highlights the community as the focus of change efforts; moreover, while indicators, programs, and 1 9 Smart growth, also known as "new urbanism", proposes that neighborhoods, towns, and cities can be physically re-designed to produce more ecologically and socially responsible communities. New designs are proposed to accord with the context of a natural region and are based on eco-efficient technological innovation in buildings and infrastructure. 2 0 Based on a European study, Timothy O'Riordan and Heather Voisey argued that planners and politicians should use sustainability as an organizing principle, rather than a state to attain, in a context that embraces both ecological protection and economic growth (1998). 1 5 policies are identified in isolation as means of measuring and implementing sustainability efforts, they remain disconnected from the targets, milestones, outcomes, monitoring and evaluation, and attention to organizational culture that characterize successful performance management systems. 1.7 THE SUSTAINABILITY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (SPMS) MODEL. In this section I advance a new model of a management system to fill an important gap in the research to date on North American local and regional government sustainability efforts: a strategic, systemic, and sensitive approach for corporate leadership on attaining meaningful and measurable ecological sustainability milestones. I have termed this model the Sustainability Performance Management System (SPMS) as it provides a specific structure of components and principles to guide systemic progress towards strategic ecological sustainability milestones. In order to have optimal systemic effectiveness, a SPM system must have distinctive components that are both individually developed and meaningfully linked together in an adaptive feedback cycle. I propose that each component, and the system as a whole, should be informed by five fundamental sustainability management principles that are outlined later in this Part. Organizational capacity, particularly in the form of human resources and structural organization, is also necessary for developing and maintaining an effective SPMS. Finally, there must be both a formal commitment on the part of the organization to the management system and an informal culture of support for the management system and its milestones across the organization. The remainder of this Part will discuss each of these components, principles, and organizational conditions in detail. 1 . 7 1 T H E S T R U C T U R E O F A S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T S Y S T E M . A systematic approach to sustainability performance management infuses management with coherence, thoroughness, and regularity. A systematic approach should be carefully differentiated from a comprehensive approach, which refers to the attempt to be inclusive and cover a broad scope of application. There are four basic components of a management system: (1) a framework, (2) tools, (3) an information system, and (4) a reporting function (105 MELP 1998). While each component of a SPMS serves an important individual function, it also has an adaptive intelligence for other components in the system. For this reason, the degree of cohesion or linkage between system components is as important as an individual component. The management system as a whole forms a continual feedback loop between each of its components, where performance tools are selected on the basis of their suitability to achieve the targets espoused by the management framework, an information system collates data collected on performance achieved by use of the tools, a reporting function culls the most pertinent information from the information system for formal communications purposes, and the framework is adapted on the basis of the report and feedback from its review. The system and its 16 components are illustrated in the following diagram: P E R F O R M A N C E T O O L S M A N A G E M E N T F R A M E W O R K I N F O R M A T I O N S Y S T E M R E P O R T I N G & C O M M U N I C A T I O N Figure 1-1 Management System Components 1 . 7 1 1 M A N A G E M E N T F R A M E W O R K . The purpose of a sustainability performance management framework is to clearly define its application for the corporation, articulate a strategic focus on one or more root causes of un-sustainability, lay out objectives that describe how the system will work within its jurisdiction to remedy or reverse one or more of these causes, and specify measurable targets for achievement. A framework may take the form of a corporate strategy, vision, or plan. Alternatively, a corporate framework may be embedded in a strategy, vision, or plan for broader application in the community or region. A World Bank and Environics International survey in 2002 found that two-thirds of sustainability experts polled believe that the most effective action governments could take on sustainability is the declaration of a long term, time-specific, and properly resourced national sustainability plan with measurable milestones (17 Bell and Morse 1999) . An objective defines what matters in a decision context and should be both measurable and meaningful to those who use them (299 McDaniels 2000) . 2 I Objectives have three basic components: an 'object' (what is being valued), a direction of preference, and a decision context (302 McDaniels 2000). A target describes the measurable qualitative and quantitative dimensions of the state that meets the conditions of an objective or set of objectives. With the rapid proliferation and popularity of specific performance " In this study, the terms "objective" and "goal" are used interchangeably, as the Miriam Webster dictionary attributes the same meaning for each, namely, "the terminal point or end toward which effort is directed" (Miriam Webster 2004). A set of objectives should cover everything that matters in making the decision and should only involve ends that can be somehow controlled or influenced by the choice among the alternatives (302 McDaniels 2000) . 17 tools, there is a tendency for the tools to drive and even structure the management process. On the contrary, the framework should be used to ensure that tools chosen have significant materiality or potential impact and are capable of achieving sustainability targets of total and per capita reductions in the consumption of materials and energy, and that multiple tools are streamlined and synchronized for optimum performance." An important issue for the choice of management framework is political acceptability or popularity. What may seem scientifically or technically accurate to practitioners may not be compelling to decision-makers or the public at a given point in time. Political support is vital to ensuring that a SPMS endures over time. As an example, energy efficiency and climate change are both common frameworks that resonate to varying degrees with the ecological sustainability framework. In practice, tradeoffs are often made between ideal scope and priorities, and the messaging that is likely to earn the greatest political mileage and support. 1 . 7 1 2 P E R F O R M A N C E T O O L S . Performance tools encompass the entire range of implementation vehicles that act and operate toward the achievement of the objectives and targets laid out in the management framework. Tools may take the form of guidelines, policies, resolutions, bylaws, programs, workshops, websites, and literature. The use of strategy allows for a tight focus and deployment of limited resources on what matters most at a given point in time out of what may be a dizzying range of attractive, interesting, or fashionable possibilities. 1.7121 STRATEGIC SELECTION OF PERFORMANCE TOOLS. I have demonstrated that the strategic opportunity for local and regional governments in Greater Vancouver to dematerialize and become more energy efficient is through coordinating the operational realms of corporate supply and demand side management. To date, the rapid development of sustainability-packaged tools of all types in local and regional government contexts that lack consensus on the nature of the sustainability dilemma has resulted in disjointed and piecemeal approaches to DSM and SSM. It is common for a public institution to have a broad and checkered range of tools that have been adopted over time with no indication of their relative priority. In particular, supply side and demand side management activities are often designed and implemented independently and not synergized for optimal ecological gains. Moreover, in some local and regional governments, DSM and SSM activities have been added on to programs with a strategic focus on environmental protection. While the integrity of ecosystems are at " Materiality is the term used for critical substantive issues and comes out of the financial accounting tradition: "something is material if it has the potential to affect your perception of the company and any decisions you might take as a result" (36 SustainAbility 2004). In this study, materiality is defined as a scope and specificity of action that has the potential to contribute to greater ecological sustainability in the immediate, short, and long terms. 18 the heart of both environmental protection (shallow sustainability) and ecological sustainability, I argue that managing for environmental protection and managing for sustainability are distinct activities with different purposes and strategies. This view falls on the ecological sustainability side of the fault line between ecological and shallow concepts of sustainability; as an example of the latter, Bell and Morse (1999; 2003) argue that the main difference between measuring the environment and sustainability is in the scope of the management system, rather than the strategic focus on human behavior. While environmental protection focuses directly on ecological conditions at the site, neighborhood, community, or regional level, ecological sustainability management focuses strategically on the underlying intermediate human causes of consumption and waste management that amounts to the entire network of lifestyle choices. In the latter, the sourcing, use, and disposal of materials, water, and energy should be linked to measurement, even by qualitative assessment, of ecological integrity at local, regional and global scales. This strategic difference should determine the selection and substance of what is included and how it is framed in all components of the performance management regime. Even performance tools that strategically focus on consumption and waste management differ in their degree of materiality or impact; in general, the more that tools are informed by the objectives and aligned with overall SPMS targets, the better they are likely to perform. Like the SPMS as a whole, the effectiveness of performance tools depends on organizational capacity, and the formal organizational commitment and informal culture of support for implementing them. The SPMS should articulate a clear basis of priority among tools and thus avoids conflicts between objectives (306 McCuiness et al 2002). Disparate tools should be strategically alignment to serve the common purpose articulated by the management framework, in order to ensure that they work together to achieve ecological sustainability targets. Supply side management is typically implemented through a purchasing tool or assessment framework, while demand side management is administered primarily through purchasing and education. Though often handled separately, DSM and SSM are mutually supportive: ecologically preferred supplies may reduce demand on energy, water, and materials, and DSM programs can promote efficiency and reduce or slow the need for additional supplies and infrastructure. Although a range of performance tools might be suitable for local and regional governments interested in adopting a supply and demand side management strategy, I argue that ecologically responsible purchasing and building offers one of the best opportunities for local and regional governments in Greater Vancouver at the present time. 1.7122 ECOLOGICALLY RESPONSIBLE PURCHASING & BUILDING. An ecologically responsible purchasing policy or program should provide direction on improving the efficiency of the procurement process and using relevant assessment tools, certification programs, accounting methods, and/or product-specific guidelines. In general terms, ecologically preferable products are defined as those that have minimal negative effects on human health and the environment 19 when compared to similar products in the same product category. One of the most important issues is the scope and materiality or impact of the policy or program. It has been fashionable in Canada for ecologically purchasing policies to cover products and services that are typically categorized as "corporate purchases": paper, coffee, cleaning products, and even apparel. I argue that an ecologically responsible purchasing policy or program should be sanctioned by council to include within its scope the development of ecologically responsible corporate facilities to serve the framework's corporate ecological sustainability objectives." Ecologically responsible facility development projects serve similar SSM and DSM objectives and targets at a larger scale, for the construction, maintenance, and space heating, cooling, and lighting of buildings have even greater materiality or impact on sustainability.24 Buildings are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, produce air pollutants, generate solid and liquid waste, and consume large quantities of energy, materials, and regional land and water supply. In fact, approximately 40% of the energy and material thoroughput of the world economy are the result of the building sector (ASMI 1999 cited in v Woolliams 1999). Breaking it down further, current estimates hold that buildings are responsible for using the following global resources (City of Seattle cited in 1 Kelley 2002): 40% of global energy consumption; 30% of global raw materials (and 25% of global timber harvests); 35% of global C02 emissions; 16% of fresh water withdrawal; 40% of municipal solid waste; and, 50% of still- in-use ozone-depleting CFCs. In fact, both the building and transportation sectors individually account for 30% of all global energy use and are growing rapidly across the globe (WWI 2004). Anielski (2004) reports that energy demand makes up the largest portion of Canada's ecological footprint, at 55%; while transportation comprises 35% of total energy use, buildings follow closely at 27% (7 2004). However, in British Columbia, cities have far more control over building development than transportation management in their " There are many interchangeable terms for this concept: green purchasing, environmental purchasing, environmentally-responsible purchasing, green procurement, environmental procurement, environmentally-responsible procurement. There is no universal definition of this concept. The concept of green, ethical, sustainable purchasing denotes a range of considerations that, to differing degrees, encompass some or all of: conventional financial concerns of best value for money (price and quality), availability, and functionality; environmental protection and life cycle impacts; and, ethical issues of labor and human rights and standards, poverty eradication, and fair trade (Vancouver EPP Report 2004). Purchasing policies that encompass "secondary objectives" such as ecological objectives are sometimes passed by resolution or bylaw by municipal councils, but are usually drawn up as policies within administration without legislative base. A policy may take a variety of forms, from a checklist of considerations, to a set performance guidelines or targets, to a resolution to approve certain types of contracting, to a bylaw with prescriptive directives or a combination thereof. 2* There are many interchangeable words for this concept: "green buildings", "sustainable buildings", "energy efficient buildings" and "high performance buildings" are a few of the most common in Greater Vancouver. A civic building or corporate facility is defined in this study as a building owned and funded at least in part by a municipality or regional district. 20 communities.25 Demonstrating leadership in managing corporate supply and demand for buildings effectively and tracking the ecological performance of buildings, then, is a strategic opportunity for local and regional governments. Moreover, growth predictions for Greater Vancouver indicate that the sooner local and regional governments lead the private development community, the better. Over the next thirty years, the City of Vancouver's housing stock is expected to grow by 34%, Burnaby's by 62%, and Richmond's by 65%.26 This projected growth will bring about correlative increases in materials, water, and energy consumption that each study institution will be tasked with managing as effectively as possible (3 UFI II 2003). Over the last twenty years, innovators from many professions have demonstrated that there is major opportunity for dematerialization and energy efficiency in building construction, operation, and maintenance (Braungart and McDonough 2005; Woolliams 1999). Technological advances have been infused into a proliferation of new and more efficient products, devices, and systems for waste management, use of renewable energy sources, controlled heating and lighting, among other things (CAGBC 2004). A body of knowledge exists on how to apply technology with design to retrofit existing buildings and plan, design, and construct more ecologically responsible alternatives to conventional buildings. Depending on the design strategies and technologies employed, buildings may perform above standard in preventing pollution, including greenhouse gases and other air emissions, conserving energy and water, using renewable sources of energy, reducing wastewater and storm water flows, reusing and recycling materials, and producing less waste during construction, demolition and operation, in addition to other benefits. The overall ecological performance of buildings is optimal when design and technology solutions are partnered with behavioral strategies to reduce demand for energy and water and to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. With existing expertise and technology, it is now possible to produce buildings that use 60% less energy, consume 30% less water and associated reduced waste water discharges, and produce 75% less waste during construction or demolition (CAGBC 2005). 1.7123 ECOLOGICAL PERFORMANCE IN NEW St RETROFIT BUILDING PROJECTS. In general terms, both retrofits and new construction have important, but different strategic purposes. Retrofit programs offer greater ecological gains for a greater number of buildings. Retrofit programs can make widespread energy and water savings gains in older stock buildings that may have been built on 2 5 In British Columbia, cities have no direct control to legislate over cars. Indirect control can be leveraged through parking, which is essentially a vehicle land use requirement. 2 6 The prediction model posits that Vancouver's housing stock will grow by 85,843 dwelling units, Burnaby 48,681 dwelling units, and Richmond by 38,798 dwelling units. A dwelling unit ranges from a condominium or apartment suite to a single family home. On the basis of the Urban Futures scenario, the CVRD's projected 44% population growth over the next three decades will drive growth in occupancy demand for housing. The model, devised by Urban Futures, is based on demographic change and consumer preferences (see footnote 44). 21 outdated and inefficient standards, technologies, and designs, and may have since developed leaks that contribute to wasted resources (Ross 2002, pers. comm.). On the other hand, new ecologically responsible construction typically focuses on piloting innovative technologies or designs. These "demonstration projects", in addition to achieving some reduction in conventional material, energy and/or water use and/or waste management, serve important purposes as educational tools and confidence-builders for the private development sector and prospective consumers. There is some cross-germination of these strategic purposes, in that retrofit programs can also serve demonstrative purposes. 1.7124 ADAPTING EXISTING PROGRAMS AND TOOLS FOR STRATEGIC PURPOSES. It is not common for local and regional governments to enshrine commitments to ecologically responsible facility development in policy, though a handful of local governments in Canada have taken this proactive and bold approach.27 In fact, the definition of an ecologically responsible building has been a major source of analysis and many assessment tools including the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework have attempted to standardize the concept.28 Of all the tools for new construction, LEED is the most explicitly performance-based and allows for measurement, monitoring, and documentation of progress achieved towards specific performance targets on: (1) sustainable site selection and development; (2) water efficiency; (3) energy efficiency and renewable energy; (4) green building material selection and recycling; and, (5) better indoor environmental quality. The system allocates credits for achievement of specified levels of performance; to this end, documentation is reviewed by the Canada Green Buildings Council to determine the level of certification: Certified (26-32 points), Silver (33-38), Gold (39-51) or Platinum (52+) (CAGBC 2005).29 Where LEED certification is sought by local and regional governments for their institutional buildings, the Silver standard is the most common benchmark chosen (Mikkelsen 2004, pers. comm.). In the Greater Vancouver context, Sheltair estimates that if 80% of new buildings in the GVRD were designed and 2 The City of Calgary was the first municipality in Canada to officially commit to adopt a LEED Silver certification standard for most new corporate facilities. The City of Victoria and the City of Portland, Oregon have also adopted similar policies. The City of Vancouver has adopted a policy of building most new corporate facilities to a LEED Gold standard. To City of Vancouver Planner Dale Mikkelsen's knowledge, this is the highest commitment in North America (2004, pers. comm.). 2 8 Although the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework is the most comprehensive and generally accepted assessment tool in North America, a variety of other tools for defining and assessing ecologically responsible buildings have been developed. These are typically focused on energy efficiency, and include: (a) Natural Resources Canada's Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP); (b) the Canadian Home Builders' Association and Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency's R-2000 Program; (c) BC Hydro's Power Smart Program; (d) EnergyStar Labeling Program, Canadian version; (e) Energuide for Houses Program; (f) ISO 14000 applied to buildings; (g) Building Environmental Performance Assessment Criteria Program (BEPAC); (h) BREEAM/Green Leaf, Canadian version; (h) GBTool (Dr. Raymond Cole); and, (i) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards for buildings. Other programs have been developed and popularized for use outside North America. 2 9 The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework was originally developed and administered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), but now the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC) assess and registers LEED projects in Canada using Canadian measurement units and standards. The LEED framework has been adapted specifically for use in British Columbia (LEED-BC). 22 constructed to a LEED standard to 2025, the following savings in energy and materials (compared to the Business as Usual scenario) could be attained: 30 million gigajoules (GJ) electricity, 34 million GJ natural gas, 3.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, 132 million cubic meters (m3) of water, 112 million m3 of waste water, and 256 thousand tonnes of diverted demolition and construction waste (32-34 2002)28. Collectively, then, building more ecologically responsible buildings represents an enormous opportunity for sustainability. In the realm of retrofits to existing buildings, the Energy Performance Contract system has become a popular performance-based tool for local and regional governments. Energy Service Contract Organizations (ESCOs) administer the contracts, that are structured to guarantee specific energy savings and up front costs. The contracts are typically designed to have carefully built-in incentives to make an attractive business case for the participating institution. With the help of the ESCO, the institution determines the maximum amount it can spend on obtaining a specified energy performance standard. The ESCO guarantees that it will attain this standard, and invests the institution's funds for the capital costs of the project. If the contractor can do with spending less, the institution gets the difference back. The ESCO does not require further upgrades from the institution than originally committed (in dollar terms) in order to achieve the guaranteed energy savings. Moreover, ESCOs typically have an open book policy to allow local or regional government purchasers to review all invoices and participate in tendering (Earle 2004, pers. comm.). At the time of writing, a LEED for Existing Buildings assessment tool is under development, which will provide a framework for retrofits to institutional projects (CAGBC 2005). Another major performance-based program for retrofits popular in Greater Vancouver is BC Hydro's Power Smart Program. Power Smart is an incentive-based program designed to encourage electricity customers to reduce electrical consumption. The program is essentially a supply and demand side management tool for BC Hydro in that it encourages energy conservation and delays the need for new, large-scale generation projects (BC Hydro 2005). For customers, Power Smart emphasizes the financial incentive of cost savings from deferred electricity use. The Power Smart Partner Program is a second generation initiative by BC Hydro designed for institutions such as governments, schools, universities, colleges, and hospitals. The Partner Program provides access to a variety of tools and resources and funding assistance for energy audits, re-commissioning and retrofits, and energy managers. As part of the program, BC Hydro commits to consulting with partners in establishing benchmarks to achieve specific targets in overall electrical energy efficiency and ensure that the targets are set using the appropriate metric data for partner organizational operations. However, the program is cost-driven in that a good conventional business case for proposed retrofit projects is one of the core criteria for 23 funding approval. Moreover, BC Hydro will not share costs for projects where efficiency gains can be realized in two years or less. In summary, performance tools should be strategically chosen for optimal ecological impact as laid out in the management framework's objectives and targets. In local and regional governments, supply and demand side functions can be synergized to implement dematerialization and energy efficiency strategies that cover small ticket items such as paper and coffee as well as larger investments such as corporate facilities with a clear sense of priority. As the next section will detail, the process and results of implementing the tools provides the raw data from which a SPMS information system can draw. 1 . 7 1 3 I N F O R M A T I O N S Y S T E M S . A sustainability information system should employ indicators to collect and organize data on the basis of what the management framework's objectives specify needs to be known. The system should also encompass both informal and formal subjective information. With attention to the unique purposes, potential, and limitations of subjective and objective information, the system should strive to integrate all information meaningfully into an overall picture of progress. 1.7131 COLLECTING Two TYPES OF INFORMATION. As earlier noted, C. Heinrich determined that measures of both outcomes and organizational activity were useful as part of a management system - the former for accurate estimates of program impacts, and the latter for leveraging better organizational performance (Heinrich 2002). In keeping with Heinrich's findings, I posit that a SPMS information system should stock two different categories of information: (a) baseline information on ecological conditions; and (b) organizational progress in meeting corporate ecological sustainability targets by means of its performance tools. It must be emphasized that objective performance measures on the outcomes of an organization's efforts should not be confused with the efforts of the organization itself, but rather should be discussed separately. Indicators are the most performance-based measures for ensuring that an information system stocks the data relevant to both categories. It should be underlined, then, that data in the information system should be the actual measurements or observations of the values of indicators (31 Bell and Morse 2003). 1.7132 COLLECTING BASELINE INFORMATION ON ECOLOGICAL CONDITIONS. Indicators, indexes, and inventories have become the measurement methods of choice for taking stock of baseline ecological conditions in their jurisdictions (Jansen et al; Syers, Zinck and Farshad; Rennings and Wiggering cited in 23 Bell and Morse 1999). In fact, local and regional governments use indicators for many purposes that range from financial measurement to environmental and sustainability measurement. As has been noted earlier, existing efforts to use sustainability indicators are often 24 confused with conventional environmental protection work (EC 2004; MELP 1998) and simply focus on the biophysical qualities of environment such as the level of water and air pollution, soil erosion, or soil acidity or alkalinity. Many sustainability indexes are unfocused attempts to take stock of a broad array of social, economic, and environmental factors. On the contrary, I define a sustainability indicator as an indicator that links key human activities with their ecological effects. 