Mid-Term Evaluation of Industry Canada's Sustainable Development Strategy, 2003-2006 (SDS III)
IV. Relevance of SDS III
The findings of the evaluation of SDS III on the issue of relevance of the strategy are presented in this chapter of the report. Results regarding the following specific research questions are described:
- Is SDS III consistent with the department's mandate? How do the SDS III action items relate to IC's strategic objectives? (Addressed in Section 4.1.)
- What is the relevance of IC's SDS III to the government-wide sustainable development objectives? (Addressed in Section 4.2.)
4.1 Consistency of SDS III with IC's Mandate
The Department's mandate — Industry Canada's mandate is to help make Canadians more productive and competitive in the knowledge-based economy, thus improving the standard of living and quality of life in Canada. The department's policies, programs and services help grow a dynamic and innovative economy that:
- provides more and better-paying jobs for Canadians;
- supports stronger business growth through continued improvements in productivity and innovation performance;
- gives consumers, businesses and investors confidence that the marketplace is fair, efficient and competitive; and
- integrates the economic, environmental and social interests of Canadians.8
Industry Canada works towards achieving these priorities through its intended three strategic outcomes:
- a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace;
- an innovative economy; and
- competitive industry and sustainable communities.
Making the link between SD and the Department's mandate—Taken together, the department's strategic outcomes support growth in employment, income, productivity and sustainable development in Canada. To help deliver on these strategic outcomes, Industry Canada partners with other government departments to offer businesses and consumers a variety of programs and services. These programs and services cut across three dimensions of policy—economic, environmental and socia—and involve complex synergies and tradeoffs that lead to sustainable development results.
Exhibit 3 in Chapter 3 depicted logical relationships between the SDS III priorities and the overall vision of the department for SDS III. Exhibit 6, below, provides the context for SDS III that reflects Industry Canada's specific strategic directions as they were presented in the department's strategy, Making a Difference: Contributing to the Quality of Life of Canadians 2003 (October 2003).
In light of Industry Canada's mandate to promote sustainable development, the department does have the opportunity to highlight the economic benefits of sustainable development by underscoring the links between SD and economic growth. The department, in delivering its SD action items, does make the link between SD and the efficient and environmentally responsible use of economic resources, which also lead to an improved quality of life and wellbeing.
Exhibit 6: Linking Industry Canada's SD Objectives to its Overall Strategic Outcomes, and to Government-wide SD Objectives
The department has a number of instruments that it uses to achieve the intended outcomes of its sustainable development strategies. Exhibit 7 lists several of these instruments and highlights how SDS III has utilized them. As Exhibit 7 demonstrates, the department has clearly made good and relevant use of the diverse tools available to it to address the intended outcomes of SDS III.
|IC delivery instruments||SDS III intended outcomes|
|Capacity building in R&D and skills||Promoting technology innovation||Applying the tools in the marketplace||Promoting corporate responsibility & sustainability||Advancing local and global sustainability||Improving SD planning, measurement, & evaluation|
|Activity in international fora|
|Guidelines & application tools|
|MOUs & other agreements|
|Newsletters, brochures & other info-dissemination materials & reports|
|Policy & legislative framework|
|Putting own house in order|
|Research studies & reports|
|Standards & regulations|
|Technology demos & trade show venues|
|Web sites and databases|
SDS III is diversified across the Department— In past SD initiatives the majority of SD action items made the strongest link with sustainable development through the department's innovation objective. This is certainly also true with SDS III action items. Of the 32 action items associated with SDS III, 21 are directly linked to "innovation". Most IC individuals consulted for this study, however, believe that the department's contribution to SD has become relatively more diversified in scope across the department and across IC's other strategic objectives, compared to previous SD strategies. (See Exhibit 8, below, for the distribution of SD action items as they relate to each of IC's strategic objectives, across branches within the department.)
In addition, it is generally believed within IC that the department has been successful in integrating sustainable development with its corporate objectives. SD is an integral component of IC's priorities, to reflect its importance as a major cross-cutting policy issue. To deliver on its mandate, the department took the required steps to explicitly link sustainable development with relevant programs and policies. For example, sustainable development is included in the 2005–2006 Estimates— Report on Plans and Priorities, committing the department to play a strategic enabler role and promoting SD solutions through innovation towards sustainable development, corporate and community sustainability, and sustainable development capacity building within IC.
Relevance of SDS III action items —Exhibit 8 shows the activity structure of SDS III, identifying departmental responsibility centres and the relationship of activities to Industry Canada's general strategic objectives. The activities are also identified in the context of Industry Canada's corporate and management services that support the department's programs and define internal operations.
Overall, SDS III action items are reasonably distributed across the three main objectives of the strategy. There are 16 action items related to the "innovation towards sustainable development" objective; 10 action items related to the "corporate and community sustainability" objective; and 6 action items related to the "sustainable development capacity building within IC" objective.
