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.
- Electricity Emissions Factors and changes to the Green Communities Committee Carbon Neutral Framework (July 6, 2021): methodology for calculating electricity emissions factor aligned with that used by industry.
- Process for New Option 1 Project Ideas (January 23, 2019): The GCC would like to hear from local governments to assist in developing new Option 1 projects.
- Option 1 Trenchless Technology Project Profile (January 17, 2019): Trenchless technology added to Option 1 projects.
- BC Recycling Regulation and changes to the Green Communities Committee Carbon Neutral Framework (January 4, 2018): In May 2014, under the BC Recycling Regulation, responsibility for end-of-life management of residential packaging and printed paper shifted to the businesses that produce these materials.
- Climate Action Recognition Program update (November 29, 2016): Recognition program updated to include additional level to recognize accelerating progress towards meeting commitments.
- Update on Making Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality (November 30, 2014): GCC has renewed its support of the “making progress towards carbon neutral” option under the Framework for the year 2014 and onwards subject to GCC’s annual review of local government progress.
- Option 1 Avoided Forest Conversion Project Profile (June 11, 2014): Emission reductions associated with preventing the conversion of existing forested lands to a non-forest land use added to Option 1 projects.
- Update on Making Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality (September 30, 2013): GCC has renewed its support of the “making progress towards carbon neutral” option under the Framework for the year 2013 and onwards subject to GCC’s annual review of local government progress.
- Climate Action Recognition Program Launches (November 1, 2012)
- Contracted Emissions Guidance (April 18, 2012): A step-by-step guidebook for local governments on how to account for emissions that are generated in the delivery of contracted traditional services.
- SMARTTool Recommended for Emissions Reporting (March 1, 2012)
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.
Local government Charter commitments
Local governments have control or influence over approximately half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. 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.