1.7133 USING INDICATORS, INDEXES, AND INVENTORIES. Indicators were historically developed in the context of biological and environmental science (5 Bell and Morse 1999) when scientists learned that they could track change in complex systems by monitoring certain species that were particularly sensitive to changes in the environment (22 Bell and Morse 1999). Since then, indicators have been developed to measure the whole of a system by its key parts for many different purposes. In the same fashion as biophysical indicators, contemporary indexes are developed to simplify the millions of components and interactions in a given system that cannot be measured by focusing on key components and interactions that represent the system as a whole, expressed in values that readily allow for comparison (22 Bell and Morse 1999). In simple terms, indicators in a SPMS information system should answer the question: 'How can I make a reliable determination of whether things are getting better or worse?'. There are three basic indicator types: indicators that describe the current condition or state of a variable (for example, its physical or chemical properties), indicators that describe the rate of change of a variable, and indicators that measure both current conditions and rate of change. Indicators should be measurable, and the general consensus to date has been that sustainability indicators, like bio-indicators, should be quantitative. Ideally, each indicator should have a threshold (also termed a "reference condition" or a "baseline condition"), which is a numerical value that draws a line between "sustainable" and "unsustainable." The threshold value provides a framework for interpreting the data by calculating deviations of indicator values from their reference conditions to show performance compared to the target (48 Bell and Morse 1999). One of the key performance considerations in indicator development is ensuring that they are as practically effective and technically accurate as possible. Although the capacity and cost required to collect and collate information cost is only one of many practical issues, it is one of the most fundamental. Obtaining expert information can involve expensive studies and managing data can be time-consuming. In terms of technical accuracy, the chart below provides a survey of desired characteristics for indicators (Guy and Kilbert; Harger and Meyer 1992 cited in Bell and Morse 2003): 25 Desired Indicator Characteristics L I N K E D Choice of indicators should provide insight into the linkages between ecological, economic, and social factors P O L I C Y R E L E V A N T Serve as a warning tools as well as a descriptors of an existing state;50 designed to track progress toward policy objectives and targets; R E S P O N S I V E Ability to respond quickly and measurably to change; allow for trends to be determined over time; data for measurement should be available on a regular basis; regular measurements of indicators should be taken U S E R - F R I E N D L Y Number of indicators should be kept to a minimum with as little redundance as possible31 S T A B L E A N D RELIABLE Compiled according to a systematic method Figure 1-2 Desired Characteristics of Indicators in a SPMS It should be noted that there are a number of important epistemological issues raised by the claims of indicators to objectivity that are discussed in further detail in Part II. Mandelbaum observes that: "information systems discipline policy debates, defining what is possible to say in ways that will be understood across the field. Information systems are no less politically contentious than theories and models...and debates over the purported benefits of knowledge investments may mask deep political conflicts (189 2003)." 1.7134 ADAPTING EXISTING PROGRAMS FOR STRATEGIC PURPOSES. The Partners for Climate Protection Program (PCP) is one popular and important example of how local and regional governments in Canada can use an indicator-based inventory system to collect baseline information on ecological conditions (FCM 2 0 0 4 ) T h e PCP program is essentially an emissions inventory tool administered nationally by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. An emissions inventory is a comprehensive tracking system that measures progress on mitigating climate change through one key indicator that has both state and driving force properties: the amount of carbon dioxide (a major "greenhouse" gas) produced per year, measured in tonnes (RFF 2004). The program The selection and measurement of indicators may be a science in theory but in practice is subject to many pressures, agendas, and biases. Governments often wish to portray themselves in the best possible light, and to that end reference conditions may be set according to political agendas (30 Bell and Morse 1999). Powerful individuals or groups may set the agenda in terms of what sustainability indicators to include and what gaps to address (Crabtree and Bayfield 1998 cited in 47-48 Bell and Morse 1999). 3 1 The thoughtful articulation of a strategic purpose for the use of indicators should be an aid in making a simple, yet relevant, selection. Although there is variation, the figure of twenty indicators appears a great deal in the literature (38 Bell and Morse 1999; 302 McDaniels 2000). In choosing the number, a compromise must be struck between technical accuracy and relevance (depth of information to optimize credibility in drawing conclusions) and practicality (manageability, accessibility, and ease of presentation). Bell and Morse, however, characterize this compromise as an issue of what people would like to know and what people need to know (37 1999). 3 2 The PCP Program in Canada grew from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives' (ICLEI) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. This campaign was international in scope, including Canada with 135 participating municipalities around the world (ICLEI 2004). 26 has two inventory modules, one with a corporate focus, and the other scoped to the community or region. The program is designed to be a full emissions performance management system, with five milestones that range across inventory development to the creation of a local action plan to reduce emissions to monitoring and reporting on community progress. While some institutions have carried out aspects of the PCP program in relative isolation to other organizational initiatives, others have used adapted the program's climate change framework as their organization's sustainability focus. To date, however, the most sophisticated and well-known indicators specific to sustainability have been developed at international and national levels." 1.7135 COLLECTING INTORMATION ON ORGANIZATIONAL PROGRESS LN MEETING TARGETS. To collect information on organizational progress in meeting ecological sustainability targets by means of specific performance tools, indicators are a helpful but insufficient measurement method. In this aspect of the sustainability performance management information system, both subjective and objective data are important to help sustainability managers take stock of organizational effectiveness. Moreover, an information system devoid of people and sanitized of the subjective is likely to have little practical relevance or value in promoting the depth of engagement necessary to make change. To this end, the information system in a SPMS should strive to capture the holistic intelligence of mind, heart, and spirit that emerges through spontaneous communication and narrative (2 Campbell 1988; 152 Sandercock 2003; 59 Throgmorton 2003) that emphasizes caring, responsibility, honor, imagination, and idealism.34 Just as indicators satisfy the need to track objective and factual information, I argue that narrative and storytelling are the measures of choice to track subjective information.35 Stories underline the point that people are important. They have the potential to surface " Sustainability indexes have been developed at, and for, different levels of analysis. The international Bellagio Principles (1996) point to indicators as the standard method for measuring progress on sustainability. Some of most prominent international examples include: (a) the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; (b) the Environmental Sustainability Index; and, (c) the Global Reporting Index. Prominent national examples include: (a) Environment Canada's index (2001); and, (b) the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) index (2003). Provincially, the BC government used indicators in its SOER (MELP 1998). At the regional level, indicators have been created for the Georgia Basin-Puget Sound (1999) and Fraser Basin areas (FBC 2002; 2003). 1 4 A range of philosophers, including (but not limited to) Mandelbaum, Feyerabend, and Lyotard, have critiqued the social dominance of scientific objectivity in constructing perceptions of "reality" and "truth." In general, theorists range from rejecting any scientific claim to objectivity at one end to arguing for the recognition of other "ways of knowing" alongside scientific inquiry. Of particular salience to this study, Mandelbaum critiques the common notion that "the history of fields of knowledge is frequently told as a developmental journey from story and fact to theory and model (191 2003)." Planning theorist Sandercock adds that "the language traditionally used in planning practice has been a rational discourse that explicitly avoids the realm of emotions, which is of course the stuff of storytelling. If we think about that for half a minute, it is an extraordinary and bizarre feat to talk about...sustainability without talking about hostility and hope, compassion and caring, greed and nurturing" (153 Sandercock 2003). 1 5 There is a subtle divergence in viewpoint in the literature as to whether stories should be conceived of as measures of subjectivity in an information system, or as performance tools. While this study posits that they best serve the former role, Hammond argues that: "words do not mirror the world out there, they coordinate our actions. Professional languages function like tools (22 1998)." Forester holds that "stories are not just idle talk; they do work. They do work by organizing attention, practically and politically" (516 1996). To that end, informal 27 and evaluate individual and group assumptions, subvert or celebrate agendas, imagine future possibilities, and make personal and organizational meaning of forward progress. As one example, elaborate stories may be enthusiastically shared by practitioners who devote years to seeing an innovative ecologically responsible building progress from an idea to a reality. These stories typically communicate the insights, ironies, compromises, and lessons learned that come from the inevitable negotiation of assumptions and worldviews that takes place in breaking new ground. For these reasons, a SPM information system should stock stories that are related to performance tools and their use and sustainability performance management activity, as well as practitioner perspectives and feelings about the outcomes of their organizations' efforts. In summary, while an information system, as part of a SPM system, should be structured on the basis of what is intended to be reported out on, it should not be limited to this or treated as identical to the reporting function. While institutions commonly conceive of reports and information systems as identical, these components are distinctive and serve unique purposes. 1 . 7 1 4 R E P O R T I N G . A SPMS report should formally communicate performance on outcomes achieved on specific objectives set out in the management framework and present a clear overall view of the organization's progress in attaining its corporate sustainability targets. More specifically, reports should identify areas where local or regional performance is above or below set targets. In addition, reports may usefully identify information gaps and comment on research priorities to develop improved knowledge about regional sustainability over time. While this appears straightforward, it is common practice for reports to describe program activity or simply describe ecological conditions. In its 2004 international survey, SustainAbility found that most organizations failed to give any real insight into what they were reporting on and why they were doing so, resulting in reports cluttered with information of little apparent use. Bell and Morse observe that most reports convey "the notion of 'let's tell everyone about our indicators'...Linking sustainable development indicators through to policy and change is still very much in its infancy (18 1999)." 1.7141 PURPOSEFUL AND A UDIENCE-SPECIFIC REPORTING. Reports should make "data withdrawals" from the information system for specific information needs and purposes. The substantive issues discussed in the report are likely to be relatively consistent from audience to audience. However, the literature suggests that the level of detail and presentation of information should be custom-designed and framed for different audiences with different needs, who will use the information in different ways for different purposes (16 Bell and Morse 2003). Given the storytelling strengthens the muscles of ecological citizenship and increases the capacity of practitioners to act, singly or together. 28 technical controversy over whether sustainability information should be aggregated or left as an itemized composite (1 7 Bell and Morse 2003), in addition to the many presentation formats available, sustainability practitioners should be careful to avoid making assumptions about a particular audience's information needs. Wherever possible, representatives from the intended audience should be consulted in advance about their information and presentation needs and preferences. This consultation should lead to the incorporation of specific feedback about preferred compromises between accessibility and accuracy and different blends and formats of subjective and objective information. As a rule of thumb, decision-makers need accessible and reliable information organized in a way that is immediately useful and tied to policy implications. The report should help councilors keep the "big picture" in sight instead of becoming enmeshed in idiosyncratic detail. Municipal and regional managers are likely to require a report that is more technical, more explicit about the assumptions on which information and conclusions are based, and relevant (although not limited) to their explicit areas of functional responsibility. Many state of the environment reports and sustainability reports produced to date have been unclear about their primary purpose and the audience they are intended to serve. Reports that attempt to be all things to all audiences may end up failing to meet any users' needs effectively. In any case, reports should be designed to assist practitioners and decision-makers to assess the effectiveness of current work and prioritize or recalibrate specific tools or the emphasis on system components or principles, as necessary. 1.7142 INTEGRATED AND ADAPTIVE REPORTING. Finally, while it is conventional for a long list of indicators to be developed and left as a composite in reports, a SPMS report should meaningfully integrate indicators in a well-designed index that presents a total picture of the impact of the organization's consumption and waste production on local, regional, and global ecological conditions. In this way, indicators can communicate the state and forces driving the sustainability system as a whole, taking compromises and tradeoffs explicitly into account, in terms of relative degrees of progress and attainment. A set of sustainability indicators is unlikely to share a common unit of measurement, and as a result, sustainability analysts must grapple with technical issues related to quantification in designing an integrated index of indicators. Moreover, presentation will involve a subjective element in prioritizing, choosing and organizing links between indicators. Reports should include a technical note on the methodology employed and subjective choices made, not as limitations or defects, but rather as products of a management intelligence decision about how the report has drawn its performance conclusions. No matter how sophisticated and seamless the visual end-products appear, practitioners must keep in mind that all sustainability indexes are devices for presentation and not representations of reality. They remain partial snapshots, and to some degree artificial and arbitrary. On the other hand, reports should also experiment with formal presentations of 29 relevant narrative that has a genuine promotional and motivational quality and celebrates individual leadership and/or positive dimensions of the organizational culture. Consistency and currency of reporting is important to ensure that the report serves its management purposes of decision support and system adaptation. The use of the same suite of indicators in the information system and reports provides a backbone for consistency over time. Frequency of updates should be contingent on the audience for which the report is intended; when the value of the measurement is no longer accurate or relevant for its management purpose, an update should be undertaken. Reports are an important tangible signifier of the existence of some form of sustainability performance management system. For this reason, reports should be visually engaging and accessible documents. The communications function of the performance management system is vital in connecting corporate performance to community effort. That being said, like information systems, reporting demands significant capacity and resources and the practical issue of cost-effectiveness must be kept in mind. In fact, for this reason a sustainability report itself is typically evidence of a significant degree of commitment to the concept and the management process. In conclusion, reporting only has value when it is feedback into learning, decision making, and system adaptation towards more effective performance in attaining ecological sustainability targets. 1 . 7 2 SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T PRINCIPLES. Each component of the SPMS and the system as a whole should be informed by the principles of sustainability. While a large number of sustainability principles can be found in the literature, I posit that there are five that are fundamentally important to sustainability performance management for local and regional government. The following section describes each principle in detail and references its origin in the literature. I begin with an overview of all five principles: • SP E C I F I C A N D M E A S U R A B L E C O R P O R A T E D E M A T E R I A L I Z A T I O N A N D E N E R G Y EFFICIENCY T A R G E T S . I refer to this as the "performance principle." • I N D I V I D U A L A N D O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L C O M M I T M E N T T O E C O L O G I C A L S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y . I refer to this principle as the "people principle" and classify it into two parts: engagement and collaboration. Engagement harnesses holistic intelligence through interactive learning and communications to build individual commitment, while consultation and collaboration between interdisciplinary practitioners within the organization fosters organizational commitment. 30 • T O T A L E C O L O G I C A L V A L U E A N D L O N G T E R M L E G A C Y O V E R S H O R T T E R M C O S T A N D / O R C O S T R E C O V E R Y . I refer to this principle as the "principle of reward and value" to denote that the SPMS model focuses on holistic rewards rather than on conventional risk management. • I N T E G R A T E D I N F O R M A T I O N A C R O S S D ISCIPLINES A N D T Y P E S . I refer to this principle as the "principle of integration", which includes (a) social, economic, and ecological information in decision-making and action; and, (b) empirically produced objective and experiential subjective information. • C O N T I N U O U S A N D C U R R E N T M A N A G E M E N T I N F O R M A T I O N . I refer to this principle as the "principle of adaptation." The management system is ideally responsive to changing external conditions through consistent, regular updates of information and system reviews. The following section discusses each principle as it relates to managing local and regional government sustainability efforts for performance, people, reward and value, integration, and adaptation, respectively. 1.73 M A N A G I N G F O R P E R F O R M A N C E . Out of the range of strategies and actions an institution might take to address the sustainability situation, which have the most materiality or impact? Practitioners need to find a way to assess what really matters most, and focus effort on those areas. The principle of performance establishes specific and measurable targets related to reduced corporate consumption of materials, water, and energy. Performance is typically contrasted with prescription, the setting out of explicit rules or requirements for how something should be done (Heinrich 2002). A SPMS is performance-based in its emphasis on the end result.36 The concept of performance advanced in this study departs significantly from its traditional business connotation, namely a finance-centered rather than people-centered pursuit of enhancing the organization's competitive position in a market economy (37 Arrowsmith 1988). In a SPMS the process of implementing performance tools is designed to serve the objectives and targets, while creating space for creative, innovative, and efficient approaches. Ideally, a SPMS ensures that its objectives and targets have high materiality or potential impact. This remains a major challenge for organizations who have committed to some form of corporate responsibility. Real performance management is still in its infancy: in a 2004 survey of reports from the top 50 international companies committed to corporate responsibility, SustainAbility (2004) found that most companies still fail to identify material strategic and financial risks and opportunities associated 3 6 The term "performance-based" has been used to describe a variety of approaches, some of which are unfortunately almost entirely rhetorical where prescriptions are relaxed and results are not monitored and/or enforced (WCEL 2002). 31 with economic, social and ecological impacts. The litmus test for the SPM system is that its activities result in an overall organizational reduction in ecological impact through reduced total consumption of materials, water, and energy and production of wastes. While this seems straightforward, net gains from innovative technologies are not always assured. Given their relative newness, performance of innovative technologies has not been tracked over time and in different contexts, leading to debate about performance effectiveness. Moreover, analysts have determined that organizations tend to respond to efficiency savings by using more of a good or service and/or redirecting efficiency-induced savings to alternative forms of consumption, higher wages, or lower prices or taxes, which leads to higher consumption by employees, taxpayers, or consumers'1. While performance management is aimed at identifying critical issues and finding effective and creative means of addressing them, the performance principle recognizes that there are good reasons also encouraging simple and progressive steps rather than no action at all. Actions successfully taken, no matter if they are small, reinforce confidence in success that in turn, unleashes energy and momentum in continuing on the course of change. 1.74 M A N A G I N G F O R P E O P L E . The literature on management and organizational change underlines the importance of taking a sensitive approach that recognizes the centrality of people and strives to develop shared commitment. As Jepson Jr. observes, "any top-down, one-size-fits-all attempt to [pursue] sustainable likely to be met with significant opposition...because it will tend to elicit a risk-averse response (9 2004)." From an ecological point of view, cultural progress or technological innovation cannot change the fact that humans are interdependent with, and dependent upon, nature. Therefore, protecting the biosphere is necessary to protecting people; in turn, in order to protect the biosphere, sustainability management must put the primary emphasis on people rather than ecological conditions per se. In an organizational context, the people principle has a two-part focus on engagement and collaboration. The first part emphasizes engagement to bring practitioners individually, and the organization collectively, to the next stage of commitment to ecological sustainability. To that end, a SPMS engages holistic intelligence through interactive learning and communications. The second part emphasizes consultation and collaboration between interdisciplinary practitioners within the organization. The following diagram distinguishes between the two dimensions of the people principle: 32 C O L L A B O R A T I O N D IMENSION E N G A G E M E N T D IMENSION Figure 1-3 The People Principle - Ladder of Involvement In the above Figure 1-3, interactive training refers to the provision of experiential learning opportunities for practitioners; communications refers to the practice of informing practitioners of sustainability performance management activity; consultation refers to the solicitation of review and feedback from practitioners on management activity; and, finally, collaboration refers to shared responsibility for collective planning, design, and decision-making on aspects of sustainability performance management. The ladder diagram is not intended to represent a value judgment that the collaboration dimension in a SPMS is preferential. On the contrary, a SPMS views both dimensions as fulfilling the people principle in different ways. 1.741 NURTURING INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT. The engagement dimension of the people principle puts its primary focus on the individual practitioner. While professional training, knowledge and practical skills are important capacity issues for individuals and organizations implementing sustainability performance management, this is not the focus of this principle. Rather, the focus is on shepherding practitioners through the stages of personal and professional commitment to ecological sustainability through an experiential process of increasing awareness and transformation of values and behavioral habits. The components of a SPMS and the system as a whole builds in opportunities to bring together practitioners and political executives to learn 33 interactively together and form networks that facilitate coordinated action, as well as communicate about the sustainability performance management process. Many behavioral models emphasize the use of systemic disincentives and incentives to influence individual choices. While I agree with the literature that argues that institutions and systems should financially reward positive choices and tax self-serving and destructive behavior, I argue that restricting change strategies to behavioral sticks and carrots that construct individuals as self interested rational utility maximizers is insufficient and ultimately ineffective. These behavioral strategies are simplistic and discourage, rather than foster, leadership. Moreover, over consumption of materials, water, and energy and waste production are embedded in culture and lifestyle and as such, are resistant to change. Genuine and enduring transformation requires engaging and fostering holistic intelligence that can discern ways forward in complex situations, make tradeoffs between materialism and meaning, and take actions that involve compromise, sacrifice, and inconvenience in service of a more compelling purpose. 1.7411 DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF ECOLOGICAL CHAMPIONSHIP. I build on notions developed by planning theorist James Throgmorton (2003) to represent the development of individual commitment to sustainability as a process, positing that this process has five distinct stages. Different practitioners may progress through these stages at different paces, and some may never proceed past a given stage. Moreover, this model does not suggest that practitioners come to an understanding of the whole sustainability picture in a linear way; rather, practitioners may come to a understand certain dimensions through this process and then cycle back through the process as other aspects of sustainability are encountered. The diagram below portrays the process as beginning from a base stage of ecological unconsciousness and culminating with ecological championship, as the strongest stage of commitment to ecological sustainability: C H A M P I O N S H I P C ITIZENSHIP CONSCIOUSNESS CONSCIENTIZATION UNCONSCIOUSNESS Figure 1-4 Stages of Commitment to Ecological Sustainability Unconsciousness. At the stage of unconsciousness, there is awareness of the sustainability situation, and as a result no conscious commitment to ecological sustainability. Throgmorton describes individuals in this state as 34 "spatially and psychologically disconnected from the resources that sustain them, consumers and citizens [that] drift blissfully along in a kind of...'technological somnambulism' [with a] tendency to repress or exaggerate environmental effects and connections (50 2003)." The unconscious state is characterized by a slow and continual filtration and processing of experience and knowledge and evaluation, ordering, and integration of a miscellany of observations, feelings, perceptions, and opinions (A19 Rosenhan and Seligman 1984). Conscientization. Conscientization describes the moment of insight when unconscious processing results in an ecological connection that emerges to consciousness. I credit Paulo Friere (1921 -1997) with the term and build upon it to define the process in which individuals as knowing subjects achieve a deepening awareness both of the ecological reality which shapes their lives, and of their capacity to transform that reality through action upon it. Conscientization encompasses an awareness of the global sustainability dilemma, an awareness of a range of solutions for change, and an affirmation of individual empowerment to act cooperatively, responsibly, and well (A-1 AVP 1986). Practitioners concerned with empowerment in public institutions may have to work against established hierarchies that characterize the institutional grain. However, the benefits of encouraging free thinking, adopting a style of mutual learning, and creating practical and experiential opportunities promise to be most effective in generating deep transformation of lifestyle and consumer behaviors at the root of the sustainability crisis. Consciousness. At the stage of consciousness, individuals are aware of their own dependence upon the integrity of the biosphere and the causal relationships between their behavior, health, and ecosystem integrity. Ecological, or 'environmental', consciousness is a term that has gained currency among sustainability theorists (Winner 1986 and Buell 2001, cited in Throgmorton 2003). Drawing from these theorists, I argue that ecological consciousness unites the long-standing philosophical division between human culture and nature; as Joseph Campbell observes: "if you will think of ourselves as coming out of the earth, rather than having been thrown in here from somewhere else, you see that we are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth (40 Campbell 1988)." Borrowing aspects of a framework created by Campbell, I posit that this awareness is characterized by a renewed sense of awe and wonder at the universe; conscious effort to understand the nature of the universe, particularly the relationships between social, economic, and ecological realms, with not only scientific inquiry but other ways of knowing; concern to validate a social order that supports sustainability, encourages empowerment, and invites participation; and, commitment to a standard for individual behavior that is both rationally aligned with sustainability targets and generative of imagination, inspiration, and wholeness (38 1988). Using the terms of ecological economist William Rees, in the stage of ecological consciousness, individuals and organizations become aware of the fact that they are implicated in "a maladaptive cultural myth" (14 2001) that must be changed at individual, organizational, and cultural levels. 