Based on Exhibit 8, 29 of the 32 SDS III action items are somehow linked to "innovation", 8 are somehow linked to "connectedness", 11 to "marketplace", 9 to "investment", and 9 to "trade". Six of the action items directly relate to the support function of corporate and management services. There are overlaps between many of these links because an action item can potentially relate to more than one corporate theme or strategic outcome. In 2004, responsibility centres were also asked to identify their action items as they link to broader strategic themes: "marketplace", "economic development", and "science, technology and innovation." The results of those linkages are also shown in Exhibit 8.
The previous Exhibit 5 in Chapter III also demonstrated that a great diversity of IC responsibility centres have been involved in SDS III initiatives. This is somewhat in contrast to the previous SDS II, when a relatively significant number of the action items resided within two branches: the Strategic Policy Branch (13 of 52 action items) and Environmental Affairs Branch (16 of 52 action items).9 There has also been a progression in SDS III towards a greater diversity of SD initiatives within the department across more branches, from sixteen branches in SDS II to 23 branches in SDS III.top of page
* More recently, these five objectives of the department have been renewed as three strategic outcomes: "a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace"; "an innovative economy"; and "competitive industry and sustainable communities".
Return to *)
** Key for responsibility centre acronyms is provided at the end of Exhibit 11. ( Return to **)
Note: Bold checkmarks mean that the activity mainly relates to the indicated strategic objective.
Note: The emphasis in action items 27 to 32 is on achieving Industry Canada's Corporate Management objective for SDS III.
|IC SDS III Strategic Outcome Area||IC SDS III Action Item||Strategic Objectives *|
Increase commercialization and adoption of eco-efficient tools and technologies
Work in partnerships with industry and others to demonstrate the contribution of eco-efficiency to enhancing productivity and environmental performance through capacity building in R&D and skills; promote technology innovation; and apply the tools in the marketplace.
|Capacity building in R&D and skills||1. Canadian Foundation for Innovation ( CFI)|
|2. Networks of Centres of Excellence ( NCE)|
|3. Advancing the Bio-Based Economy|
|4. Promoting Nanotechnology Awareness|
|5. Human Capital Development|
|Promoting Technology Innovation||6. Technology Partnerships Canada ( TPC)|
|7. Pre-Competitive Applied Research Network ( PRECARN)|
|8. Promoting 25-percent Increase in New Vehicle Fuel Efficiency|
|9. Advancing the Hydrogen Economy|
|10. Promoting Renewable Energy in the Canadian and International Marketplace|
|Applying the Tools in the Marketplace||11. Technology Roadmaps ( TRM) for Planning Climate Change Technologies|
|12. Promoting Construction, Architecture, and Engineering Solutions for GHG Emissions Reductions|
|13. Advancing Sustainable Manufacturing Practices|
|14. Increasing Environmental Stewardship in Small and Medium Size Enterprises|
|15. Advancing Adoption of Environmental Supply Chain Management Tools|
|16. Promoting Canadian Climate Change Technologies and Services Abroad|
Increase use by industry, institutions, and communities of corporate responsibility and sustainability practices
Work in partnership with industry, other government departments and others to promote corporate responsibility and sustainable development practices in businesses and encourage sustainable development for communities.
|Promoting Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability||17. Advancing Sustainable Development Policy Frameworks|
|18. Broadening Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness in Canadian Industry|
|19. Developing Corporate Social Responsibility Tools and Management Capacity|
|20. Increasing Quantity, Quality, and Credibility of Corporate Sustainability Reporting|
|21. Facilitating Establishment of Electronic Products Recycling Network|
|22. Demonstrating Electronic Stewardship for the Internet|
|Advancing Local and Global Sustainability||23. Information and Communications Technologies Reuse and Recycling|
|24. Application of Information and Communications Technologies to Improve Underserved Sustainability in Communities|
|25. Promoting the Aboriginal Business Development Programme for Small Businesses|
|26. Implementing and Expanding the Sustainable Cities Initiative ( SCI) to Improve the Sustainability of Cities in Developing Countries|
Enhance capacity of Industry Canada's sustainable development management system
Enhance the capacity of Industry Canada's management systems by focusing on the planning, performance measurement, and evaluation functions, and improve the integration of sustainable development into decision-making processes.
|Improving Sustainable Development Planning, Performance Measurement, and Evaluation||27. Integrating Sustainable Development into the Department's Strategic Planning and Reporting Frameworks|
|28. Renewing the Greening Operations Plan|
|29. Updating the Sustainable Development Evaluation Initiatives|
|30. Improving Sustainable Development Training and Awareness|
|31. Promoting Sustainable Development Through Senior Management Champions|
|32. Supporting Industry Canada's Sustainable Development Challenge, University of Cycling Initiative|
4.2 Relevance of SDS III for the Government's SD Priorities
Government-wide SD priorities — Exhibit 6 in the previous section provided the overall context for the government-wide SD framework as identified in A Guide to Green Government and in references to Speeches from the Throne (1999, 2001, 2002, and 2004).
The Guide to Green Government objectives are focused on the following goals:
- sustaining our natural resources;
- protecting the health of Canadians and of ecosystems;
- meeting our international challenges;
- promoting equity; and
- improving our quality of life and well-being.
