BC Climate Action Charter

An agreement to collaborate and act

The BC Climate Action Charter (Charter) is a voluntary agreement between the Province of British Columbia, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), and local government signatories to take action on climate change. The Green Communities Committee (GCC) was formed to assist local government signatories in achieving their Charter commitments.

The Charter was launched at the 2007 UBCM Convention. Since then, nearly every local government in the province has become a signatory. This includes municipalities, regional districts and the Islands Trust.

The Green Communities Committee (GCC)

The GCC is a joint committee with membership from the Province of British Columbia and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). As part of its mandate, the GCC established a common approach to determining carbon neutrality for the purposes of the Charter and has developed, in consultation with BC local governments, a Carbon Neutral Framework to measure, reduce, balance, and report emissions.

The GCC was also responsible for establishing this website, supporting the UBCM Community Excellence award in Sustainability, and establishing working groups to explore ways local governments can take action to reduce emissions.

GCC Communiqués

The GCC periodically issues communiqués that provide information on recent decisions or guidance documents related to the Carbon Neutral Framework that are important for local governments. Read the communiqués below and sign up for future communiqués

UBCM Special Committee on Climate Action

The special committee was established to generate new ideas, explore opportunities for local government action, and identify opportunities for partnerships. In November 2020, the committee released recommendations on how British Columbia’s local governments can move towards a low-carbon future.

Read the Climate Action Recommendations.

Local government Charter commitments

Local governments have control or influence over approximately half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.[1] Under the Charter, local government signatories commit to take actions to work toward corporate carbon neutrality, measure community-wide GHG emissions, and create more complete, compact, and energy efficient communities.

Corporate actions are typically implemented to reduce emissions, reduce energy use, reduce operating costs, build capacity and knowledge among staff and elected officials, and manage risk. They could relate to service delivery or the facilities and assets owned by the local government. Examples include:

  • Retrofitting civic buildings and facilities to improve energy efficiency and climate resilience
  • Improving the efficiency of fleet operations and investing in zero-emissions fleet vehicles
  • Completing a climate risk assessment for local government assets

In reducing emissions, local governments may undertake community-wide actions that capitalize on their ability to influence land use, transportation decisions, and natural environment conditions. Local governments are well positioned to build climate mitigation and adaptation awareness in members of the community and may support actions undertaken by community groups, non-profits, and other partners.

Achievements under the Charter

Local government Charter signatories across the province have advanced the conversation about climate change in their communities, built awareness of the measures needed to deal with climate impacts, and increased their own capacity to respond. Many local governments have completed or are completing climate action plans and are integrating mitigation and climate adaptation into their long-range planning and daily operations.

Since 2007, the GCC has worked with local governments to assist them in achieving their goals. The GCC developed this website, the BC Climate Action Toolkit, supported the UBCM Excellence in Sustainability awards, investigated new options and pathways that would support local government climate action. This work includes the development the Carbon Neutral Framework, a common approach for corporate carbon neutrality.

Local government successes, in working toward their climate action commitments under the Charter, are recognized in ways that include:

  • CARIP Summary Report on Local Government Climate Actions: The yearly report highlights local government climate actions reported in the CARIP Climate Action/Carbon Neutral Progress Survey. CARIP has been discontinued and 2020 was the final year of the program. Summary reports are available up to 2018.
  • GCC Recognition Program: Under the GCC Climate Action Recognition Program, the GCC recognizes signatories who demonstrate progress on their Charter commitments in one of four levels of recognition:
    • Level 1 – Demonstrating Progress on Charter Commitments
    • Level 2 – Measuring Corporate GHG Emissions
    • Level 3 – Accelerating Progress on Charter Commitments
    • Level 4 – Achievement of Corporate Carbon Neutrality
  • BC Climate Action Toolkit Success Stories: This website showcases actions being taken by BC local governments and documents successes and best practices.
  • UBCM Excellence Awards: The awards recognize and celebrate UBCM members that have implemented projects and programs demonstrating excellence in meeting the purposes of local government. The GCC sponsors UBCM’s Excellence in Sustainability award that recognizes local governments that incorporate a long-term sustainability lens by considering four pillars – cultural, social, economic and environmental issues – in planning, policy and practice.