35 Citizenship. At the stage of citizenship, individuals take steps to act on their conscious awareness of the sustainability situation and make positive choices in their personal and professional roles. This may take the form of complying with solutions that are proposed by organizational management or peers, or external colleagues. Championship. Finally, at the stage of championship, individuals move from compliance with solutions to becoming the creators of solutions and stewards of their implementation. Ecological champions enthusiastically embrace fundamental sustainability principles and test them out in personal and professional situations. They are responsive to opportunities, be they new and innovative research and technologies, funding sources, or best practices from other jurisdictions, and are able to balance this with a systematic approach to change. They both enjoy and are energized by achievements, challenges, and rewards. The champion perseveres with a trial and error attitude. They are able to withstand scrutiny, conflict, and criticism when moving forward on principle in the context of some existing organizational support. Finally, they are proud of their organizations and prioritize collective accomplishment over individual actions. Hammond makes the important observation that "people are generally proud to belong to their organization. That source of pride is often the most untapped natural resource within the organization. People want the organization to do purposeful work and they want to be a recognized part of it (50 Hammond 1998)." To that end, champions persuade, advocate, encourage, and coordinate the efforts of others. Ultimately, the principle of people is concerned with transforming practitioners into ecological champions. At the scale of the organization, ecological championship translates to corporate ecological responsibility. 1.742 NURTURING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. The engagement dimension of the people principle also strives to bring the organization collectively to the next stage of commitment to ecological sustainability. In effect, this amounts to many individual efforts that bring about a transformation in the organizational culture. Moreover, the quality of individual championship and the culture of ecological responsibility have an important impact on capacity. The stronger the culture of ecological responsibility, the greater the organization's ability to manage sustainability performance - and have fun doing so. Capacity is further discussed in this Part's discussion of Organizational Capacity and Culture. Given that organizational cultures reflect the prevailing values of the dominant global culture, building a culture of ecological sustainability involves consciously going against the flow. As William Ruckelshaus, former United States Environmental Protection Agency administrator, observes, achieving sustainability will require 36 "a modification of society comparable in scale to only two other changes: the Agricultural Revolution of the late Neolithic, and the Industrial Revolution of the past two centuries. These revolutions were gradual, spontaneous, and largely unconscious. This one will have to be a fully conscious operation (cited in 33 Boyd 2004)." While I agree with Ruckelhaus' view that attaining ecological sustainability will require a cultural shift at the global level, I do not suggest that it is desirable to replace the dominant culture with another worldview that "dominates" other cultures across the globe, nor to downplay or disrespect the variations in consciousness and values in diverse cultures. On the contrary, managing for people demands that a sustainability performance management system be critical, while remaining respectful, and culturally relevant. An organizational culture of corporate ecological responsibility is best conceptualized as a dynamic, living network characterized by an affirmative and inclusive way of working rather than as a static state (21 Cooperrider and Whitney 1999). Drawing from the Appreciative Inquiry (Al) theory of organizational culture and change, I argue that positive and vision-directed change is more effective, enduring, and human-centered than the conventional problem-solving approach. The ideal organizational way of working focuses on abundance, opportunities, potential, possibility, and positive precedents, rather than problem-solving, as motivation for change. Problem-solving approaches tend to be backward rather than forward looking, require enormous concentrations of resources on criticism and correction, and may contribute to negative organizational cultures (21 Cooperrider and Whitney 1999). Instead of building a culture attuned to scarcity and using less, an affirmative organizational culture employing a supply and demand side management sustainability strategy is attuned to achieving more: more quality of life for current and future generations, more natural beauty, more health, more leisure time and less work, more meaning instead of materialism. An organization forms a group culture that influences, and is influenced by its structure, degree and extent of capacity, and the individuals within it. Put another way, organizations and individuals mutually influence each other in the process of change. Organizational change theorists hold that organizations typically operate according to collectively held assumptions and norms that cause the group to think and act in certain ways (13 Hammond 1998) and influence individuals to conform to group behavior in order to belong. For enduring effectiveness, a sustainability management system must be owned and implemented by practitioners across the organization. Application of this principle may foster a milieu of empowerment, where management is willing to question and recalibrate conventional values and practices that do not support the agency of individual practitioners to take responsibility and ownership for change. To this end, managers willing to adopt a more facilitative rather than authoritative role in 37 order to create space for experimentation and innovation may see positive results among staff (19 Hammond 1998).37 That being said, in the realm of local and regional government, commitment to ecological sustainability at the political and administrative executive levels is essential for the success of a SPMS. Council or Board leadership is the most fundamental aspect of moving sustainability performance management forward in local or regional government. These executive bodies are accountable to the public electorate and have the ultimate authority to set the direction of the institution - and ensure that the institution follows through. Ecological champions on Council who demonstrate strong support for sustainability performance management support and enable practitioners in the organization to make tracks into new and unfamiliar territory and may be able to successfully persuade fellow Councilors to formally support a SPMS or make strong formal commitments to SPM tools. Without a champion on Council, practitioners can still monitor sustainability performance and adopt tools but must do so informally. On the other hand, ecological champions in the bureaucracy may influence the political views and decisions of Council. In essence, then, the organizational culture is marked by a circular flow of influence between Council and practitioners. 1.743 INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION. The collaboration dimension of the people principle specifically refers to consultation with and collaboration of interdisciplinary practitioners in developing and maintaining a sustainability performance management system. In this dimension of the people principle, involvement ranges across a spectrum with consultation at the minimal end, and collaboration at the optimal end. The benefits of collaboration are the authenticity and political credibility of the SPMS and its tools; synchronization of the organizations' activities for long term gains in efficiency and effectiveness in attaining sustainability milestones; and, better project decisions for certain types of complex purchasing. As one important example, buildings require an extended multi-stage process involving a network of practitioners. The sharing of information and wisdom, as part of the collaborative process, can build team support for unconventional practices and innovative technologies. Moreover, aside from differences in training and background experience, practitioners at all levels of an organization may respond to risk and innovation differently, may be more or less effective in influencing the elected officials on Council or on the Board, and may be more or less inclined to form collaborative internal relationships. Working together allows individuals to balance strengths and weaknesses and learn from each other. 5 7 While it is outside the scope of research to provide a critique of hierarchy and technocracy as barriers to implementing sustainability, it suffices to note that the sustainability performance management system (SPMS) concept advanced in this study questions their dominance without suggesting that they be replaced with an alternate ideology and structure. 38 While collaboration is important in all components of a SPMS, it is most essential in establishing the management framework and implementing performance tools. As far as the framework is concerned, collaboration addresses the issue of making sure that a broad range of visions and values are taken into account in specifying the SPMS' objectives and targets. In terms of tools, collaboration can streamline the implementation of common tools or disparate tools with common goals. In many cases, barriers to collaboration are cognitive, that is, attitudes of individualism and isolation become habitual, familiar and convenient. The structure of organizations may also pose opportunities or barriers to practitioner collaboration. Within the bureaucracy, the organizational structure, and the degree to which its administrative units are integrated or segregated, also affects organizational capacity. The structure may provide for more or less discretion in different management roles, and depending on the individual attitudes and capacity of persons in those roles performance management may be stronger or weaker as a result. Where units and personnel tasked with a SPMS exist, the longevity of these in the organization and the extent of institutional memory within them are contributing factors. The conventional local and regional government structure is based on functional and professional 'silos', where departments act as relatively autonomous units with discrete realms of responsibility. As one important example, corporate administration in a local or regional government may work closely with the central purchasing department, if the organization has one, or may work in relative isolation. Moreover, many local and regional governments distribute the authority to make corporate purchases between the central purchasing department and departmental managers. Demand side management is often driven by an environment or sustainability department, office, unit, or even individual, where these exist. Energy efficiency and dematerialization-focused strategies and technologies may be carried out by engineering departments, and parks departments may be tasked with looking after water conservation programs. The corporate administrative office may manage greenhouse gas emissions or this issue may be dealt with as part of air quality management or as part of the energy efficiency management portfolio. In many cases ecological sustainability efforts appear to be scattered, without an overall to harmonize, synchronize and streamline independent efforts arising out of individual departments or even individual staff members. In a SPMS, all administrative units have opportunity to bring together demand and supply side management more closely and optimize the implementation of tools. Structural barriers can be overcome, and collaboration enhanced, by creating interdepartmental advisory committees, task forces, or design and review teams. A SPMS may also contemplate restructuring the organization to better coordinate collaboration among practitioners in its administrative units. By whatever means they have chosen to do so, local and regional governments that have moved towards a form of 39 interdisciplinary teamwork may be in a stronger position to build the cultural support necessary to realize sustainability targets. 1 . 7 5 M A N A G I N G F O R R E W A R D A N D V A L U E . The principle of reward and value emphasizes commitment to total ecological value and long term legacy over short term cost and/or cost recovery. The principle reframes conventional risk assessment to a balanced pursuit of the rewards of measurable progress using alternative assessment tools that take ecological value into account. In this study, the terms reward and value are discussed at the conceptual level as attitudes guiding group and economic behavior in the context of local and regional government. Implementing the principle of reward and value requires the willingness to change existing organizational structures and practices in a challenging financial context. McGuiness et al observe of the Canadian context that "municipalities lack the comparatively bottomless resources of more senior levels of government. They also have less capacity to spread risk and cost. Despite declining real revenues, the demands upon them have been increasing steadily in recent years due to the practice of down-loading (390 2002)." In this procurement context, a SPMS serves several important purposes: first, to infuse an emphasis on responsibility into the proclivity to rely on technological solutions; second, to apply strategic priorities to certain supply categories and among criteria on the basis of identified sustainability targets; and third, to emphasize efficiency and streamlining between supply side and demand side management endeavors. Regardless of external conditions, change is typically difficult for organizations because it introduces uncertainty, and the human psyche has a naturally tendency to anticipate negative implications from change and find risk aversive (63 Bazerman 1994). In particular, people respond more cautiously when risky outcomes are defined in terms of losses versus gains or in terms of uncertainty versus certainty. People also respond differently to the timing of good and bad outcomes, seeking good outcomes now and bad outcomes later. This research underscores that when combined with a conceptual framework of problems rather than opportunities, risks may be perceived as threats, leading to defensiveness and isolation (21 Hammond). While the logic of identifying inefficiencies and defects may be appropriate for working on issues of technology and finance, the logic of affirmation promises the most success in working with people. Using both forms of logic appropriately, organizations can evolve to embrace rewards rather than fear risks, and to recognize and capture opportunities. While developing and maintaining a sustainability performance management system does not have to be flashy or expensive, considerable human resources and dedicated financial resources are required to ensure that it is done thoroughly and made enduring and adaptive over time. To ensure its own sustainability, the system itself must make demonstrable successes to Councils and Boards and 40 administrative executives responsible for allocating limited dollars. This underlines the importance of purposeful and custom-designed reporting. 1.751 COST EXPECTATIONS FOR PERFORMANCE TOOLS. While all components of a SPMS may be informed by the principle of reward and value, this principle is most germane to the selection and design of performance tools. Many ecologically preferred products and services are 'allowed' to be more expensive than standard products in the same category in the marketplace; as a consequence, practitioners must often contemplate higher prices in order to obtain ecologically preferred supplies. While some purchasers are willing to accept a percentage premium for ecologically preferred products in certain categories, such as office supplies, others take a cost neutral or cost recovery approach. 3 8 In fact, performance tools for demand and supply side management are commonly informed by the voluntary market approach, calibrated to reduce costs to the organization or recover the costs of implementation; stimulate the market for certain products and services; and, influence consumer choice through use of financial incentives and disincentives. In striving to suit the paradigm of individual self-interest on which the capitalist system relies, the principle of long term, conscientious commitment and alternative valuation is often undermined and the highest potential of individuals and organizations to influence change left untapped. The SPMS model posits that, at the least, reliance on the voluntary market approach should not limit the full potential of tools in making change, nor become the working philosophy shaping a sustainability performance management system. Cost is one of the primary conventional benchmarks of success in purchasing and especially in capital projects such as buildings. While still unpopular, it is also incontestably true that it is in the long term public interest to turn down cheaper and superficially priced products in the short term in favor of a healthy ecosphere and human environment. There are also well-known and defensible techniques and systems to support ecologically responsible supply side management, as well as credible business cases for green building in particular. Many of these business cases, however, emphasize cost savings or cost recovery. Expectations for direct cost savings are based on the premise that an ecologically responsible building that employs energy efficiency strategies will require less energy to operate and, as a result, require less cost to operate over its lifetime. Energy efficiency strategies are also expected to partially shelter the owner against future increases in utility prices. 3 9 Indirect cost savings are typically assessed through worker productivity gains and reduced health care cost as well as directly from reduced use of energy or Other resources. Since institutions have dedicated tax revenue and typically own their buildings over the long term, institutions are better positioned to raise funds for increased up-front 3 8 A common, though controversial, rule of thumb used to account for the increased cost of achieving secondary policy objectives is to allow for 10% greater cost margin, where objectives can be demonstrated to provide benefits in excess of 10% of the value of the procurement (Lalonde 2004, pers. comm.; 83 Arrowsmith 1988). 3 9 In fact, energy prices typically provide the strongest cost incentive for building green. Unfortunately, energy prices in British Columbia are among the lowest in the world and in combination with Greater Vancouver's mild climate, are still too low to make a strong business case (3 Sheltair 2002). 41 capital costs and over time will recover the savings from reduced operating costs through lowered energy use. While demonstrating opportunities for financial savings has obvious practical value, an undue emphasis on this may have the negative effect of acting as a limiting factor to the full potential of the government to realize its leadership potential in taking responsibility for sustainability. In any case, despite the ubiquitous argument that ecologically responsible buildings can be cost neutral compared to conventional buildings, the record in Greater Vancouver suggests that financing green buildings with sophisticated features often means contemplating payback periods outside the range of typical investment portfolios.'10 This has triggered concerns over debt management, despite the fact that local and regional governments at present have significant opportunity to obtain funding for green innovation in public buildings or buildings on public land. Support from external funders has been able to mitigate, if not entirely banish, the financial risks associated with price premiums.4' 1.752 VALUING SUSTAINABILITY IN LOCAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT. The last decade and a half of implementing "environmental" purchasing tools in Canada and nascent ethical and sustainable purchasing tools provide evidence that a conceptual shift from counting up costs and benefits to balancing risks with rewards is already well underway. Ecological economists and alternative financial analysts have recognized that contemporary prices are largely based on comparative advantage and labor costs and do not accurately reflect ecological costs (also known as "negative externalities") such as air pollution, or other adverse effects on third parties (53 McGuiness et al 2002; 4 Rees 2001; 49 Throgmorton 2003). These proponents argue that "internalizing the externalities", or including estimates of ecological cost, will result in prices that better reflect relative scarcity or abundance. Recalibrated higher prices are expected to result in more conservative consumer behavior which will lead to conservation of the affected resources and stimulate the search for substitutes (4 Rees 2001; 49 Throgmorton 2003). A number of methods have been developed to integrate values from the ecological economic paradigm into the prevailing expansionist economic paradigm, the most popular of which are life cycle analysis42, full cost accounting43, and the triple bottom line method44. However, 4 0 A vigorous debate surrounds the issue of price premiums for green buildings, with some proponents arguing that these buildings are cost-neutral or only marginally more expensive to build than conventional buildings. The range of sophistication in technical and design issues that an ecologically responsible may employ makes a simple analysis of the building cost issue impossible. 4 1 Requirements from external funders may also influence the setting of thresholds and performance specifications in projects and purchases. As a case in point, there are improvement thresholds for institutions seeking grants from senior levels of government, for example, the Canadian Building Improvement Program (CBIP) (45 Sheltair 2002). As a result, improvement thresholds can play an essential role in putting together a business case that includes assistance in offsetting incremental capital costs. If partner funding from a senior level of government has been secured for the project, the funder may have specifications for the building project as well. 4 2 Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is an evaluation tool that measures the total energy and material used to create a product or service and, depending on the species of tool, may employ both qualitative and quantitative terms {Material Input per Unit Service (MIPS) (Sutherland 2004). 42 regardless of these tools, central and decentralized supply side managers ultimately work within the dominant economic growth paradigm which subordinates sustainability considerations to market determinations of price and value. In reality, major legal and political barriers to reforming perverse subsidies, taxes and pricing policies have proven difficult to overcome in practice. Low resource prices are partially the result of globalization and trade but they also result from counterproductive direct and indirect subsidies to industry (4 Rees 2001). For this reason, local and regional government purchasers striving to influence the transformation of outdated, ineffective, and limited concepts and techniques to achieve ecological sustainability milestones work in a challenging context. First, the training and professionally mandated responsibilities of practitioners in a municipal or regional context may contribute towards a conservative approach to change. A SPMS will require municipal and regional practitioners to learn new techniques and new conceptual instruments, and to accept new principles to guide daily decision-making. Managing for reward and value requires practitioners to push past conventional understandings of risk implicit in the quality control and procedural fairness functions. There are essentially two major, interrelated categories of risk: technical risk, and financial risk. While the former is concerned with the safety, functionality, and durability of the technology purchased, the latter is concerned with issues of resource allocation and debt. Where traditional risk management tools stifle imagination and innovation, and fail to account for the full value of biodiversity and ecosystem services, managing for reward and value means identifying better techniques for decision-making and calculating the potential of experimenting with new and relatively untried technologies. A SPMS ideally encourages practitioners to recognize that much of risk and liability is perceived rather than real. Purchasers in particular can maintain a healthy balance between taking risks and avoiding risks, acknowledging that some risks are required to pursue an institution's missions, excellence, success, and sustainability (5 Perryman 2004) ."5 Particularly in the supply management profession, conservatism means systematically managing for quality control and procedural fairness. In a nutshell, the focus is on risk management, which is mandated by law and further supported by a suite of accepted policies and procedures at both the A i Full cost accounting (FCA) was developed as a systematic approach for identifying, summing, and reporting the many types of costs incurred to provide solid waste management services but has now also been applied to a range of capital projects. The conventional cash flow accounting (also called general fund accounting) system was found to inadequately account for up-front costs, operating costs, back-end costs, ecological costs (including the cost of site remediation), contingent costs, and social costs (EPA 2003). " Triple bottom line accounting is a method that envisions the three 'bottom lines' of society, economy, and environment as unstable and fluctuating, with the environment the ultimate 'bottom line' (SustainAbility 2004). A popular user of the method in the region is BC Hydro (BC Hydro 2005). 4 5 Liability is a complex legal issue that denotes obligation and responsibility and closely relates to risk taking and risk avoidance. From the formal standpoint, purchasers have some professional protection from the inherent risks of contracting. The purchasing contract usually requires contractors to indemnify the government against any losses it incurs as a result of the contractor's activities in performing the contract (Mitchell 1951 cited in 5 Arrowsmith 1988). 43 professional and organizational levels."6 These instruments assist in preventing slipshod decision-making and in ensuring that suppliers chosen will be credible and consistently available. Procedural fairness ensures equity and accessibility to prospective suppliers and promises a competitive process in certain circumstances. The notion of fairness in supply side management is linked to market competition in the Canadian context, where it is believed to result in the achievement of best value and serve the public interest most reliably (60 Arrowsmith 1988). Quality control presents both opportunities and challenges for SSM and DSM in a local or regional government SPMS. Practitioners are obligated to assess products and proposals for services, including professional services related to building design and construction, with the conventional framework of quality and price. The conventional understanding of value is that goods and services should be primarily acquired on the best value available (61 Arrowsmith 1988) where value is a function of quality and price. Put in another way, value is equivalent to benefit minus cost (53 McGuiness et al 2002). In an active market, value is typically construed more broadly, but in a slack market value and price may be seen as equivalent. All other considerations in purchasing are classed as "secondary policy objectives" that support general social, political, and economic objectives of government not directly connected with the actual purchase (81 Arrowsmith 1988). Furthermore, the inclusion of ecological considerations within the class of secondary policy objectives has only occurred during the two decades. However, using price as a determinant of value poses major problems for valuing ecological sustainability. Market prices, to varying degrees depending on the product or service, are influenced by global trends outside the jurisdiction of local and regional governments. Unless a product or service explicitly makes an effort to do so, ecological costs are typically not internalized into market prices for goods and services as the ecological effects of resource extraction and production are often dispersed in time, between places, and among different social groups. To date there is no generally accepted means of quantifying the many life support services and values of the ecosphere into monetary terms. This is not to suggest that no attempts to do so have been made; however, these have been justly criticized for being over-simplistic and reductionist. It has proven very difficult to cost and discount factors that create changes in an ecosystem that are outside of human control; furthermore, costing futurity is even more difficult, given that costs of treatment and personnel are likely to change in the future for many reasons. As far as quality for good value is concerned, for these reasons it can be difficult to determine best value in ecological, financial, and technical terms. Using one of several recognized valuation techniques for products and services may assist practitioners in making defensible decisions. The two most recognized 4 6 Municipal and regional government purchasers and councils are mutually bound by legislation intended to serve as a social safety net against corruption, fraud, and favoritism. To this end, legislation defines how, as decision-makers, purchasers must (a) use their powers only for specific, articulated purposes, and (b) act according to a standard of fairness. 