The previous government's Budget Speech (February 2005) also emphasized an overall government strategic direction of "moving towards a green economy" and linked the initiatives aimed at a "stronger economy" with developing a "better environment". In so doing, the previous government emphasized the need to continue to address climate change issues and investing in environmental technologies.
Relevance of SDS III to Government priorities — Industry Canada's SDS III initiatives are generally perceived, within the department, to be consistent to the broad federal government directions towards SD, as expressed in the various references indicated above.
Advancing the federal government's sustainable development agenda, however, has been a learning experience throughout SDS I, SDS II, and SDS III. It continues to be a challenge for all departments in the federal government, according to those consulted for this mid-term evaluation. Clearly, the three key objectives of SDS III relate to the overall SD government framework. The progress of IC in achieving these objectives is discussed in subsequent chapters of this report.
However, it is commonly recognized that there has been, and still is, a need for a clearer commitment by the federal government, beyond the positions taken by the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development, to facilitate greater co-ordination and coherence in the federal voice on sustainable development.
SDS III initiatives are well integrated into the departments mandate and are linked to its strategic directions. The initiatives evolved through a process of internal consultation with IC staff and external consultations with stakeholders. An iterative process involving background research and discussions between IC management and staff, other government partners, and stakeholders led to the various targeted action items that make up the work agenda of SDS III. This process is seen by IC staff and management as reasonably rigorous, inclusive of differing points of view about how to tackle SD issues, and consistent with government-wide priorities. It is also seen, by IC staff and management as having been responsive to private sector perspectives, in that an external scan of issues and consultation process formed an integral part of the process of defining the Strategy.
Towards a government-wide statement on SD — The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, in her 2002 report to the House of Commons, stated that: "The government has yet to provide a clear picture of what a sustainable Canada would look like 20 years from now."10 In response, an inter-ministerial working group was convened to address this issue. With the recent change in government, a government-wide position on SD commitments is not yet in hand.
In the absence of a clear government-wide statement on SD, it makes it difficult for departments such as Industry Canada to develop long-term SD goals. Notwithstanding, IC has clearly identified its long-term vision, as well as the expected outcomes from its SD action items — including intended results that relate to past government statements on SD.11
Most of the action items are actually short or near-term in nature, with roughly a three-year time span, since the Minister of Industry and the department are required to update the strategy every three years. Yet long-term thinking for future generations of Canadians is the essence of SD. In the next sustainable development strategy (SDS IV), the challenge for Industry Canada will be to select the appropriate instruments that best achieve the intended outcomes of the new strategy, in a suitable timeframe that is consistent to a government-wide schedule for achieving results. This challenge can be mitigated only to the extent that consensus emerges on such a timeframe for results, with an accompanying clarity of vision expressed at a government-wide level.
Relevance of SDS III initiatives — IC's mandate, and its policies and programs, and SD initiatives are mutually reinforcing. IC and sustainable development are compatible, in that the department has an important role in ensuring that the government contributes to balanced decision making among economic, environmental and social dimensions of SD. This point is consistently confirmed or supported by those who were consulted within IC for this mid-term evaluation.
In light of Industry Canada's mandate to promote sustainable development, its economic responsibilities are compatible with the goals of sustainable development. Sustainable development is not just the protection of the environment. It includes the efficient and environmentally responsible use of all of Canada's resources—natural, human and economic. A healthy economy is seen by representatives within IC as one that stimulates job growth and wealth but in a way that ensures a high quality of life and a healthy environment.
Industry Canada's sustainable development initiatives, to continue to be relevant, will need to build on its partnerships and collaborations with external stakeholders and with other federal government departments. Industry Canada's SDS III initiatives involved a variety of partnering and collaborative relationships required for the implementation of its SD action items. Chapter V outlines the extent of partnerships and collaborations that IC successfully developed during SDS III. Continued relevance of the SD initiatives will be contingent on the extent to which initiatives are externally focused, broad-based and involve active projects with the private sector and other federal departments. Developing this relevance for SDS IV is to a significant extent based on identifying continuing and new priorities, through a consultation process with these partners and stakeholders.
There are many relevant and continuing opportunities for Industry Canada and other departments to work together and share responsibility for moving the sustainable development agenda forward. Consultations conducted for this current mid-term evaluation study within the department, and with some external stakeholders, highlighted some key potential opportunities to further tie Industry Canada's initiatives to government-wide sustainable development priorities. The following areas were suggested as important, going forward into SDS IV, to guide the development of relevant IC action items for the future:
- Voluntary industry approaches, codes and standards of practice.
- Effectiveness of legislative and policy frameworks.
- Promoting awareness of opportunities and benefits of SD among SMEs and among consumers.
- Opportunities for commercialization of technologies that contribute to sustainable development.
- Alignment of economic policy and quality of life objectives of government.
- Responsible reporting practices and accountability.
- Impacts of fiscal and tax incentives for SD performance.
The findings from the internal and the external issues scans, that parallel this mid-term evaluation, will have to confirm the continuing relevance of the SDS III initiatives, and the relative importance to IC of the suggested areas indicated above.
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