44 valuation techniques are life cycle analysis and full cost accounting, which incorporate ecological costs incurred from resource extraction to manufacturing, distribution, and disposal into the balance sheet. Certification systems may also assist in making alternative procurement defensible by providing a consistent, independent, scientific, and publicly acceptable performance standard. 4 7 Some important examples include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system for buildings, or product labels such as Energy Star or Environmental Choice. Quality considerations may encourage municipal purchasers to produce their own specifications for goods and services, especially for large capital purchases such as buildings, to serve the specific targets and objectives of their SPMS. 4 8 These specifications may reference or replicate the established standards of respected certification systems, or identify equivalencies for prospective suppliers. Purchasers also have the opportunity to monitor the ecological performance of suppliers and negotiate for terms that set higher-than-conventional ecological standards for design, manufacturing or construction, and disposal or demolition. Even further, they can require suppliers to purchase ecologically preferred products further down the supply chain. One major opportunity for supply chain management is through use of the standard prequalification process for prospective contractors. This is essentially a pre-screening process that helps ensure that all bidders are technically and financially competent and have the integrity to complete the contract on the terms offered, and could extend to bidders that have demonstrated organizational ecological certification (ISO 14000) and/or the capacity to meet ecological performance specifications and criteria. Through prequalification, the institution could list, recognize, and reward suppliers demonstrating corporate ecological responsibility. In compliance with requirements for procedural fairness, however, institutions would retain the right to reject pre-qualified bidders in a competitive tendering process. Despite the fact that alternative financial techniques and systems are available to support ecologically responsible supply side management, use of these techniques does not guarantee that practitioners will prioritize purchases on the basis of long term, rather than short term reward and value. An enduring commitment at individual and collective levels is necessary for the organization to succeed in making 4 7 There are many recognized environmental certification and labeling systems. Examples at the level of organizational certification include IS0140001. At the product category level, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are two examples of wood certification. The use of accepted assessment tools and techniques, and the recognition of certification schemes, makes transparent and accountable the criteria upon which proposals and bids will be evaluated and is a further means of ensuring that a fair process is offered to all prospective sellers/service providers. 4 8 An ecologically responsible purchasing tool may or may not include performance-based or prescriptive specifications for different products categories or types. A performance-based specification outlines targets, benchmarks, and metrics for different dimensions of a good or service, and leaves it up to the project proponent to devise and efficient way of meeting the target. On the other hand, a prescriptive specification outlines the means for producing or building something. The most salient example is building design and construction guidelines such as encompassed in the BC Building Code. Local and regional governments have discretion as to how they articulate specifications: the local government may describe a list of desired list of features in the form of objectives, specifications, or open-ended questions about cost and value. Alternatively, institutions may not specify a budget in part to encourage creative solutions to situations at a range of prices. 45 initially difficult and inconvenient sacrifices or compromises in service of an investment that may not bear immediate fruit. 1.753 BALANCING RISK ANALYSIS WITH A REWARD Focus. The original use of environmental management systems was as protection for governments against environmental risk and lawsuits (Knight 2004, pers. comm.). A conventional environmental management system (EMS) forced the manager to focus attention on issues of greatest significance and risk. Knight reflects that, "while in an EMS, exposure may be the greatest concern, in a sustainability management system it might be opportunity (2004, pers. comm.)." Put another way, managing for sustainability performance moves from a risk-avoidance mentality to a reward-maximization mentality. A SPMS can provide the principled and functional support practitioners need to be translate opportunity into action and seize rewards rather than simply guard against risks. Wider organizational support for tracking performance on ecological sustainability can motivate purchasers to be more creative in entertaining alternative ideas and solutions, more willing to experience some trial and error, and more comfortable in navigating the inevitable tensions and differences of value and priority that may emerge and cause frustration, delays, anxiety, and even additional costs. In the interview phase of this study, local and regional government practitioners emphasized three themes: (a) turning technical risks into rewards; (b) turning financial risks into balanced investments; and, (c) turning fear of failure into the quest for success, particularly as regards professional reputation and program durability. 1.7531 TURNING TECHNICAL RISKS INTO REWARDS. In general, local and regional governments perceive risk in integrating ecological performance requirements with purchasing and building. The concerns range from possible interruptions in critical supplies, unmanageably increased costs and lack of administrative resources to handle the increased complexity of purchasing, technological legitimacy and functionality, and the protection of existing assets, such as corporate equipment and the warranties safeguarding it. One salient example of reframing risk assessment to a reward focus in technological functionality is provided by a story told by Bob Lalonde of the GVRD: With the environmental procurement policy, the Purchasing Department is asking engineers to look at some of their assumptions about risk. Construction contracting is a good example. In construction tenders, specifications over the years used to always have a statement to the effect that 'materials should be new and unused'. So that's where we started to say to the engineers developing the specs, do you need that? Do you want to start thinking the opposite way now? We said that encouraging the used, old material, whatever you want to call it, as acceptable is even a better, a further step (2004, pers. comm.). 46 Lalonde explains that the original rationale for the requirement for new materials was to avoid risk associated with something that had not been guaranteed to be previously checked and inspected. The underlying issue of safety had, over time, become synonymous with new goods, and this in turn had crystallized into an attitudinal barrier towards recycled and reconditioned goods. Through dialogue and a more careful analysis, the barrier could be overcome. 1.7532 TURNING FINANCIAL RISKS INTO BALANCED INVESTMENTS. The basic assumption underlying perceptions of financial risk is that the implementation of ecologically responsible tools and projects may prevent the institution from providing essential services, compromise other programs, or require increased taxation. In the literature, the weight of research emphasis is on the costs associated with retrofit and new building projects. Moreover, there is a widespread recognition among interviewees that conventional pricing does not adequately account for ecological issues and that other techniques, such as life cycle analysis are necessary to adequately account for them. In a largely independent fashion, most practitioners interviewed were actively grappling with the challenge of valuing ecological sustainability and transforming their concept of sound business practice; none claimed to have the issue of costing the environment figured out.49 However, the most progressive organizations appear to have accepted the fact that ecological sustainability issues cannot be numerically captured on the accounting sheet, and that thinking in terms of risk and reward is most helpful. For new ecologically responsible construction, cost data is typically difficult to quantify and compare across buildings, as each building is highly specific in terms of its performance targets, technologies chosen, and long term pay-back goals. Buildings that incorporate innovative demonstration items, such as green roofs or technology for renewable energy capture, are likely to be considerably more expensive. Dale Mikkelsen, Planner at the City of Vancouver, notes that "there are a lot of numbers floating around out there, there's projects that have been done to a LEED certified standard that are 15% above conventional cost, but that's because they've gone and chosen certain technologies to make a particular statement. They are aware of that. But if you are trying to do a cost-cutters version of LEED, you can do a fairly economical LEED certified building (2004, pers. comm.). Typically, new projects undertaken by study organizations were completed before performance and cost tracking systems were put in place. As a result, there is no experiential or theoretical knowledge to date that can provide a reliable estimate of where the dollar stops to achieve a certain ecological performance standard in a new civic facility. As one example, the rule of thumb for a LEED Cold building is 4 9 One interviewee commented, with some irritation, "we don't wish to be bound by some magic formula. How do you really measure the benefits to the environment?." Ironically, while this statement was a reaction against management infrastructure to guide decision-making, the words suggest a conscientization to a different way of thinking, namely reward-focused thinking, about sustainability. 47 considered to typically involve a price premium of between 8% and 12% (3 Richmond Draft CB Report 2004). The question has also been framed the other way: what percentage of reduction in energy consumption is economically viable? In this framework, viability equates to cost recovery scenario where savings from deferred energy use repay the capital improvements. This has been estimated to be 20% on average (7 Corporate CCAP 2004). The increased capital costs associated with price premiums requires that institutions consider longer debt repayment terms, or payback periods, than they would for conventional projects. The case organizations affirm that in the current market context, external funding is an essential source of support to reduce payback periods and thus enable implementation of ecologically responsible performance tools, as well as sustainability performance management system development. The most common funding partners mentioned were BC Hydro and Natural Resources Canada's Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP). Hogg explains that he is able to make retrofits "work on paper with grants", and his colleague Naysmith at the City of Richmond explains that his payback periods are cut in half with the help of external funding. The conditions attached to funding, in some cases, may be further drivers for sustainability. In the experience of Burnaby, Earle explains that "we talked about pilots and doing a pilot project, and decided to go with the whole bundle because of the granting structure with BC Hydro and Natural Resources Canada (2004, pers. comm.)." 1.7533 TURNING FEAR OF FAILURE INTO THE QUEST FOR SUCCESS. In the conversations with practitioners, concerns about failure were related specifically to professional reputation and credibility in managerial decision-making and the continued viability of present and future initiatives. In general, practitioners felt that both reputation and program durability was contingent on success. While reputation is important, it may present a perceptual rather than a real barrier to a focus on reward and value. Knight observes that "most municipal staff members are coping with an overload of sometimes conflicting information on a daily basis. The typical manager strives to make decisions that actually are dealing with critical issues within the context of the concern about demonstrating success." However, ecological champions with the quality of being challenge-fueled were able to take both accolades and criticism in stride without letting it deter them from performance goals. While appreciative of and energized by achievements, and rewards, the champions were also able to persevere in an atmosphere of scrutiny, conflict, and criticism when technical, practical, or financial investments turned into temporary failures. The champions embody Robert F. Kennedy's remark that "to adhere to standards, to idealism, to vision, in the face of immediate dangers takes great courage and takes self-confidence. But we also know that only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly (cited in 33-34 Boyd 2004)." 48 Recognition that systems and tools must demonstrate success can lead to strategic choices about how to scope components and targets for short term as well as long term gains. The adoption of a new type of management system may be somewhat overwhelming and is likely to involve some trial and error as it evolves and adapts to a specific organizational context. However, like the premium capital cost of a legacy building that will pay off in long term savings, the infusion of a performance management system across an organization can be expected to pay off in tangible progress towards a healthier future. Practitioners Knight and Wark describe the pressure to demonstrate success. Knight holds that "staff members are reluctant to initiate an activity or a program that stands a strong risk of being kyboshed for fear that Council and fellow colleagues will be disappointed and disheartened and resources will be wasted, worsening the chances for future initiatives, until perhaps a new Council takes office (2004, pers. comm.)." From her vantage point as municipal planner, Wark observes that the taint of failure can retard forward momentum on innovative projects, and prefers a cautionary approach to change. In her words, "if [ecological sustainability projects] don't work for other reasons, then the baby gets thrown out with the I think that when we're designing any aspect of a community facility or a city facility we need to make sure that all things are covered off, otherwise the whole concept gets thrown out (2004, pers. comm.)." While performance management is aimed at identifying critical issues and finding effective and creative means of addressing them, Knight believes that there are good reasons for "picking the low-hanging fruit", or taking simple and easy actions rather than focusing first on addressing critical issues (2004, pers. comm.). Knight cautions that "if you try to tackle the hardest thing and it takes you two years to get through it and everybody is very disillusioned and it's a hard-fought battle, you lose a lot of momentum in the organization." She says: "so you can do market transformation and leadership but I think you need to do it around both things that can be done, and a couple things that might have bigger impact and take a little bit more challenge...sometimes also it's just good to have some successes...for organizations and the people who are the champions inside organizations to be able to do something that show results quickly (Knight 2004, pers. comm.)." As the Appreciative Inquiry model for organizational change argues, success unleashes energy, confidence, and momentum in continuing on the course of change, which is inherently uncomfortable for most people. Change may mean incremental change rather than revolution, but does not preclude unprecedented breakthroughs. Durable and demonstrable success starts a cycle where seeing may result in believing, that not only fosters continued support for the particular initiative that has demonstrated success but for future initiatives in service of similar purposes. In other terms, positive outcomes are generative of further institutional capacity and cultural support. This "cycle of success" is capable of propelling organizations through the stages of sustainability performance management implementation and ensuring that the critical issues remain in sight. 49 1 . 7 6 M A N A G I N G F O R I N T E G R A T I O N . The principle of integration emphasizes connectivity between social, economic, and ecological information and empirically produced objective and subjective information. All categories and types of information may be integrated responsibly in the information system and reporting components of a SPMS. Integrated information presents a multidimensional view of the planning context and how sustainability performance management priorities have required tradeoffs among the other objectives of corporate administration. It is now well-established that sustainability efforts - even those guided by the shallow concept of sustainability - are best developed on the basis of information from social, economic, and ecological disciplines. For this reason, I will focus this discussion on the integration of objective and subjective information types in sustainability performance management. 1.761 INTEGRATING SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION TYPES. Ideally, subjective and objective information are integrated in a sustainability performance management system to reflect the recognition that practical definitions, meaningful mileposts, and clear targets are necessary but not sufficient to fully catalyze an organization's cultural shift towards ecological sustainability. To be effective, a SPMS must integrate ethics, imagination, and individual subjective experience with the best of objective science in both informal and formal ways. Chambers makes the critical point that in integrating the consciously objective with the subjective, "the key is to know whether, where and how the two knowledges can be combined (cited in 119 Bell and Morse 1999)." In the SPMS, the assumptions behind subjective and objective information are recognized without value judgments that suppress or privilege one way of knowing over another.50 Therefore, in the SPMS model, the relevance and effectiveness of both subjective ways of knowing and objective, factual information are optimized by using both types of information in specific situations for specific purposes. 1.762 STORLES AS SUBJECTIVE INFORMA TION. Although attempts have been made to systematize viewpoints and values into specific formats for information systems, I posit that formal narratives, and particularly informal dialogue and tale-telling s o Practitioner perspectives on what ways of knowing are valid and what ways are not often represent an epistemological 'fork in the road' between holism and reductionism. Without denying the utility of factual and technical knowledge, I posit that the conventional system of scientific validation, and in fact the modern history of the development of knowledge, is reductionist, reducing expressions about complex phenomena to simple and objective terms. A wealth of study from both scientific and philosophical disciplines has confirmed that the reductionist claim to objectivity is impossible, that reality is subjectively constructed, and that information analysts are deeply involved in the phenomena they are analyzing. Despite this clear argumentation, northern culture continues to place an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science in managing performance towards sustainability and has correspondingly failed to embrace experiential subjectivity in ways that are meaningful. Without irresponsibly embracing a purely relativist position, this study posits that a SPMS be based on the holistic view that human systems should reflect the multidimensional physical, intellectual, and subjective or emotional attributes of holistic intelligence. 50 have the most promise for a SPMS.51 Narrative and dialogue also support the people principle by inviting holistic intelligence into daily decision-making, igniting dialogue and relationship, empowering personal agency, and emboldening legitimate critique. Storytelling among practitioners encourages individuals and groups to value their own and others' experiences and practical wisdom and thus nurtures the evolution of ecological consciousness and championship. For this to happen, stories must first be acknowledged as methods with value and purpose. Buddrus points out that adopting this way of working is unlikely to be a simple process of adding on a new skill or technique but rather "requires fundamental cognitive and emotional reorientation (85 cited in Bell and Morse 1999)." Although planning theorists now celebrate the potential of storytelling for the profession (6 Eckstein and Throgmorton 2003), professional planners do not yet recognized stories as "information" or tools for measurement in practice. The theory provides no explicit indication of how stories might be integrated with more objective data for sustainability performance management purposes. Without attempting to be comprehensive on this subject, I posit that narrative and dialogue have identifiable and specific purposes that deserve expression in both formal and informal aspects of the information system and reporting components of a SPMS. I do not claim that all practitioner stories reflect or attain this potential but rather argue that a clearer and more specific understanding of the potential of storytelling in the practitioner environment can contribute to a more effective SPMS. While narrative by definition resists reductionist classification, it can be identified as serving three specific purposes in the practitioner environment: connectivity/integration, promotion and persuasion, and subversion.52 Stories are by nature integrative: instead of reducing observable reality into categories and classifications, stories may celebrate holistic intelligence, linking rational thought with the discourse of conscious and unconscious expectations, passions, emotion, ethics, and experience. As such, they may introduce a fresh and fertile contrast to the predictability of the scientific method and the typicality of standard procedures, pre-formatted techniques and devices.53 The nuances of interrelationship, contingency, and synergy in stories may inspire creativity: in the midst of the telling, narrators and 5 1 Two of many examples of structured frameworks for subjective information include: Value Focused Thinking (McDaniels and Keeney 1992) and Systematic Sustainability Analysis (Bell and Morse 1999; 2003). These two frameworks are based on the notion that variable perceptions of different stakeholders are legitimate as long as justified, and are collated into a spreadsheet for analysis. 5 2 The purposive qualities of storytelling advanced in this study resonate to a great degree with the philosophy of Appreciate Inquiry (Al). Al emphasizes narrative and storytelling, but focuses exclusively on stories that generate new and positive images of an organization and its future. In fact, an explicit goal of Al is to create a "narrative-rich culture with a ratio of five positive stories to every negative one" (8-9 Hammond 1998). However, I argue that subversive stories are also powerful in creating change. Clear and constructive critiques are not inherently negative, are often necessary, and do not fall into the category of deficit-based thinking. Stories may usefully assign blame to those who do not fulfill their obligations, and deride apathy. Moreover, what is considered positive and negative may vary depending on viewpoint and organizational position. For example, conservative authorities that benefit from their role in a hierarchical organization may find egalitarian narrative "negative" and may not share the view they should be "positive change catalysts...invited to participate equally as one of the many essential voices at the table" as is suggested by Al (19 Hammond 1998). 5 3 That is not to suggest that stories do not have logic of their own: storytelling arises from a universal need to create coherence from complex reality beyond facts and analysis (Dukes 2003). 51 listeners may awaken to ideas, have epiphanies, and imagine new solutions. In addition, stories may serve as catalysts for conversation and dialogue that bring practitioners into relationship, nurturing reciprocal understanding, shared knowledge, and mutual trust (Habermas 1984, cited in 188 Allmendinger 2002). Storytelling promotes the priority of the personal. Practitioner stories begin with the first person "I" of personal experience; they emphasize rather than suppress the subjective voice, and may uphold the speaker as a competent protagonist in a landscape of risks, conflicts, and challenges. Compromise and success are both promoted by practitioners who have made the journey through complex negotiations between real and ideal at a given place and time. For these reasons, stories can persuade, elicit pride and praise, empower and strengthen identities and agency, and assign responsibility and sometimes blame (Eckstein 2003; Hammond 1998). Together, the accumulation of stories may promote a legacy of personal and institutional memory of lessons learned, deals struck, and obstacles overcome that strengthens the organization's cycle of success. Finally, stories may be subversive. They arise to illustrate meaning but may communicate more and different meanings than are consciously intended. They may break rules, abandon procedural and political correctness, and any other instrument that represses authentic expression and individual freedom. In a bureaucratic government context designed to "emphasize and reinforce the status quo and act as a constraint upon change" (24 Allmendinger 2002), stories are the wily and unruly tools of contradiction, trickery, satire, irony, and criticism. Stories may "defamiliarize the familiar" (Eckstein cited in 58 Throgmorton 2003), questioning authority and hierarchy, and destabilizing the semblance of stability and uniformity in the organization. With a clearer understanding of their purposes, how might narrative and dialogue be used to optimal purpose in a SPMS? To optimize their value as complements to more objective information, subjective information in story form is best left unfettered by formalization. Rather, stories might be seen as the continual livening force within a SPM information system, acting and reacting on more objective data and events as the planning context changes over time. Narrative may be as private as a practitioner journal that represents a subjective information system, as public as a speech to fellow staff members, or simply the shared dialogue between colleagues. The informal play of the latter form of storytelling instills a continual mutual feedback cycle of posing and answering the question 'how are we doing -together?'. As spontaneous accounts, informal stories knit together the relationships and experiences of everyday work, which supports the reporting component: as Throgmorton observes: "if we do not encounter one another routinely as part of our everyday lives, we will grow increasingly ignorant, fearful, and distrustful of one another...we will find ourselves crying and shouting at one another in more formal settings, completely unable to understand our differing points of view (57 2003)." 52 While documents may lend credibility and cohesion to management, dialogue and stories generate responsive critical inquiry from actual agents of change. For all of these reasons, stories should not be prescribed as techniques, but rather invited and acknowledged as having a central place in learning and communication. In service of the latter, local governments can provide practitioner-employees with training in communication, listening, and valuing 'alternative' information sources and ways of knowing. On a final note, there is a place for narrative and other subjective forms of information in the formal reporting component of a SPMS. Planning theorists have supported this in principle while remaining silent on how the spirit and purpose of story are best presented. Leone Sandercock urges that "we ought to be using storytelling techniques more when we write up (as government or consulting reports) the deliberations that have gone into community consultations...Even as research reports [stories] have a profound place in the work of the city-building professions as we try to build more sustainable cities for the twenty-first century (164 2003)." Very recent, and regionally indigenous, sustainability reports have attempted to formally incorporate stories in written communications and reports, but there is no evidence that these reports have used stories formally as an information collection tool; rather, stories are treated as composites alongside indicators with no explicit indication of how they might be integrated or used in tandem to form the basis of tracking sustainability performance.54 An additional consideration is that the relative mix, form, substance, detail, and depth of the subjective and objective information should be adapted for the different needs of different audiences. Including subjective information in formal written communications may involve breaking down the conceptual barriers between "technical reports" and "stories", conventionally considered to be discrete genres with unique formats intended to serve different social purposes. While a lineage of epistemological critique supports this, I argue that values about different ways of knowing and expectations and assumptions about reliability and validity should be made clear as information is integrated. In other words, practitioners should be responsible in articulating the limitations and purposes of each way of knowing in formal documents. 1 . 7 7 M A N A G I N G F O R A D A P T A T I O N . The principle of adaptation holds that the management system should respond to changing internal and external conditions and that the information within it should be subject to consistent and regular 5 4 Two regional examples of organizations that have attempted to make formal use of stories as part of sustainability performance management are: (a) the GVRD; and (b) the Fraser Basin Council (FBC). The GVRD profiled fifty regional and corporate sustainability stories on its Sustainable Region Initiative website (GVRD SRI 2004). The FBC included narrative in its 2004 Sustainability Report on the Fraser Basin region. In both cases, the narratives are oriented to display results but lack an experiential or personal touch; moreover, both are provided for public engagement purposes (presumably to enhance the accessibility of more technical indicators to a lay audience) and not directed towards a practitioner audience (FBC 2004). In the GVRD sustainability stories, key lessons learned are articulated, hinting towards the purposive qualities of storytelling. While these initiatives represent a first effort at acknowledging the importance of storytelling, they simultaneously reveal that the role of stories is as yet limited and not well understood or accepted. 53 updates. An adaptive SPMS provides a constant supply of relevant and current information for decision-making. For optimal effectiveness, a sustainability performance management system should synchronize with other change/review mechanisms to take advantage of strategic opportunities. This principle makes the simple but emphatic point that performance management is never perfect, never static, and never complete. Rather, it is best viewed as a living and evolving effort that must adapt to a changing biophysical context, changing human dynamics and influences on the biosphere, and modified practical and academic understanding of how to optimally manage human activity and institutions (108 Bell and Morse 1999). Systems theory points out that relationships in a system bring about co-evolutionary change: while practitioners may adapt the SPM system over time to be more effective, the SPM system will adapt practitioners to be more effective (155 Bell and Morse 1999). 1.771 THE TIME IS Now, THE PLACE IS HERE. The most important aspect of adaptation in performance management is the degree and direction in which the public institution is moving on the sustainability spectrum. A performance management system should be immediately implemented regardless of incomplete knowledge. It is common for managers and decision makers to resist moving forward in the face of uncertainty, administrative inconvenience and even some political resistance. To this, Homer-Dixon (55 1999) cautions that "no matter how much research is devoted to understanding...[sustainability] trends, policymakers cannot escape significant uncertainty surrounding estimates of their future directions. For this reason, they should not demand precise estimates before making decisions about major environmental problems, because that strategy will simply delay policy decisions indefinitely." Setting meaningful and realistic expectations about the pace and scope of change when implementing systemic sustainability performance management is likely to be an important concern for local and regional governments. From a practical perspective, incrementalism offers many advantages to public institutions. Acting City of Vancouver Sustainability Manager Mark Holland notes that "public policy is a Titanic and one moves it slowly and turns course slowly - to do otherwise could cause great upheaval and unnecessary problems (2004, pers. comm.). One problem is insufficient organizational capacity and human resources to do the work, which can lead to concerns about fear of failure in reputation and program performance. As Part III will discuss in further detail, the City of Vancouver's pace of change provides a case in point. Holland notes that staff burnout has been a real problem and at present "we're moving so fast on so many things...that we're all running close to exhaustion mark (2004, pers. comm.)." Overwork affects not only the health of individuals but the long term health of the organization and its cycle of success. As Holland explains, when people burn out, "people quit and things fail. If any green project fails you can kiss the project good-bye or think about doing anything like that for a very long time. You can't have a massively burned out team trying to make a difference off the side of their desk (2004, pers. comm.)." 54 However, the principle of adaptation demands that the broader regional and global context be taken into account. While compromise and incrementalism may seem most manageable in the immediate term from the organizational perspective, it may not be capable of addressing the increasing urgency of global and regional un-sustainability. The research on systems theory and change concludes that changes to biophysical systems are typically sudden. A latent period where the system becomes increasingly agitated is typically followed by a rapid and irreversible shift, the timing and outcome of which is often uncertain. If perturbed beyond its realm of stability, the system will respond by either emerging in an indeterminate fashion into something new and unpredictable or disintegrating in a determinate fashion, destroying all the sub-systems previously supported by it but leaving the systems below it unaffected. These reactions are irreversible, meaning that while new and similar systems can evolve, their unique qualities will never exactly match that of a previously defined system. In other words, as global or regional biophysical systems, the social and economic systems that depend on them can be expected to be dramatically effected. However, as Rees characterizes it, high-income industrial societies like Canada have yet to come seriously to grips with the concept of sustainable development or the policies required to achieve it (Email 2 0 0 2 ) . On the contrary, Canada is implicated in "a growth-oriented development paradigm promoted by powerful corporate interests and supported by government policies favoring deregulation, economic specialization, more liberal international trade, and globalization (2 Rees Email 2 0 0 2 ) . " To meaningfully address the sustainability dilemma, local and regional governments need to put significant organizational resources in place to phase in an adaptive system for sustainability performance management. 1.772 ADAPTING SYSTEM COMPONENTS. All components of a SPMS require adaptation over time; however, the function of each component calls for a different timeline for review. The management framework must be adapted as the conceptual understanding of ecological sustainability changes or external conditions suggest that targets and objectives be modified. Performance tools must be adapted according to their relative success in achieving objectives and targets are evaluated. However, the greatest emphasis on adaptation must be directed to the information system component. Taking a regular and consistent approach to monitoring key indicators allows for cumulative and synergistic effects to be tracked over time. Furthermore, the information system should be continually "updated" with spontaneous dialogue and narrative to ensure that the organization is learning from its experiences and efforts. 1.773 UPDATING THE SPM INFORMATION SYSTEM. How often should a report be updated? Ideally, reports are updated when the information they present is no longer relevant to the audience for which they are intended. However, to ensure a baseline of adaptation, a SPMS should commit to updating reports on a regular time cycle. As a point of 55 comparison, private sector business reporting occurs on a quarterly basis and annual reports are produced as a matter of course. In practice, local and regional government commitments to set timelines, where they have been made, typically range from every year to every five years. Whatever choice an institution makes, the principles of accountability and consistency should be observed. To the extent that SPMS reporting is tied to the rotation of corporate business plans, capital plans and strategic financing plans, and the Official Community Plan review cycle, they are likely to be more effective in providing information at critical decision-making and participation junctures. In addition, a regular process to review the methodology and content of the information system and reporting should be established. As this Part has identified, the assumptions of shallow sustainability and ecological sustainability lead to different understandings of the sustainability dilemma and, by extension, different solutions. As a result, subjective stories will begin to shift and the objective indicators chosen to represent each model will differ. As ecological consciousness of the current state of un-sustainability broadens and deepens, indicators that more accurately reflect the principles of strong/ecological sustainability must be chosen to serve the requirements of more strategic and incisive change. 1.78 O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L C A P A C I T Y A N D C U L T U R E . As both Seasons (2003) and Rubenstein et al (2003) pointed out in their individual studies on city management, attention to organizational culture and capacity are critically important to the successful implementation and functioning of a performance management system. Furthermore, the importance of organizational capacity to sustainability efforts has been internationally recognized. The international Bellagio Principles for Sustainable Development specify that "institutional capacity in order to monitor progress towards sustainable development needs to be assured (1996)", underlining the widespread recognition that capacity is a key issue for sustainability performance management. In simple terms, an organization's capacity is its facility or power to perform (Miriam Webster 2004). In reality, capacity is a complex concept that could encompass a wide range of interrelated factors, from legislated jurisdiction to revenue base and program budgets to the number and training of employees, to name only a few. The degree of informal influence that individual employees and entities have, not to mention the degree of political support from Council, also relate to capacity. An organization forms a group culture that influences, and is influenced by its structure, degree and extent of capacity, and the individuals within it. However, these issues will be discussed in this study as dimensions of the organizational culture. It follows that building human resources capacity takes two basic forms: (1) hiring one or more individuals and/or structuring an entity tasked with coordinating and disseminating ecological objectives and information throughout the institution; and, (2) providing professional development in sustainability performance management for existing managerial staff, particularly in engineering, planning, parks management and purchasing roles. 56 1 . 7 9 S U M M A R Y : F R O M SUSTAINABILITY D IAGNOSIS T O SUSTAINABILITY C U R E . This Part demonstrates that the sustainability dilemma of the 21 st century is not only a vague and theoretical global condition but a very practical set of trends playing out in Canada's Greater Vancouver region. Cutting through the jumble of facts and opinions strewn between the ecological economic paradigm and the expansionist economic paradigm, I posit that sustainability is a physical, ecological condition rather than a principle or an idea, and that the current condition of un-sustainability is driven by the economic growth assumptions of global market capitalism that reinforce increasingly consumptive behavior among a rising global population. In Greater Vancouver, as the trajectory of economic and population growth, and over-consumption of materials and energy (and production of their associated wastes) continues unabated, local and regional government practitioners are professionally called upon to work out the details of how to take preventative measures within their own jurisdictions. To date, the literature on sustainability and performance management has not supplied a practical model for how local and regional governments can adopt a strategic and systematic method to make a corporate contribution toward achieving ecological sustainability milestones. This Part has outlined the Sustainability Performance Management System model with its distinctive components, principles, and considerations of organizational culture and capacity as an approach and tool for how local and regional governments can make a meaningful corporate contribution toward achieving ecological sustainability milestones. The next Part on research methods will illuminate how the SPMS model is used to assess the sustainability efforts of three local governments - the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby - and the Greater Vancouver Regional District. The case assessment is intended to demonstrate the practical value of the model and shed insight on how these organizations can improve their existing efforts. 57 Part II Research Method for Assessing Sustainability Performance Management in Four Case Organizations 2 . 1 I NTRODUCTION. The aim of Part II is to provide detailed information on the methods used and justification for their selection in order to demonstrate the credibility of this study in its assessment of corporate ecological responsibility and sustainability performance management." In the following discussion, I locate this study within its theoretical lineage, articulate the rationale behind the research process, and make a case for the generalizability and application of the study conclusions. 2 . 2 Q UALITATIVE R E S E A R C H M E T H O D . Research methodology can be classified in various ways but the most generally accepted distinction is made between qualitative and quantitative research/6 Unlike quantitative research, which relies on the gathering and analysis of numerical data, qualitative research involves the interpretation of discourse, language, and behavior and is generally accepted as the methodology of choice in the social sciences (370 Robson 1993). This study is based on interpretive qualitative research." As a form of interpretive research, this study reflects the premise that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness and shared meanings. As such, in this study I attempt to understand phenomena through the meanings that people assign to them. In service of the research, several specific techniques or methods were used to gather and integrate subjective and more objective information. I employed the following methods in this study: • A literature review of theory and textual analysis of documentary information; • Semi-structured interviews within the context of the case approach; • Semiotic analysis of primary data and researcher reflections and observations and, s s Shipman (1988 cited in Myers 2004) defines research credibility as the provision of sufficient information on the methods used and the justification for their use, including information on codification of the methods of data collection and approaches to analysis. 5 6 There are other distinctions made. Examples include: objective versus subjective; nomothetic (discovery of general laws) versus idiographic (concerned with the uniqueness of each particular situation); prediction and control versus explanation and understanding; and, outsider perspective versus insider perspective (Burrell and Morgan 1979, cited in Myers 2004). 5 7 Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991 cited in Myers 2004) propose that there are three categories of qualitative research, based on the underlying research epistemology of each: positivist, critical, and interpretive. Often, in practice, more than one category is employed in a single study. 58 • An assessment tool for performance evaluation of individual case studies. While this multiplicity provided opportunity for greater access to more information from a wider variety of sources and the potential for greater accuracy, it also demanded a more careful discipline of making assumptions and limitations explicit in order to advance defensible conclusions. 2 . 3 O V E R V I E W O F T H E R E S E A R C H PROCESS. I developed an initial conceptual framework from a review of the literature, to ground this study in communicative and collaborative planning theory. Interviews and researcher reflections were integrated in a case approach. After the collection and analysis of primary research and researcher reflections was completed, I revised the conceptual framework to reflect the new insights and information gained. On the basis of this framework, a scoring system was developed as a tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the sustainability performance management system (SPMS) of each study organization. Through use of a semi-structured interview method, four organizations were canvassed and twelve practitioners interviewed. Case information for each organization was collated, shaped by semiotic analysis and supplemented with researcher reflections. As a final step, the scoring system was applied, and a score assigned to each organization. 2.4 P URPOSE O F R E S E A R C H . The research statement and framework for inquiry for this study evolved throughout the process of research. I initiated this study with the following research statement: Increasing global environmental scarcity and degradation has demanded that regions take a proactive response to sustainability in their own realms and beyond. Local and regional governments have key opportunities and responsibilities in their roles as corporations - as well as service providers and regulators - to reduce consumption of materials and energy. The most effective means of taking corporate ecological responsibility is through a strategic, systemic, and sensitive sustainability performance management approach. On the basis of this statement, there were several basic questions I wanted to both explore and test: Has an effective management system for North American local and regional governments been devised to organize and track corporate performance on ecological sustainability milestones? If so, what does it look like? If not, what could this performance management system for sustainability look like, and how could it be practically applied to the real local government context of the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby, and the regional government context of the Greater Vancouver Regional District? To satisfy these research questions, I developed the Sustainability Performance Management System (SPMS) as a model to guide sustainability performance management system development in local 59 and regional government and as a tool to assess the existing sustainability efforts of the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby. A secondary purpose of applying the SPMS model to case research was to determine its theoretical applicability to actual local and regional government contexts. 2 . 5 T H E O R E T I C A L L INEAGE: C O M M U N I C A T I V E / C O L L A B O R A T I V E P L A N N I N G . With the research statement and questions and insights from the literature review as guideposts, I chose the communicative and collaborative planning paradigm as the theoretical basis for developing my primary research strategy. The communicative/collaborative planning paradigm is a set of normative theories about the process and substance of planning. The paradigm supports democracy, social justice, and ecological sustainability (197 Allmendinger 2002) as end targets of planning efforts. In terms of process, the paradigm is based on a pastiche of concepts, including those developed by Habermas, Friedmann, and Forester/8 These proponents critique, but do not discredit modernist or mainstream assumptions and practices in planning.59 In general, they challenge the mainstream organizational culture in local and regional governments where "practice is still dominated by the concern to be seen as 'objective' or 'scientific' (Camhis 1979 cited in 193 Allmendinger 2002)." In contrast, these proponents advocate for the use of so-called objective scientific and evidentiary principles alongside more human-centered and alternative ways of knowing, including narrative and dialogue. While this study emerges from the discipline of community and regional planning, the term "practitioner" is preferred over "planner" since many regional and municipal practitioners are not professional planners but carry out a planning function as part of other professional backgrounds. Seminal theorist jurgen Habermas advanced the concept of communicative rationality as a means of bringing together a complex mix of cultures and discourses into meaningful interaction (185 Allmendinger 2002).60 This type of rationality moves away from an individualized, subject-object 5 8 The paradigm has been built on the contributions of other key thinkers but for the purposes of this study, discussion will be limited to these three proponents. For example, Allmendinger (2002) credits Foucault's theory on power relations and Giddens theory on social networks as major contributions to the communicative/collaborative planning paradigm. 5 9 Modernist planning is also known as "enlightenment planning" or "rational comprehensive planning" and is concerned with applied scientific rationality (158 Allmendinger 2002). At the other extreme, the postmodern view of rationality and truth is that both are socially produced: "truth is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements" (Fontana and Pasquino 1991 cited in 11 Allmendinger 2002). 6 0 Habermas has two fundamental concepts: the lifeworld and the system. The lifeworld is a symbolic network in which subjects interact and through shared practical knowledge coordinate social action. The realm of personal relationships is one dimension of the lifeworld. The system, such as the capitalist economy or bureaucratic administration, operates through power and interest and forms the context within which the lifeworld operates. Habermas (1987) holds that the system dominates the lifeworld (though it was created from the rationalization of the lifeworld) and restricts the scope for communicative action. Communicative action, which allows people to "develop, confirm, and renew their memberships in social groups" (cited in 187 Allmendinger 2002) vies against 60 conception of reason to a form of reasoning developed within intersubjective communication. As such, communicative rationality encompasses other ways of knowing and thinking than rationality; in particular, it celebrates narratives and stories as means of conveying knowledge, and building reciprocal understanding, trust and accord (188 Allmendinger 2002). I adopt Habermas' epistemological understanding of subjectivity and objectivity as well as his emphasis on communication in the practice of planning and management. John Friedmann (1987) supplies pointed critiques of scientific objectivity and value neutrality from within the planning profession. As a brief summary, he holds that the construction of knowledge must be regarded as an intensely social process based on communication. As a result, practitioners have no claim to privileged access to objective knowledge and have a responsibility to attend to other knowledges that relate experiences, beliefs, and visions. Finally, John Forester advanced the concept of deliberative storytelling among planning practitioners as a means of sharing practical wisdom and accomplishing everyday tasks. Forester builds on individual narrative with a theory of group narrative. He theorizes that "planners do not simply tell individual tales, they work together to construct politically shaped, shared "working" accounts - commonly considered, deliberative stories of the tasks, situations, and opportunities at hand (516 Forester 1996)." These narratives embody a holistic group intelligence that integrates facts, opinions, and emotions, reconstructs selectively what the problems at hand really are, and casts group members with identities as agents of change (or not). In this study I adopt the convincing collective argument of these theorists that there is a politically contentious aspect to objective information - scientific methods and tools, models, and information systems - on the one hand, and a practical application for narrative and dialogue in support of planning on the other. 2.6 C O N C E P T U A L F R A M E W O R K . A conceptual framework is both an inductive tool that draws general conclusions from particular instances and a dialogical and diagrammatic arrangement of the main features and dimensions of a case study and its presumed relationships (150 Robson 1993). In this study, the research questions directed a review of the literature that, in combination with insights from the communicative/collaborative planning paradigm, provided a conceptual framework for the primary research. The conceptual framework was later revised to incorporate the most salient themes emerging from the primary data collection process. instrumental rationality. The primacy of communicative action allows the lifeworld to reclaim ground lost to the system. 61 The conceptual framework was also based on a theoretical framework with specific assumptions and prescriptions about how the world operates or should be (9 Allmendinger 2002). The normative assumptions were taken from the communicative/collaborative planning paradigm. The prescriptive assumption was made that my sustainability performance management model is the most effective means of measuring and making progress on ecological sustainability within a regional or local government corporation. According to Martin and Turner (1986 cited in Myers 2004), grounded theory is "an inductive, theory discovery methodology that allows the researcher to develop a theoretical account of the general features of a topic while simultaneously grounding the account in empirical observations or data." As such, the conceptual framework for this study was both grounded in theory, and tested and modified according to the related experiences of current practitioners. The following diagram is a representation of the logic of the conceptual framework as an instrument panel in a vehicle, where corporate ecological responsibility is metaphorically the vehicle for traveling towards a destination of ecological sustainability. The steering wheel represents supply side and demand side management, the major strategy directing the course of the journey. The six gage instrument panel on the dashboard of the vehicle represents the principles of the sustainability performance management system used to "drive" the vehicle and monitor its performance. [...over//] 62 Figure 11-1 Conceptual Framework 2 . 7 C A S E A P P R O A C H . The "case study" is a popular and well-recognized method for qualitative research that is suitable for focusing on individuals and organizations; in fact, Valsiner (1986 cited in 56 Robson 1993) claims that "the study of individual cases has always been the major (albeit often unrecognized) strategy in the advancement of knowledge about human beings."6' In this study, I use the term case study to describe both (a) a research method that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, and (b) units of analysis, namely three municipalities and one regional district. 6 1 Case studies may serve purposes in more quantitative studies, e.g. statistical generalization 63 One of the most important advantages of the case approach is its flexible and iterative design (5 Robson 1993). Although organizations have discrete boundaries, other boundaries of scope and boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident and must be set on the basis of the emergent focus of the enquiry (Lincoln and Guba cited in 61 Robson 1993). As a form of inductive data analysis, use of the case approach enabled me to include my own reflections (Lincoln and Guba cited in 61 Robson 1993). To some extent, I adopt in this study the ethnographic objective "to develop a theory about how participants accomplish the various actions taking place in the group (148 Robson 1993)."" Directed by the research problems, each of the four case studies involves four dimensions of enquiry: (1) the study of an organization as the unit of analysis, including its structure, capacity, and culture; (2) the study of individual roles and attitudes; and, (3) the study of the relationship of individuals to the organization. Collectively, these dimensions were integrated to determine the degree of effectiveness of sustainability efforts in each case organization as compared to my model of a Sustainability Performance Management System. 2.71 C A S E S E L E C T I O N . I employed a purposive selection strategy to decide which cases to investigate. In purposive selection, my judgement as to typicality or interest of actors and processes in local and regional government institutions is the principle of selection (141 Robson 1993). The selection strategy used is grounded in theory, and based on the conceptual framework. A regional framework for multiple case selection was chosen on the basis of the theoretical view that the region is the appropriate geographic unit for the study of progress towards sustainability (Throgmorton 2003; McCloskey 1993; Aberley 1993). The Greater Vancouver Regional District was selected on the basis that it is the government authority defining what constitutes a region in this geographic area as well as the fact that it met three selection criteria. The municipalities were selected for this study on the basis that they belonged to the GVRD and met the three selection criteria. It is important to underline that to my knowledge, no organizations have implemented a formal sustainability performance management regime as I have proposed in Part I of this study. Rather, each of the following criteria indicated to me that, to some degree, the organization had taken steps towards corporate ecological responsibility. These criteria include: • the establishment of institutional capacity to implement sustainability, such as a sustainability or environmental planner, or a sustainability or environmental department or unit; " Ethnographies and case studies have many similiarities. Robson (148 1993) defines the goal of an ethnography as "a theory about how participants accomplish the various actions taking place in the group." The distinguishing feature of ethnography, however, is that the researcher spends a significant amount of time in the field observing, dialoguing, and absorbing the contextual features. 64 • the creat ion of an env i ronmen ta l or sustainabi l i ty report , sugges t ing that a systemat ic inventory of env i ronmenta l /sus ta inab i l i t y issues a n d ind ica tors h a d b e e n unde r taken . State of the e n v i r o n m e n t reports are not the same as sustainabi l i ty reports. They have been i n t r oduced in this s tudy because they represent efforts to c o m m u n i c a t e abou t eco log ica l cond i t i ons ; a n d , • t he i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of a corpora te level resolut ion o r po l icy o n env i ronmenta l l y responsib le p rocu remen t . T h e Greater Vancouve r Reg iona l Distr ict and each of the local gove rnmen ts se lected - the C i t y of Vancouve r , the C i ty of R i c h m o n d , a n d the C i t y of Burnaby - satisf ied these three cr i ter ia. 2 . 7 2 I N T E R V I E W M E T H O D . I c h o s e t h e in terv iew m e t h o d for th is s tudy for pract ica l a n d no rma t i ve reasons. Qua l i ta t i ve case studies d e p e n d o n d iscourse, bo th textua l a n d verba l , as the units of da ta to be ana lyzed to d r a w conc lus ions abou t the subject under invest igat ion. Interviews are essential ly " inv i ta t ions to s to ry te l l ing" (Portel l i , c i ted in 2 7 Eckstein 2 0 0 3 ) that is " in i t ia ted by the in terv iewer for the speci f ic pu rpose of ob ta i n i ng research-re levant in fo rmat ion a n d focused by h i m o n con ten t spec i f ied by research object ives of a systemat ic descr ip t ion , p red ic t ion or exp lana t ion (Canne l a n d K a h n , c i ted in 2 2 8 Robson 1 9 9 3 ) . " For m y purposes , interv iews presented the mos t effective means of f i nd ing ou t i n fo rmat ion in a proact ive , t ime ly , a n d cost-effect ive manner . In this s tudy, I e m p l o y e d a semi-s t ruc tured or focused in terv iew a p p r o a c h to a l low the in terv iew a g e n d a to be set by bo th mysel f a n d the in terv iewee acco rd i ng to the pr inc ip les of d ia logue . I based m y in terv iew style o n the pr inc ip les of Apprec ia t i ve Inquiry and d i a l o g u e . " Acco rd ing l y , the des ign of in terv iews a n d co l lec t ion of p r imary da ta was based the p h i l o s o p h y of d ia logue as "pu rpose fu l talk that invo lves openness , l i s ten ing, m a k i n g m e a n i n g a n d learn ing t oge the r " (1 Dukes 2 0 0 3 ) w h e r e peop le " g a i n an unders tand ing of the issues, a n d mos t impor tan t l y , the peop le b e h i n d the issues - their real bel iefs, values, goa ls a n d fears . " I a t t e m p t e d t o ba lance the rel iabi l i ty impera t ive t o m i n i m i z e subject error a n d bias w i t h the m o d e l of mu tua l a n d aff i rmat ive learn ing . In pract ice, I a d o p t e d a respectful d e m e a n o r , but d i d not suppor t or agree w i t h the in terv iewee's op in ions . Final ly, I m i n i m i z e d factual error by c o n f i r m i n g , w h e r e possib le, oral s ta tements w i t h wr i t ten reports, mee t i ng minu tes , a n d o ther d o c u m e n t a r y or w e b - b a s e d sources. In the semi-s t ruc tured interv iew, the interv iewer has clearly de f ined purposes , bu t seeks to ach ieve t h e m t h r o u g h s o m e f lexibi l i ty in w o r d i n g and in the order of presenta t ion of quest ions (227 Robson 1993) . 6 31 note that the more conventional distinction made between interview styles is respondent versus informant (Powney and Watts 1987, cited in 231 Robson 1993). In the respondent interview, the interviewer sets the agenda and remains in control throughout the whole process. In informant interviews the interviewer creates space for the interviewee to set the agenda and express perceptions (231 Robson 1993). Al and dialogue break down this distinction and adopt aspects of both styles. 6 5 For this study, I developed an interview questionnaire to ensure beforehand that questions would be strategically aligned with the research problems. The questionnaire was not intended as a framework for standardization. Rather, questions were designed to elicit opinions and attitudes and experiences related to collaboration and working relationships as well as the more technical aspects of performance management and conceptual notions of sustainability. At the beginning of each interview, I attempted to ground the dialogue in the interviewee's experience by inviting the interviewee to begin by describing his or her professional role. The order of questions was organic and determined by the flow of conversation. Each main question was open-ended, to provide no restriction on the content or manner of the reply other than on the subject area. Please see Appendix C for the interview questionnaire. 2 . 7 3 I N T E R V I E W E E S E L E C T I O N . In order to triangulate the data and obtain a diversity of perspectives from each municipality, this study sought to obtain three people from each municipality to speak to the research problems. More than one perspective was sought in order to balance one subjective view with the others and look for instances of Habermasian "intersubjective awareness." The selection method employed was dimensional (141 Robson 1993), where the various dimensions - in this case practitioner role - were incorporated into the sampling procedure so that at least one representative of every role was included in this study. I deemed that the practitioner roles most germane to this study were those directly involved with designing management systems, coordinating aspects of what I term sustainability performance management, or implementing what I term performance tools. These roles included managers of purchasing or materials management, building, environmental or sustainability coordination, or corporate administration. Regional and municipal organizational charts gave some indication of how intellectual capital and responsibility was located in the organization, but some trial and error and internal referral was necessary to find a representative sample of perspectives. Formal structures were found to differ slightly among municipalities, as well as the location of informal expertise. I developed several criteria to guide my selection of interviewees: • I recognized the selected individuals from environmentally responsible purchasing and/or building polices and environmental/sustainability reports produced by that municipality; • I examined web-based organizational charts to identify potential interviewees based on their roles and responsibilities within each municipality in purchasing, building, and environmental management; 6 6 • In some cases, I asked personal contacts to recommend potential interviewees. At the end of each interview, I asked the interviewee if any other colleague(s)' roles would be relevant to this study (particularly if information gaps were identified over the course of the interview); and, • I received formal consent and willingness to participate in this study.64 Prospective participants meeting the fourth criteria and at least one other of these criteria were tabulated into a list and a shortlist was made of possible contacts. At the outset, a range of possible contacts were identified to ensure that enough people would participate in this study if the first choice contact was unavailable or unwilling to participate. I established a working rule to call a short-listed prospective interviewee three times; if the call or email still remained unanswered after the third call, the person was removed from the list as unavailable to participate. In total, I contacted and invited twenty individuals to participate in this study. Of these twenty, I interviewed twelve. Due to lack of availability, not all formal roles were represented in each municipality. In the Greater Vancouver Regional District sample, purchasing, environmental management, and corporate administration were represented; in the City of Vancouver, purchasing, planning, and environmental management were represented; in the City of Richmond, buildings and environmental management were represented, but not purchasing; and, finally, in the City Of Burnaby, purchasing and environmental management were represented. Eleven interviews were conducted in-person and one interview was conducted by telephone. The latter was selected as a practical solution to data collection timelines and geographic constraints. With the exception of the telephone interview, all interviews were taped after approval was received from the interviewee. I selected the in-person approach in order to better personalize the subject matter, build better rapport with the interviewee, and observe communication tone and style more closely in service of gaining more accurate insights into the second implicit research problem on communicating about progress toward sustainability. In-person interviews were held at in or near the local or regional government offices of the interviewees. In three instances, interviews were conducted at restaurants in the vicinity of the local government headquarters, at the choice of the interviewee. Each participant was asked for thirty minutes of their time; however, in practice, interviews ranged from thirty minutes to one and a half hours. 2.74 E V A L U A T I O N M E T H O D I: S E M I O T I C A N A L Y S I S & R E S E A R C H E R R E F L E C T I O N S . This study makes no attempt to evaluate the substantive effectiveness of each organization's programs and policies (i.e. the total number of tonnes of greenhouse gases produced per year); rather, the 6 4 All interviewees signed the University of British Columbia Research Ethics Board's formal Consent Form. 67 emphasis is on using specific criteria (see Appendix D) to evaluate the extent and degree of effectiveness of each organization's sustainability performance management system (SPMS) in service of corporate ecological responsibility. Analysis of information in each case organization was shaped by the semiotic tradition. Semiotics is concerned with interpreting subjective and experiential meanings as they are expressed in written and verbal discourse. Two basic forms were employed in this study: (a) content analysis, and (b) discourse analysis. Content analysis is concerned with the discovery of regularities in the primary data (Krippendorf 1980 cited in 273 Robson 1993). In this study, I searched for structures and patterns in the text and made inferences about meaning and significance on the basis of these regularities. Discourse analysis is concerned with the characteristics of language and focuses on how statements represent a particular kind of knowledge about a topic (Hall cited in 287 Robson 1993). In particular, I focused on the narrative discourse of practitioner-interviewees. A narrative, or story, is a "verbal expression...that narrate[s] the unfolding of events over some passage of time and in some particular location. Stories use language to frame what has happened to a set of characters in a particular time and place (Miriam Webster 2004)." Through content and discourse aspects of semiotic analysis, in combination with researcher reflections and observations, I was able to discern essential meanings and conceptual categories from the primary data. As has been already noted, these categories were used to revise and modify the original conceptual framework guiding the research. 2.75 E V A L U A T I O N M E T H O D II: S C O R I N G T O O L . With the shaping and categorization of information related to sustainability efforts in the regional and local government case studies complete, I required a further evaluation tool to (a) draw conclusions on relative individual and comparative effectiveness within and between case units; and (b) shed insight on how these organizations can improve their existing efforts; and, (c) demonstrate the practical value of the model. To serve these purposes, I developed a scoring system on the basis of the principles, components, and organizational conditions of the Sustainability Performance Management System model. The scoring system is designed to take a qualitative measure of the independent effectiveness of each of the four components of a SPMS according to the five sustainability principles described in Part I. In review, the four components of a SPMS are (1) the management framework; (2) performance tools; (3) an information system; and (4) reporting. While anticipated initiatives are discussed as part of the case descriptions, the scoring system only takes into account initiatives that the local government already completed or are actively in progress. Components of a SPMS were given different relative weight. For details, see Appendix D. Two additional parameters were included in a measure of overall effectiveness 68 of the system, namely the cohesion between system components and organizational capacity. In reality, capacity is a complex concept that could encompass a wide range of interrelated factors, from legislated jurisdiction to revenue base and program budgets to the number and training of employees, to name only a few. However, in the case assessment component of this study, I take a simple focus on the number of full time employees tasked specifically with sustainability/environment coordination or management and their authoritative position in the formal organizational structure and the number of departmental managers with material responsibility for DSM and SSM that fit the profile of ecological citizens or champions. I applied scores for system cohesion and organizational capacity as more general measures without any specific criteria. Organizational culture is dealt with separately as a measure of system effectiveness rather than a component of a SPMS system. Finally, an overall rating is given for each case organization. It should be noted that the rating of organizations is specific to their management systems and should not be interpreted as a measure of corporate ecological responsibility; on the contrary, managing performance is only one aspect of corporate responsibility. For all ratings, I allowed a measurement specificity of integers only (no decimal places). I attained the overall score for system effectiveness by converting the sum of all points into a percentage value and then giving the value a rating of minimal (0-20%), weak (21-39%), medium (40-59%), strong (60-79%), or optimal (80-100%). The five sustainability principles in short form are managing for (1) performance, (2) people (engagement and collaboration), (3) reward and value, (4) integration, and (5) adaptation. The scoring system also measures the degree of emphasis on each individual SPM principle. I used a simple weighting system to convey that some principles had a greater degree of importance to the effectiveness of certain components of the system than others. For further details, see Appendix D. It should be noted that consideration of a broader range of performance tools in the scope of research, or different performance tools, could yield different ratings for the case organizations. The scoring system uses numerical values from one to five to assign a rating to each parameter. While numerical values are used, the scoring system is essentially qualitative in nature. A series of criteria were developed to score the degree of adoption of each of the five sustainability principles in various components of the management system (framework, tools, information system, and reporting). On the basis of my review of the literature, I consider the principles of performance, and people the highest priority and accordingly gave them the most weighting in the scoring system. Given the subjective and qualitative nature of the ranking system, I considered basic averaging and generic estimation sufficient for the purposes of the evaluation. It should be noted that a more statistically sophisticated scoring system might produce different results but was not within the scope or capacity of the present study. 69 2.8 L I M I T A T I O N S O N C O N C L U S I O N S . To optimize credibility, I attended to high standards of accuracy, reliability, and validity within the assumptions and expectations of interpretive research. Interpretive research does not predefine dependent and independent variables, but focuses on the full complexity of human sense making as a situation emerges (Kaplan and Maxwell 1994 cited in Myers 2004). The interpretive theoretical model acknowledges that errors and biases are inherent in the process and are unavoidable to some degree; as a result, the approach is explicit about assumptions and limitations, without striving to design the research to eliminate them. Validity holds that the description of data should be open and unbiased, the assumptions identified and articulated, and a logical argument pieced together (67 Robson 1993). Validity asks the questions: are the findings really about what they appear to be about? The two major types of validity are internal and external validity. Internal validity is concerned with determinations of cause and effect, whether A causes B, or B causes A. External validity refers to a study's claim to generalizability, or the extent to which the findings of the enquiry are more generally applicable, for example, in other contexts, situations, or times, or to persons other than those directly involved (66 Robson 1993). Since this study involves multiple case studies and makes comparisons between them, generalizability is a critical issue. The case studies must be viewed in their own right, not as samples from a population (5 Robson 1993); in other words, this study claims theoretical or analytical, rather than literal or statistical, replication across cases (379 Robson 1993). I argue that conclusions drawn from the research analysis and evaluation may be generalized to other member municipalities within the Greater Vancouver Regional District, to other regions in British Columbia, and to a more limited extent other regional jurisdictions in Canada. The subject matter is universal enough and the regulatory and cultural context across the province and the nation is similar enough to justify this broad generalization. Reliability is the second essential test of research validity, the test of logic. A study cannot be valid if it is not reliable. Compromises of reliability may arise from the subject, in this case the interviewees, or from the researcher (object). Subject error occurs when the subject's performance is subject to random factors, and subject bias occurs when the subject is motivated to perform in certain ways rather than performing from a condition of neutrality. Observer error occurs when the observer's performance/ability is subject to random factors, and observer bias occurs when the conscious or unconscious ideologies, preferences, perspectives, and viewpoints of the observer affect the participants in a study. Observer error leads to additional limitations that were recognized and dealt with consciously in the research process: limitations on the amount of data that could be gathered and analyzed; a tendency to attend to information on the basis of its availability; a tendency to devalue incomplete information; a tendency to ignore information conflicting with hypotheses already held, and 70 to emphasize information that confirms them; a tendency to strive for internal consistency and a tendency to discount the novel and unusual; a tendency to ignore the fact that some sources are more reliable than others (uneven reliability); a tendency to over or under-react to new information; a tendency to place excessive confidence in one's judgment when once it is made; and, finally, a tendency to interpret or conflate co-occurrence as correlation (Sadler 1981 cited in Myers 2004). In this study I took responsible steps wherever possible to minimize error and bias, and guard against "specious certainty" (290 Robson 1993) but cannot claim that these factors were eliminated completely. I employed a triangulation strategy as a system of checks and balances to optimize validity and reliability." Triangulation garners various accounts of participants with different roles and combines them with the researcher's own perceptions and understandings to culminate in an agreed and negotiated account (74 Allmendinger 2002). This satisfies the interpretive theoretical understanding of objectivity as "intersubjective agreement" (74 Allmendinger 2002). In this study, I balanced one subjective view with at least two other views in the same organization; moreover, subjective information was further balanced with more empirical data where appropriate. Attitudinal subjective information, such as risk orientation, is not appropriate for triangulation. It must be emphasized, then, that this study contains the risk attitudes and stories of only three individuals in each organization, and the attitudes of these individuals should not be taken to reflect the overall risk orientation of the respective organization. At best, this study presents "a well written case study report with a clear analytical framework [that] holds promise for making contact with the more implicit and informal understandings held by readers who are able to see parallels with the situation in which they work or otherwise have knowledge about (73 Allmendinger 2002)." Ultimately, the rigor of the research process is intended to serve the purpose of research: to provide a model or "road map" for peer municipalities and regional governments to develop a strategic, systemic, and sensitive sustainability performance management approach to reducing consumption of materials and energy. 6 5 The term triangulation was originally taken from surveying practice and redefined as a research method for "finding out where something is by getting a 'fix' on it from two or more places" (290 Robson 1993). 71 Part III Presentation of Case Assessments of One District and Three Cities in Greater Vancouver 3.1 INTRODUCTION. I undertook the case research to investigate whether the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby have effective management systems in place to organize and track corporate performance on ecological sustainability milestones. To that end, I assessed each case institution or organization according to my model of a Sustainability Performance Management System and gave each a relative rating of effectiveness compared to the model. This rating facilitates a comparative analysis and discussion of the four cases studied in the following Part. Collectively, the case research demonstrates that a suite of what I term sustainability performance management activities have been implemented in these institutions. To date, however, none of the institutions subscribes to a systematic management strategy for sustainability. Only one of the institutions actively subscribes to an environmental management system (EMS). Although a vital culture of sustainability championship is evident among the practitioners interviewed, the concept remains poorly understood and the management strategies employed in its service, scattered. Furthermore, the case studies reveal that despite each institution's existing management infrastructure, very few of the practitioners interviewed are able to make connections between their departmental initiatives and the overall management system. Rather, most practitioners interviewed grapple independently with the challenge of using the sustainability principles identified in this model, and others, within their business practices. Finally, each of the study organizations has taken a unique approach to what I term sustainability performance management with different strengths and weaknesses, suggesting that each institution has much to learn from its peers in this study. This Part presents the case studies according to the components, principles, and organizational conditions of the Sustainability Performance Management model for analytical simplicity; however, it should be kept in mind that this conceptual framework is mine and not the framework in use by the case institution described. I present the findings from each case unit in the order of its relative rating from highest to lowest beginning with the City of Richmond, and followed by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, the City of Vancouver, and the City of Burnaby. 72 The City of Richmond 3.21 C U L T U R E O F E C O L O G I C A L C ITIZENSHIP. Richmond is widely known across the region and even nationally as an environmental, if not a sustainability, leader (Knight 2004, pers. comm.; NRCAN 2003). Richmond takes corporate responsibility seriously, while instilling a sense of pride and fun in practitioners, who enthusiastically make individual contributions with a collective sense of purpose. The City's culture of ecological citizenship receives an optimal rating in this study. Richmond demonstrates a high degree of environmental citizenship in its approach to managing itself as a corporation, and ecological principles generally inform the discretionary decisions of departmental managers. While Vancouver has relied largely on detailed corporate plans to lead the corporation towards ecological sustainability, Richmond employs a handful of clear and simple messages and informal strategies to guide change, and has even produced a Statement of Environmental Culture (2002). The most memorable story told by a City of Richmond practitioner as part of the study interviews was a narrative about people and participation in sustainability management. The tale positions the City at the forefront of what I term sustainability performance management in the region. It also reveals the City's firm orientation towards performance, its emphasis on depth and breadth of practitioner engagement, and its value for adaptation. The story is set in the Facilities Maintenance department and told by the departmental manager: / took one of the guys here with me to a course on energy management. What the course did more than anything was to help us learn how to recognize opportunities. The message was: opportunities are there, all you have to do is recognize them. After taking that course, I've made a point of involving stattin training opportunities and giving them different jobs to do. Right now I'm in the middle of a project to replace all of the incandescent light bulb in our City facilities with compact fluorescents and to replace failed EXIT lights with newer LED (Light-Emitting Diode) technology. LED EXIT lights became available in 1995, and I went and changed over all our EXIT lights to LED at that time; I think we were the first municipality in BC to do that. Well, the first generation of the LED product wasn't perfect. Some of them failed. And because our stores didn't carry LED replacements, the replacements that went back in were incandescent. So I've taken a janitor away from his janitorial jobs and I've had him go out and do the audit of what incandescent lights and EXIT lights need replacing. Now he's seen what needs to be changed. I'm going to get him to go back and change all the lamps. So once he's made all the changes, I'll show him what a difference these changes have made. He gets a complete picture. He will be able to see what a difference he's made. When you start doing that, people start to think differently. These guys in my department have taken this notion of energy efficiency and run with it. They're coming back to me and saying: "We should do this and we should do that. By all accounts, one of the most successful initiatives Richmond undertook to build a culture of ecological citizenship and performance was its City visioning process. The process was tied to the review of Richmond's Official Community Plan in 1997 (2 Rich. SOER 1998) and widely involved public citizens 73 and City practitioners.66 Since then, the simple trio of vision, mission, and core values has been absorbed into daily operations and employee perspectives, serving as both an informal and formal anchor for organizational priorities, strategies, and actions. As Hogg declares, "We believe it...there's a lot of buying into this mission statement. I'm seeing this from the staff (2004, pers. comm.)." Naysmith concurs that "all of our departments are heading in the same direction...each department works to how it sees itself contributing to the overall vision (2004, pers. comm.)." The vision is "for the City of Richmond to be the most appealing, livable, and well-managed community in Canada (Richmond 2004)."67 In turn, the mission is "to protect and enhance the City's livability and economic well-being for current and future generations through visionary leadership and responsible decision making; accountable and sustainable fiscal practice; the development of a unique and beautiful city; product and service excellence and efficiency; and community consultation (Richmond 2004)." Finally, a set of core values "govern the way the City makes decisions, how we interact with others, and how we conduct ourselves" (Richmond 2004): • P E O P L E . The emphasis on people means involving the community, supporting and encouraging staff growth and development, and appreciating efforts and successes; • E X C E L L E N C E . The emphasis on excellence means practicing continuous improvement in people, products, services, and accomplishments, and taking responsibility for ourselves and our work; • L E A D E R S H I P . The emphasis on leadership means demonstrating honesty, integrity, and respect, communicating openly and promoting a visionary attitude at all levels; • T E A M . The emphasis on team means encouraging the power of cooperation and concern for fellow staff members throughout the organization, building on strengths and collective knowledge, and focusing on a common goal; and, • I N N O V A T I O N . The emphasis on innovation means challenging the status quo, assumptions, systems, and the way we do things, taking well-managed risks and unleashing creativity, and learning from others and from past experiences (Richmond 2004). Although the visioning process and its messaging products do not reference sustainability, they affirm a competitive drive for excellence within a culture that equates consideration of human impacts on the environment with excellence. Facilities Development Manager David Naysmith explains: 6 6 Each staff person interviewed in Richmond brought the city vision into their discussion of performance management. 6 7 The vision statement for the City of Richmond is meant to provide a clear image of where the organization is heading; in contrast, the mission statement defines the purpose of the organization (Richmond 2004). 74 When we're talking about being livable, environment comes into that equation. Anything I can do that would improve the environment would improve liveability and contribute towards our vision. The City also has a number of core values and we try to consider those values in what we do. So, when I'm looking at a green building...everything about a green building supports innovation, leadership, everything. So from that perspective, from our overall strategy, I'm in a no-lose position. I can go forward with a green building and I have all of this material, all of this supporting infrastructure behind me that says 'this is what we should be doing and it's going to cost us a little bit more, but it's exactly where we want to be'. Now we're building 2 V' century buildings that will, for future generations, prove to be assets as opposed to problems (2004, pers. comm.)." Richmond's competitive vision statement to be the most well-managed municipality in Canada imbues a healthy performance orientation without detracting from the positive influence and cooperation that Richmond demonstrates to its regional peers. Finally, Richmond's culture is earmarked by a "people first" attitude that is pervasive throughout the organization and its guiding documents. In particular, Hogg identifies that it is the core value of recognition, above all others, that "feeds people, feeds the fire" and has contributed to Richmond's legacy of success (2004, pers. comm.). 3 . 2 2 O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L C A P A C I T Y . The City of Richmond demonstrates a conventional hierarchical structure that is headed by Council, corporate administration and subdivided into functional departments, divisions, and sections. Approval by Council is the fundamental measure of what is considered credible and accepted in the organization. Environmental Coordinator Elliott observes that Council's approval of performance tools such as the Green Purchasing Guide encourages more hesitant individuals towards ecological citizenship (2004, pers. comm.). Richmond earns a strong rating for its organizational capacity despite the fact that its roster of approximately 1000 full time employees and 700 part time and auxiliary staff (102 Rich. SOER 2001) seems minimal in comparison to Vancouver. Through emphasis on nurturing extensive and enduring relationships with other governments and organizations, and by optimizing the effectiveness of its own human resources, Richmond is a very capable organization for its size. In Richmond, sustainability performance is driven by both the central coordinating unit, called the Emergency and Environmental Programs Department (EEPD), and by functional departmental managers. The EEPD is organized under the umbrella of Engineering & Public Works (Richmond 2004). In general, the EEPD is more concerned with coordinating components of Richmond's informal environmental management system, and functional managers are more concerned with creating and implementing performance tools. The EPD is very small, with only two staff positions that are largely tasked with assisting departmental managers with research and "seeding" new environmental initiatives by making persuasive presentations to key practitioners in the organization (Elliott 2004, pers. comm.). Both Corporate Programs Management Department and Engineering and Public Works are key players in Richmond's environmental performance management. The former oversees central Purchasing, 75 which secures materials, supplies, equipment, and services and manages construction contracts and consulting services. Major purchasing activities, such as the purchase of corporate facilities, are carried out in a collaborative process involving central Purchasing and departmental managers. Richmond has a stock of 145 city-owned buildings, which amounts to about 1.5 million square feet with a replacement value of over $200 million (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.).6 8 The EPD serves as an auxiliary collaborator in providing purchasing teams with voluntary environmental guidelines for prospective contractors. In turn, Engineering staff were consulted in the preparation process for environmental purchasing guidelines in the form of a one-day seminar (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). Engineering and Public Works oversees the Engineering Department, which in turn manages two divisions: the Facility Operations and Maintenance division, and the Facility Planning and Construction division (Richmond 2004). The former is mainly focused on maintaining and retrofitting existing facilities, while the latter is focused on planning new facilities, replacing the components of existing buildings over the facility life cycle (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.; Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.). For a detailed chart of the organizational structure, see Appendix E. The organizational way of working is defined by a management structure formally sanctioned by Council and a voluntary style of collaboration among departmental managers and the EEPD. Departmental managers David Naysmith and Phil Hogg appreciate the flexibility of their discretion over degree of adoption of environmental considerations (2004 pers. comm.). The EEPD is recognized as an agent of advocacy and influence rather than authority or enforcement (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.). Moreover, the corporate wide tools it may suggest are voluntary rather than prescriptive; as Elliott reflects, "if it were any other way, it would become a joke (2004, pers. comm.)." Naysmith views the organization as anchored in a common purpose but sees room for improvement in interdepartmental collaboration: "communications between the departments and the strategies they are working on doesn't necessarily trickle down. What I will say is that all of our departments are heading in the same direction...everything we do we believe contributes to our city vision (2004, pers. comm.)." His colleague Hogg reveals a more optimistic perspective, noting that he and interdepartmental staff "cross paths quite often. Just because I work in Facilities doesn't mean that I don't wander a bit because where-ever I see an area I can lend some expertise I'll go there and do that...I'll say have you thought about doing this or doing that. It's very well received...and I get calls from [staff members] and they discuss initiatives they're doing and we talk (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.)." 3 . 2 3 SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T . The City of Richmond's sustainability efforts rates highest of all the case organizations when assessed against the SPMS model proposed in Part I of this study. Richmond receives an overall rating of strong. While Richmond has not been anxious to adopt sustainability language, its work under the rubric of the T h i s number is higher if small substations are included (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.). 7 6 environment relates directly to ecological sustainability priorities and has shown a very high standard of excellence and thoroughness. Richmond earns a strong rating on its framework and performance tools, a medium rating on its information system, and a strong rating for reporting. Richmond has custom designed measurable indicators to guide its sustainability efforts in the community and to a lesser extent, as a corporation. The latter two components received a slightly lower score due to the fact that they were characterized by less practitioner collaboration, less depth and breadth of engagement, and less integration of information than other components. With Richmond's development of an informal environmental management system (Elliott 2004, pers. comm.), all components of what I term a SPMS are integrated optimally. This study rates Richmond's sustainability efforts optimal on adaptation, strong on integration, people, and reward and value, and medium on performance. The following chart summarizes sustainability performance management in Richmond: R I C H M O N D P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T C O M P O N E N T EST. DESCRIPTION MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK 1997-1998; 2002 City Vision, Mission, & Core Values (from OCP Review) Environmental Management Strategy PERFORMANCE"TOOLS; Employee Training: 2000 1998 2003 Associated with Green Purchasing Guide City Visioning Conservation Challenge Purchasing Policies: 2000 2000 Environmental Purchasing Policy Green Purchasing Guide Other Policies & Bylaws: 1991 2005? Energy Conservation Policy Green Buildings Policy Retrofit/Construction Projects: 1997+ 1995 2000 Power Smart retrofits Thompson Community Center LEED City Hall INFORMAIION SYSUM 2001 Partners for Climate Protection REPORTINC. 1998 2001 State of the Environment State of the Environment Update Figure 111-1 Sustainability Performance Management in Richmond 77 Richmond has the opportunity to build on its sustainability performance management in two major areas. The first is to define and further shape its environmental protection work in terms of ecological sustainability. The second is to improve on the integration of information, by integrating indicators and incorporating narrative in its reporting and communications, and generally adding a more participatory aspect to the existing technocratic focus that characterizes the work of the Emergency and Environmental Programs Department. 3 . 2 3 1 M A N A G E M E N T F R A M E W O R K . The City of Richmond is the sole organization in this study with an active performance management framework and system. This framework receives an optimal rating in this study. This Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) framework was developed by a core team of staff in March 2002, and though not formally adopted by Council, it provides a strong working framework for staff.69 The EMS is also infused by the performance oriented suite of vision, mission, and core values for the City. Like Vancouver, Richmond's drive toward environmental management was catalyzed by the amalgamation of the City's former Environmental Health Department (EHD) with the Regional Health Board. In 1999, a City Environmental Coordination Committee was struck to conduct an environmental services review and found that, without its former EHD, "the City's approach to environmental issues had become uncoordinated, responsibilities were not clearly defined, and an overall sense of priority and direction with respect to environmental issues was lacking (2 Richmond Report 2002)." An interdepartmental staff committee in collaboration with the City's Environmental Coordination Committee and Council's Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE) developed the EMS and its guiding framework.70 Richmond considered striking a multidisciplinary steering committee (2 Richmond Report 2002) to steward its implementation and performance over time; however, the Emergency and Environmental Programs Department (EEPD) stepped into this role. The EEPD was charged with ensuring that the framework and system was responsive to change, for example, to new information, changes in community values or priorities, new legislation, evolving concepts, and performance results (2 Richmond Report 2002). To assist in the development of the EMS framework, environmental management plans and strategies from other jurisdictions were reviewed (2 Richmond Report 2002) and shaped into a format suitable for Richmond.7' The framework development process was made relatively cost-effective in that it combined 6 9 Before developing its EMS, Richmond dealt with environmental issues under its Strategic Management Plan that included the objective to "develop principles and standards for City capital projects that ensure safety, conservation, environmental consideration and sustainability" (4 Richmond Report 2000). 7 0 Richmond's Advisory Committee on the Environment supported the proposed framework (3 Richmond Report 2002). 7 1 Other jurisdictions included in the review were the Vancouver Airport, City of Toronto, City of Seattle, and the City of Scottsdale, among others (3 Richmond Report 2000). The EMS was originally envisioned as coordinating city initiatives according to their relationship to specific environmental issue areas (water, air, land, vegetation and 78 a portion of the Emergency and Environmental Programs Department budget with a $35k provincial government Green Communities Initiative grant (3 Richmond Report 2002). Naysmith believes that the EMS is synchronized with the visioning process and as such provides a meaningful and coherent anchor and foundation for his managerial decision-making (2004, pers. comm.). The framework amounts to a strategic action plan and a coordinating mechanism for otherwise disparate departmental projects; in other words, the framework does not add new initiatives but rather packages existing initiatives into five strategic areas. These areas, illustrated in Figure 111-2, include managing effectively, developing green, protecting natural resources, greening corporate practices, and engaging the community. [...over//] wildlife, and energy) (2 Richmond Report 2001), but was eventually organized by management function: (a) Environmental Vision and Goals; (b) Assessment of Current Situation; and, (c) Action Plan and Recommendations. The final section includes discussion of objectives, targets, and benchmarks, priority ranking, resource requirements, and expected results. 79 Figure 111-2 Richmond's Environmental Management Strategy The framework provides individual practitioners with the support and credibility required for reward-focused innovation. As Naysmith observes, "although I don't refer to it every day, I'm aware that it's there. The framework expresses Council's highest sustainability and environmental sustainability (2004, pers. comm.)." Importantly, the principle of adaptation is embedded in the framework (Richmond Report 2002). Other principles are explicitly suggested but not prescribed in the framework: integration of social, economic, and environmental considerations in decision-making, the precautionary principle, the principle of adaptive management, ecosystem-based management, transparent and accountable management, and community engagement (Richmond Report 2002). The EMS framework outlines a mechanism for its annual review (3 Richmond Report 2002), but to date no changes have been considered necessary (Elliott 2004, pers. comm.). Importantly, to ensure that 80 Richmond's EMS framework was meaningfully implemented, it was ground into detailed workplans that were opened up to ACE and the broader community for review. Despite the fact that Richmond has not yet defined and shaped its environmental protection work in terms of ecological sustainability, its approach to devising a performance management system is optimal. 3.232 P E R F O R M A N C E T O O L S . This study also gives Richmond a strong rating for its performance tools. Though the City's toolbox is not expansive in size, each one of its tools has been well-chosen and designed and used with thoroughness, creativity, and precision. As an overview, Richmond has an energy conservation policy responsible for a comprehensive retrofit program that has allowed Richmond to almost completely replace old, inefficient technology in all facilities. The City has also been most comprehensive in its approach to ecologically responsible purchasing, taking the initiative to bolster its environmental purchasing policy with a detailed Green Purchasing Guide in collaboration with the GVRD. Richmond was proactive in experimenting with ecologically responsible innovative technologies and the LEED system for buildings, and is now poised to adopt a comprehensive green buildings policy for most new corporate facilities. In 2004, Richmond held a corporate Conservation Challenge initiative to involve and engage practitioners in energy conservation with support from BC Hydro and the GVRD. The objective of the 24 week Challenge was to promote energy and water conservation primarily for Richmond City employees, but was also open to Richmond citizens. Hogg observes that the purpose of the Challenge was "not just so that staff can make a difference at work, it's so that they can take the stuff home with them (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.)." The Challenge kicked off with a barbeque at Richmond City Hall in October 2004. Hydro staffed a variety of booths at the event to showcase different Power Smart initiatives. Over seven hundred participants were given a specific set of challenges: (a) install the 365,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs donated at the event; (b) turn in 8,000 old fridges; (c) reduce water use by 5% over the same period last year; and, (d) leave personal vehicles at home one day a week and take alternative transportation (52 GVRD SR 2003). Following the Challenge, BC Hydro also sponsored training programs for Richmond facility staff in energy awareness (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). 3.2321 ECOLOGICALLY RESPONSIBLE PURCHASING. Richmond experimented with ad-hoc ecologically responsible purchasing throughout the 1990s (Richmond Report 2000), and in 2000 adopted its formal policy, a companion Green Purchasing Guide, and an implementation training program for corporate and departmental staff. The City initiated the project as part of its planned environmental management system as a cost-effective way to demonstrate 81 corporate responsibility (Richmond Report 2000; Rich. SOER 2001).72 Ecological purchasing is defined more broadly than DSM and SSM as a practice of "selecting those goods and services which promote a healthier community and environment (1 Richmond GPG 2000)." DSM and SSM considerations are implicitly considered in the more specific definition of ecologically preferred goods as those "that are more responsible to the environment in the way that they are made, used, transported, stored and packaged and disposed of (4 Richmond Report 2000)." The Guide generally covers the scope of corporate purchasing, from janitorial products, to vehicles and maintenance, to furniture, office equipment, and supplies (GPG 2000). The Guide discusses energy efficient lighting and lighting systems; general building maintenance (roofing, walls, insulating, landscaping etcetera), and construction, renovation, and demolition independently but does not encompass new ecologically responsible building. The Guide is voluntary, referencing, but not requiring certification of environmentally preferential products. Most importantly, the Guide suggests a set of principles to guide all purchasing activity.73 There has been no formal evaluation of the Guide and its influence by the GVRD or Richmond to date, though it was recognized with an Environmental Award from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators' US Filter awards program for excellence in municipal administration (NRCAN 2003). Updates to the Guide are expected to be undertaken soon, but will likely only involve small technical amendments to reflect changes in certification programs such as Energy Star, given that this label is now in use in Canada (Elliott 2004, pers. comm.). Since producing the guide, Richmond has prepared a statement of Environmental Terms and Conditions of Contract (ETCC) to include with all major Requests for Tender and Requests for Proposal. The statement suggests the Green Purchasing Guide as a resource for prospective contractors and suppliers. It is supplemented with a voluntary Bidders' Environmental Questionnaire for prospective suppliers. This document's eighteen questions relate to life cycle analysis, packaging, and the environmental attributes of the company (ETCC 2001). These form the basis for eight evaluation criteria which "are deemed to be of equal value and will amount to 10% of the total Bid Evaluation Process (ETCC 2001)." While Richmond has not yet followed Vancouver's lead in prescriptively managing its supply chain, the City's ETCC emphasizes priority placed on suppliers who have an environmental policy statement approved at the executive level and implemented across the company or who have pursued environmental certification such as ISO 14001 (ETCC 2001). Both Elliott and Naysmith report that the ETCC is in practice more of an assessment tool to take stock of the ecological performance of a product rather than 7 2 This referred to Richmond's Strategic Management Plan and the Energy Conservation Policy (4 Richmond Report 2000). Richmond approached the GVRD to produce a technical and practical guide for purchasing ecologically preferred products and in 2000 the Green Purchasing Guide was completed as a collaborative effort. 7 3 Readers are encouraged to: "reduce consumption-buy only what you need; give preference to products that are durable, re-useable and/or contain maximum recycled content; give preference to products that are energy efficient; give preference to products that reduce or eliminate toxicity and minimize emissions to air and water; and, finally, adopt a life-cycle perspective-consider costs and environmental impacts over the lifetime of a product from how the product is produced, packaged, transported, maintained, re-used and disposed of (14-15 GPG 2000). 82 a decision-making tool. According to Elliott, the questionnaire and specification sheet have had a very limited impact to date; she notes that "only one in a hundred bidders fill it out, most don't know how to answer the questions (2004, pers. comm.). Naysmith observes that lowest cost is still the rule of thumb in decision-making, although he anticipates that "as the program grows, as people get more familiar with we get more comfortable and more familiar, and more green products come on the marketplace, we can start specifying those and [applying] stronger weighting based on environmental superiority (2004, pers. comm.)." 3.2322 ECOLOGICALLY RESPONSIBLE BUILDINGS. Richmond's achievements in applying ecological principles to its corporate facility design, planning, and purchasing can be categorized into two realms of activity: retrofit projects, and new building policies and projects. Although it was a pioneer in green building in the region, Richmond's emphasis to date has been on extensive energy and water conservation-focused retrofits of existing facilities, mainly through BC Hydro's Power Smart program. The introduction of an Energy Conservation Policy (1991) for the corporation marks the beginning of Richmond's journey along the trajectory of corporate ecological responsibility. The Policy commits the City to the efficient use of energy in the planning and operating of all its facilities. It requires that life cycle costs be considered and that high efficiency products and systems be preferred when making purchasing decisions (NRCAN 2003; 1 Richmond Report 1991). The policy is based on the cost recovery premise that retrofits will pay for their premium costs over the usable life of the technology. While the policy commits the corporation to technological upgrades and equipment maintenance and repair, there is an equivalent emphasis on staff decision-making, continuous education, and conservation behavior. The policy progressively builds participation and performance into its language, encouraging "all employees to suggest and initiate projects that will save energy...and monitor energy consumption...[and] performance (1 Richmond Report 1991)." Over the past decade and a half, the flexible language of the policy has allowed it to adapt to changing energy efficiency standards and remain current. In Hogg's words, "I don't think there is an area in the City that isn't looking to be more efficient (2004, pers. comm.)." While Richmond began experimenting with energy efficiency retrofits even before it participated in Power Smart or adopted its environmental management strategy (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.), BC Hydro has been a key partners in Richmond's success in achieving several generations of retrofits. Naysmith observes that in 1997, Power Smart became the City's first performance-based program (2004, pers. comm.). As part of the program, BC Hydro performed an energy audit on the City between 1997 and 2002 and found that it had reduced energy consumption (electricity usage per square foot) by 33%, largely as a result of a cost saving strategy to redistribute resources to other capital projects (2004, pers. 83 comm.). In fact, the corporation saved $500k on average in annual electricity costs (BC Hydro 2005). During this period, Richmond implemented lighting retrofits, redesigned lighting in parkades, and installed direct digital controls at various City facilities to control heating, ventilation and air conditioning.74 In 2003, Richmond was designated the first Power Smart certified municipality and in fulfillment of this role has taken on another performance contract to reduce energy consumption by 15% over the next four years (Hogg 2004, pers. c o m m . ) T h r o u g h Power Smart, Richmond has advanced solutions that emphasize responsibility, participation, and collaboration as well as technology. Hogg is conscious of the fact that Richmond's primary relationship with BC Hydro has driven its priority focus on electricity-related energy efficiency initiatives, and that other forms of energy used by the City have received less attention.76 Cost has been a major driver, since funding relationships and the business case for potential savings, rather than strict sustainability performance results, have been the major factor in setting directions for action. A further implication is that tracking and monitoring systems for electricity are far more advanced in Richmond than for natural gas and other fuel sources.77 Richmond has received financial and technical support from other sources, which further influence the nature and goals of energy efficiency initiatives. The GVRD assisted Richmond with investigating the feasibility of introducing solar heating technology to three municipal pools: two indoor pools in the Minoru Aquatic Complex and one indoor pool at Watermania.78 The GVRD has indicated that it will provide continued financial assistance for the installation of solar heating at Watermania (4 GVRD NR 2004). ' 4 Hogg is particularly enthusiastic about the energy savings potential of newer computerized technology such as direct digital control, occupancy sensors, and an energy management system program that allows staff to track energy use patterns (BC Hydro 2005). A sophisticated mechanism to program heating for specific user time slots in five major community facilities enjoyed special recognition from BC Hydro (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). The City of Richmond has acquired the Bookit software system that is programmed to link with direct digital controls for heating, ventilating, and cooling equipment. The software tracks bookings for facility space, thus avoiding energy waste when buildings are not being used. 7 5 The Power Smart distinction has only been given to five organizations in British Columbia and according to BC Hydro "is reserved for organizations who show exceptional leadership in energy efficiency within their industries" (BC Hydro 2005). Fulfillment of the contract will enable Richmond to rank among the top 10% of municipalities in Canada for energy efficiency (NRCAN 2003; BC Hydro 2005). To accomplish these targets, Richmond plans to recommission older buildings, purchase low-power-consumption flat-screen computer monitors for City staff, install energy efficient controls on vending machines in City facilities, launch an energy awareness campaign for employees, and further upgrade equipment and lighting to save an additional $40k per year (NRCAN 2003; BC Hydro 2005). 7 6 Natural gas is an important example. Natural gas reduction initiatives at Richmond are largely focused on regular preventative equipment maintenance and servicing on all equipment to ensure maximum performance, with major inspections twice a year, once for the heating season and once for the cooling season (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). " Hogg notes that in several facilities, natural gas use and electricity use are related such that efficiency measure for electricity concurrently reduce consumption in natural gas (2004, pers. comm.). 7 8 The GVRD initiated an assessment of a variety of municipal pools around the region to investigate whether a business case and technical feasibility could be determined for using renewable solar energy as a heat source to complement conventional heating for pool facilities, among other efficiency upgrades. Three of Richmond's municipal pools, namely two indoor pools in the Minoru Aquatic Complex and one indoor pool at Watermania, were included in the GVRD's study (GVRD RFP 2002). 84 Finally, waste reduction is another goal of the Facilities Maintenance department, particularly with regard to the reuse and recycling of construction and demolition waste. Hogg notes that "the City buys a lot of homes for different reasons." And then when we go to demolish the homes we want somebody to recycle the stuff. We try to reuse some of the stuff...Why buy new plywood? (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). He notes that sorting and recovery of waste is considerably more expensive than conventional demolition but is something that the City is committed to doing on principle. At the time of writing, Richmond was in the process of six deconstruction projects (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). The City of Richmond first experimented with green features in its Thompson Community Center80 (1995) and piloted the use of LEED for corporate facilities in the region with its City Hall8' (2000). Two additional buildings are in the design phase, a Community Safety Headquarters and Firehall, and both contemplate LEED certification for the completed project. Naysmith characterizes the Community Center project as a "haphazard" use of innovative technology that did not adequately allow for premium costs and a total quality project, nor application and refinement over time in other corporate facilities. As an innovative pilot, the project did not enjoy an entirely smooth process of design, construction, and post-completion functionality. Naysmith frankly acknowledges that the project was managed in such a way that the choice of geothermal technology necessitated the "sacrifice of a number of other areas of building quality...and the quality of the finished product (2004, pers. comm.)." The gymnasium floor was a case in point; Naysmith relates that "the gymnasium floor was lowered in standard in order to make the cost allocations a little more flexible and now we're in a position where we have to replace the gym floor (2004, pers. comm.)." As far as Naysmith is aware, no study has been done to determine the extent of energy savings and associated costs realized by the geothermal technology, in comparison to a traditional gas-fired boiler installation. Learning from this experience, he has become an advocate for a more systematic and consistent approach. 7 9 Many homes are purchased by the City to acquire land for parkland or roads, to name only two examples. The homes are typically maintained until enough property is acquired to put the City's capital project in place (Hogg 2004, pers. comm.). 8 0 The Thompson Community Center (1995) was constructed as a 21,291 square foot replacement building on an 8.1 acre site. The Center uses geothermal heating technology; in fact, according to Naysmith, the Center was "one of the first buildings in the Lower Mainland, if not the first, that used geothermal heat" (2004, pers. comm.). 8 1 In May 2000, the City of Richmond completed its new 11,150 m2 City Hall project, which was certified LEED. City Hall is a complex comprised of four buildings, a west terrace, meeting house, galleria, and tower. The complex's sustainability strategy is mainly focused on energy efficiency but also encompasses water and materials efficiency strategies, waste reduction, and extensive landscaping that includes water gardens (GBBC 2005). The project received some funding assistance to alleviate the increased capital costs. In total, the project came in at almost $31 million. However, the efficiency strategies built into the project were expected to result in about $33k savings per year (GBBC 2005). City Hall as enjoyed numerous delegations and accolades since opening (2 Draft Richmond Report 2004), including the Governor General Medal for Architecture and the Lieutenant-Governor General of BC Award (Richmond 2004). 85 In 2004, Naysmith drafted a Sustainable 'Green' Building Policy for City owned Facilities, a systemic corporate green buildings policy similar to the one recently adopted by the City of Vancouver.82 The municipality is developing a green buildings policy similar to the one developed by the City of Vancouver but with a target of LEED Silver for all new civic facilities over 500 square meters. The draft policy is consciously intended to serve the goals of the environmental management strategy, as well as the city vision and the City's objectives for the upcoming 2010 Olympics (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.; 2 Draft Richmond Report 2004). Naysmith views LEED as a performance standard able to measure the degree of success that will make implementation of the policy effective and ultimately "the continued improvement by which to achieve our ultimate vision for the City (2 Draft Richmond Report 2004)." He has formed a Task Force in the City with the Environmental Management Department and Planning on board, as well as "a few of the other people from departments I generally work with" in order to discuss and obtain feedback on the draft policy. It is important to Naysmith that "when I go forward, it's not my report, it's more of a collective report" to Council (2004, pers. comm.). However, cost is an important concern for the corporation. Practitioners in Richmond closely scrutinize costs and admit that cost is the major consideration for purchases and projects. Hogg observes that "the General Manager wants to see an increased or increasing revenue stream and reduced costs, [which] drives continued program success (2004, pers. comm.). Naysmith reports that "what we try to do is look at projects from a financial perspective and then look at the environmental considerations secondarily (2004, pers. comm.)." He cites his work on the solar pool retrofit as an example, where the gains from energy savings are intended to be used to offset the capital cost of the retrofit project on a ten year payback and secondarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hogg concurs, observing that "when you focus primarily on one area, you are actually fixing other areas as well: there's reduced energy consumption, there's reduced greenhouse gas emissions, there's client comfort because you're improving things for them (2004, pers. comm.)." Both practitioners make a practice of converting their cost savings, into a companion ecological measure, particularly where energy and emissions are concerned. Moreover, practitioners note that costs are assessed within a life cycle analysis framework. Hogg relates a story about one of his meetings with a committee of Council where he was selling the need for the inclusion of energy efficiency features in new buildings: "/ said, 'Here are the report cards of the projects we've done; here are the accurate annual savings to date; here are the dollars and cents in grants I've received. And Council asked me, 'With our new buildings now, are we focused on introducing energy efficiency?'. And I said, 'Yes we are'. That very Councilor had previously told me that when Council is making a decision on a new facility and they are 8 2 Naysmith cautions that the document is still a draft and that the City of Vancouver must be credited as permission was granted to copy aspects of their report (2004, pers. comm.). The draft generally contemplated that the City of Richmond should consider a requirement of LEED Silver with formal registration and certification through LEED BC and the CGBC for all new City owned or leased buildings greater than 500 square meters; and that the principles of sustainable green building design using LEED silver be applied to new City buildings smaller than 500 meters2 (3 Draft Richmond Report 2004). 86 looking at the capital budget, they're saying 'You can only have three millions dollars to spend on it, and that's it'. One of the first things that gets cut if the project is over budget is the energy part. If you're hard line on the three millions dollars the first thing that gets cut is the energy efficiency stuff that's in the building. So I said, 'We would be making a mistake by only talking about the capital cost of the building. We should be giving you the standard cost of construction and the standard cost of operating the building for ten years. We build a building and we keep it forever - so why don't we look at the forever picture? And that's what we have been doing. I can guarantee you that in ten years, the energy efficient building is going to be the cheaper of the two. And beyond that it's all money in the pocket'. So, the Councilor understood that" (2004, pers. comm.). Richmond was one of the earliest municipalities in the region to work with pilot projects for innovative technologies; however, the emphasis on the cost recovery led to problems in the past. As one important example, corners were cut to finance geothermal heating for the Thompson Community Center because the overall project budget was not expanded to allow for a cost premium for the building. Practitioners in Richmond learned from this example and built its LEED certified city hall half a decade later, although Naysmith acknowledges, "to be quite honest I think, when our environmental City Hall was constructed, our approach was rather unusual...It was built with a long term view (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.). At the present time, in keeping with the cost recovery focus, practitioners look to the increasing favorability of market conditions to promote further initiatives. Naysmith observes that "more and more the market is producing environmental as products become more and more effective and their prices start to drop as a result of mass producing, they become more attractive for organizations like ourselves to use (2004, pers. comm.)." Naysmith observes that the Facilities Planning Department in Richmond is at a critical juncture as far as financing green projects is concerned. He notes that "one of our issues at the moment all of our buildings, 1.5 million square feet, we have about $27 million dollars of outstanding requirements of work, that we should...that we need to address (2004, pers. comm.). However, on the other hand, Richmond is preparing for a bold commitment to build new corporate facilities to a LEED Silver standard, which is estimated to involve an incremental cost of 2-5% (3 Draft Richmond Report 2004). The growing acceptance of a price premium for sustainable choices signals a move towards a reward and investment framework. Richmond staff are now working on two further LEED standard civic facility projects in the design phase: a Community Safety Headquarters Building (LEED Gold or Platinum) and a firehall (LEED standard TBA) (4 Draft Richmond Report 2004). Facilities Planning manager, David Naysmith, views these buildings as legacy facilities, and is careful to note that the legacy is both personal and organizational. Naysmith realistically reflects that "my contribution to the City's vision is to try to lead that whole building legacy...we've got $27 million of work we could do, if there was $27 million laying around, then we could upgrade every building and repair every building so that all of our buildings look as good and are 87 as up to date as City Hall. But the reality is, we don't have the funding and there's not sufficient money in the City's coffers to say 'here's 27 million dollars, go out and fix everything'. So what we try to do is to balance what makes sense, what we should fix, our priorities, and use some of that other money in order to progress to the next level so that we're not faced with the same problem twenty years down the road...that's our game plan (Naysmith 2004, pers. comm.). It should be noted that the City has not yet investigated ecologically responsible development at the neighborhood scale. In summary, the City of Richmond's sustainability performance tools are collectively rated optimal in effectiveness. The tools are directed toward DSM and SSM in service of sustainability and have been dynamically adapted and applied over time. In the field of electricity generation, DSM strategies are oriented to performance with specific and measurable targets. Richmond has the opportunity to further improve its performance by ensuring that tools extend to other key sectors of energy and material consumption. The responsibility focus and staff training have informally integrated subjective information into the use of performance tools. Richmond's emphasis on people and participation and integration is outstanding and readily reflected in the engaged and enthusiastic attitude of practitioners. 3 . 2 3 3 I N F O R M A T I O N S Y S T E M . This study rates the City of Richmond's information system medium in effectiveness. Like the other case organizations, Richmond does not indicate that it conceives of an information system separate from its two State of the Environment reports (1998; 2001). The information system follows the format for reporting, as a means of "synthesizing] baseline information on Richmond's environmental assets, identifying] the human pressures affecting those assets, and providing] a framework for measuring change (1 Rich. SOER 1998)." The information system is balanced in terms of objective and subjective information; it encompasses indicators, as well as ecological values from public Official Community Plan and city visioning processes (Richmond Report 2001). Indicators chosen to organize the information system's body of collated baseline data attain a high technical standard, have been shaped to the City context, and in some cases have been aligned with performance targets. Indicators were chosen for the report on the basis of their ability to measure change with reliable and available data, their direct relationship to Richmond's environmental priorities, their repeatability in future, and finally, their ability to communicate about how local programs affect the environment (SOER 1998). Moreover, indicators for each topic were rated according to public importance and the extent to which the City could reasonably influence the indicator. Eight topics, involving fourteen indicators, were selected by the City for the first 1998 report. The 2001 edition of the SOER builds upon the information presented in the first edition and provides eight additional indicators for a total of twenty-two (SOER 1998; SOER 2001). Richmond's corporate performance record for DSM 88 and SSM is largely encapsulated within the category of City Environmental Practices.83 This category was not measured by indicators in 1998; however, in 2001, two indicators were put forward: (a) energy consumption at selected city-operated facilities, and (b) number and proportion of vehicles in the City Fleet that utilize natural gas fuels (102 SOER 2001).84 Actual procurement of environmentally friendly materials is listed as a potential indicator85 for future reports. Neither report claims to be inclusive of all possible issues or indicators, but rather contemplate including further indicators in future. Since its last SOE report, Richmond has collected other types of sustainability information have been collected; it remains to be seen whether this information will be integrated with the next SOER update. Richmond joined the FCM's Partners for Climate Protection performance-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2001 at the recommendation of the Emergency and Environmental Programs Department and at the time of writing is nearing completion of both a corporate and community emissions inventory (Daykin 2005, pers. comm.). Richmond viewed joining the PCP program as a means of fulfilling and strengthening its EMS framework by "linking existing City initiatives relating to energy management across City departments, and to link these initiatives to a specified unified objective with measurable targets (4 Richmond Report 2001)." It remains to be seen whether future SOER updates will incorporate emissions inventory data. 3.234 R E P O R T I N G . The City of Richmond has shaped a specialized reporting format based on a composite index of indicators to communicate its environmental performance record and has committed to regular updates on a three year cycle. The City's first State of the Environment Report was produced in 1998 with the help of AXYS Environmental Consulting and its citizen Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE) and then updated it in 2001.86 Reporting is now considered a core component of Richmond's environmental management framework (1 SOER 1998), which was initiated between in the first and second reports. The second report indicates that it is intended to assist in decision-making regarding budgetary priorities (SOER 2001). This study gives Richmond's reporting a strong effectiveness rating. Like its peers, Richmond references sustainability in its SOER but does not define it or explain how it will shape the reporting and management process. Population growth and consumption concerns, both major sustainability issues, are identified as the context for reporting (1 SOER 1998) and the rationale for 8 i The report employs community-based demand side management indicators (Rich. SOER 2001) for water consumption, residential solid waste, wastewater, and energy consumption at the community scale. The update cycle allows for the measurement of trends in resource consumption in the community. 8 < Rationale for selection was the availability of good data (102 SOER 2001). 8 5 The second report notes Richmond's Purchasing Policy, which was developed in the interim between reports. 8 6 AXYS provided the report format, project management support, and final report preparation (SOER 1998; SOER 2001). 89 structuring the report into a discussion of environmental assets and environmental stressors, or pressures on those assets (1 SOER 1998) . 8 7 Almost in spite of itself, the report takes the form of a comprehensive survey rather than a strategic focus and encompasses both a corporate and community scope.88 Both reports use a normative scoring system to summarize the performance of each indicator and provide a basis for comparison with results from past (in the case of the 2001 report) and future years.89 The report claims that "as a general rule, Richmond aims to reduce its overall impact on the environment (105 SOER 2001)." The reports strategically focus on the quantifying the status of local natural resources and the demands on them and clarifying general priorities for reducing demand and other pressures. When targets have been developed for various issue areas, more specific priorities will be set for performance tools. While Richmond expects to devise "a complete set of meaningful, achievable targets" for managing demand and other pressures, and monitor the effectiveness of performance tools to continue those that are working and adjust and test with further monitoring those that are not (SOER 1998; SOER 2001), it has not yet fully done so. None of the practitioners interviewed placed the SOER as a component of the City environmental management system, not even EEPD Coordinator Elliott, working out of the department that spearheads both reporting and the EMS. Departmental managers Naysmith and Hogg view the reports as philosophical documents and do not rely upon them for technical information (2004, pers. comm.). Given the attention to accuracy and technical standard in the reports, this is somewhat surprising. Moreover, for all the technical excellence in the choice of indicators, the report is silent on how they should be interpreted in reference to a sustainable future. Indicators are presented in a simple list with no attempt at integration toward an overall view of corporate ecological sustainability performance. For example, the 2001 report cautions that ratings "do not imply a measure of sustainability"; at a minimum the report suggests that "the available information has allowed us to determine whether we are heading in the right direction - toward sustainable living - or moving in the wrong direction - away from a more sustainable future (1 SOER 2001)." Richmond's reporting process indicates that managing for people was considered but not optimized. Like its peers, Richmond attempted to provide one report for multiple audiences and multiple purposes and consequently may have compromised its effectiveness to all. Assistance was sought from 8 7 The Assets category encompasses clean air and water; productive land; plant and animal life; and other renewable resources. Pressures or stressors are identified as population, consumption, and land development patterns (1 SOER 1998). 8 8 The 1998 SOER covers issues of green space, water quality, air quality, land use and human settlement, transportation, resource consumption, city environmental practices, noise, and environmental education. The 2001 SOER adds issues of community stewardship and soil quality. 8 9 The system assigns a subjective rating of Good News, Bad News, Mixed Results, and Not Assessed. Ratings are based on such factors as net changes since 1998, the direction of change (i.e., positive or negative), adherence to existing standards, achievement of targets, and comparisons with other communities. In some cases, insufficient data were available to make a determination (iii SOER 2001). 90 departmental managers and staff from other administrative units in the City as part of the report production process to collate the vast amount of data required by the report and in reviewing various drafts (i SOER 2001), but managers were not necessarily consulted with regard to the strategic focus, substance, and purpose of reporting.90 Perhaps as a result, Facilities managers were aware that SOERs had been produced but could not recall their contents. Naysmith states that "where we don't necessarily have the awareness is the State of the Environment Report, because I would say it was developed without a lot of input from anyone in my team (2004, pers. comm.)." Nevertheless, the outcome of this limited consultative process produced reports that were consciously technocratic. To underline the point, in its discussion of future target-setting, the 2001 report suggests that "technical specialists in the topics under study could also be consulted to determine attainable and environmentally significant targets (127 SOER 2001)." The SOER is silent on the principle of reward and value. However, it can be inferred from the commitment to regular updates - and the fact that the City has honored its commitment - that considerable value is placed on the exercise. Integration of information also fell short of its potential. For all the technical excellence in the choice of indicators, the report does not attempt to meaningfully integrate them nor describe or portray their relevance in measuring sustainability. In addition, reports are highly factual and do experiment with the presentation of any narrative information. The principle of adaptation has been firmly upheld by Richmond, confirming the value of consistent reporting as a means of understanding trends in a context of change. The second report notes that population growth since the first report has "resulted in greater pressures on the environment, as the demand for housing, services and infrastructure increased and our collective resource consumption rose (1 SOER 2001)." To date Richmond has maintained its commitment to a regular three year update cycle. An updated 2004 SOER is expected to be completed in the near future (Elliott Personal Communication 2004). The Emergency and Environmental Programs Department recognizes that the reporting format, substance, and process must also evolve and adapt over time to remain a valuable and relevant tool that is responsive to corporate needs and community priorities (1-2 SOER 2001). In summary, Richmond's reporting provides a strong model, but is not without opportunities for further improvement. Reports are aligned with corporate as well as community sustainability strategies, performance-oriented, and adaptive. However, they are more technocratic than participatory, even for an internal management audience, and have not attempted to meaningfully include subjective information for deeper practitioner engagement. Future reporting exercises would do well to put more emphasis on interdepartmental collaboration and information integration. 9 0 During the preparation of this report, AXYS Environmental Consulting Ltd. reports that it was assisted in particular by the Policy Planning Department, the Environmental Management Department, Parks and Cultural Services; Engineering Planning, and Richmond Health Services. Collaboration was also solicited from Richmond's Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACE), and individuals from other agencies (SOER 1998; SOER 2001) 91 3 . 2 4 C O H E S I O N B E T W E E N SUSTAINABILITY P E R F O R M A N C E M A N A G E M E N T C O M P O N E N T S . Cohesiveness is rated optimal in this study. Richmond's management infrastructure is sound in structure and strategy. Reporting and environmental management have co-evolved at the City of Richmond. The City has done well in 'thinking on its feet' and linking update-reporting into its EMS framework given that the EMS was in development currently with the second State of the Environment Report (128 SOER 2001). Moreover, all components of the system are viewed as linked in an adaptive feedback cycle: the 2001 report observes that "the [EMS] strategy should...identify other City environmental practices that future SOE reports could monitor (128 SOER 2001)." As another example, purchasing is perceived to be a tool for taking action on some of the indicators in the SOE report. However, it should be pointed out that the report has not been used to determine the relative effectiveness of corporate initiatives, such as purchasing, over time (Elliott 2004, pers. comm.). Matters could be further clarified by calling sustainability, "sustainability", rather than environmental protection. The still unfinished task of setting targets and monitoring performance according to these targets holds promise of refining the management feedback cycle among system components. Taking a systemic view, Richmond would do well to distinguish between its information system and reporting components and ensure that the feedback loop between reporting and other components of sustainability performance management are completed. [...over//] 92 Greater Vancouver Regional District 3.31 C U L T U R E OF E C O L O G I C A L C ITIZENSHIP. At the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) there is evidence of a strong and enthusiastic culture championing the principles of sustainability performance management. The most memorable story told by a GVRD practitioner as part of the study interviews was an upbeat, promotional tale about wastewater treatment and energy conservation. This succinct tale positions the GVRD as one of the key utility managers in the region, as well as an institution taking conscious steps to manage its sustainability performance through supply and demand side measures. It reflects the GVRD's technocratic culture of efficiency and financial prudence within the market capitalist economy, as well as its culture of employee-driven innovation. In a way that corporate administration has not yet done, the story directly links performance measurement to supply and demand side management in service of sustainability: Wastewater treatment plants make up about 58% of the GVRD's total energy consumption and have conventionally flared digester gas by-products, releasing greenhouse gases and toxins to the atmosphere. Working together, GVRD staff at the Annacis and Lulu Wastewater Treatment Plants developed more sustainable process solutions that met and, in the case of Annacis, exceeded energy targets set by corporate administrators. By repairing idle cogeneration equipment, replacing the use of a toxic chemical, starting up a gray-water recycling system, and installing a computerized data acquisition and control (CDAC) system, Plant staff were able to save the corporation almost $295k annually in deferred electricity costs with major reductions in the flaring of greenhouse gases. While the GVRD retained and received a sound and sophisticated ecological analysis of the sustainability dilemma, it neither formally adopted an ecological definition of sustainability nor ground it into a management framework. However, despite the lack of clear sustainability targets, the organization has moved aggressively in the right direction. A commitment to supply and especially demand side management is championed at the corporate, departmental, and divisional levels at the GVRD. As the story reveals, DSM and SSM have also been led by individual employees raising independent process solutions and initiatives. Chief Administrative Officer johnny Carline drove implementation of a performance management system (4 GVRD SR 2002) and on many occasions has publicly announced his personal commitment to sustainability. Lynda King of Corporate Services attributes performance on sustainability to a culture of commitment and observes of the GVRD: "so what you see is from the top there's commitment, and from the ground level there's commitment...because we have that bottom up and top down commitment, those people who are not necessarily all that bought in to it are becoming more and more aware of it (2004, pers. comm.)." An entire division has been created and mandated with DSM and SSM and staffed with dynamic practitioners who have nurtured flourishing programs in ecologically responsible building and corporate responsibility. 93 The GVRD was not the first of the four institutions studied to take the sustainability leap - Vancouver earned that recognition with a climate change report in 1990 - but it has been the most explicit about leaping into what I term sustainability performance management. However, while the institution is performing, it lacks an overall sense of purpose. Given that the strength and consistency of formal commitment to ecological sustainability is shallow, a voluntary culture of participation - rather than regulation - earmarks the District. Nevertheless, in 2002 Carline observed that "what [the SRI] did was to unleash a rush of energy, effort and creativity within this organization, and more broadly within the region that people who have been here longer than I suggest is without precedent (SRI Presentation)." A year later, the Chair of the GVRD Board reflected a growing culture of sustainability citizenship and responsibility in his comment that 2003 was "a year of reflection at the political level...that has encouraged greater ownership of the SRI process and its outcomes by elected officials (iv GVRD SR 2003)." A Sustainability Challenge program was launched in 2003 to encourage and engage staff in finding new ways to incorporate sustainability principles into their daily work. Corporate Services Manager Lynda King believes that the promotional stories will spark the awareness of those in the corporation who have not yet "bought in" to sustainability; she predicts that "they'll improve, particularly as the successes of the people who are committed are showcased and highlighted and they get recognized for the decisions that they've made (King 2004, pers. comm.)." In terms of its corporate culture, the organization is still trying to calibrate a balance between differing perspectives on flexibility and performance rigor. 3.32 O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L C A P A C I T Y . The organizational ca