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2004 Planning — Co-winner 2

City of Greater Sudbury, Ontario

EarthCare Sudbury Local Action Plan

Population: 156,000

The EarthCare Sudbury Local Action Plan is part of the City of Greater Sudbury's commitment to Partners for Climate Protection. While developing the plan, the city discovered that it spent close to $400 million each year on energy costs. The objective is to reduce those expenditures, while achieving other social, economic and environmental benefits. Under the plan's energy retrofit initiative, Greater Sudbury has already saved nearly $1 million in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26 per cent. Greater Sudbury's community energy plan also outlines how it will become more energy self-sufficient through local green energy and renewable energy projects to be implemented within the next 50 years.


The City of Greater Sudbury has a legacy of environmental damage stemming from mining activities. Despite an impressive recovery, the city still had much work to do to enhance its environmental image.

Greater Sudbury joined Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) in 1997.While working on PCP's first two Milestones- developing greenhouse gas and energy use inventories and setting reduction targets-it discovered that it spent close to $400 million annually in energy. Most of that money, and its spin-off economic benefits, leaves the community. The inventory work, coupled with council's desire to pursue the local benefits of environmental action, spurred the city to focus much of its efforts on the energy side.

In 1999, with the support of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), Greater Sudbury began work on PCP Milestone Three to develop its local action plan: Becoming a Sustainable Community.


  • The plan aims to reduce GHG emissions by 30 per cent below 1990 levels within 15 years. Part of this goal includes a 10 per cent reduction in emissions from transportation sources.
  • A monitoring program will establish the procedures to evaluate short- and long-term goals.
  • The plan will be reviewed every five years to re-examine its goals, objectives, and targets, and to report on progress.
  • The separate Community Energy Plan was supported by a grant from FCM's Green Municipal Funds (GMF).Through this work, Greater Sudbury received an additional GMF grant to assess wind turbine technology and has now established partnerships with Northland Power Inc. to develop wind farms.
  • In 2002, Greater Sudbury was chosen as the site of the first Eco-Tourism Conference and Trade Show in Canada to mark the international year of Eco-Tourism.
  • Working with Natural Resources Canada, EarthCare Sudbury launched an anti-idling campaign in October 2001 to reduce emissions by asking drivers to turn off their engines while parked.

Lessons Learned

  • PARTNERSHIPS ARE KEY BUT NEED TIME TO DEVELOP. "The time it took to engage the partners was a surprise," said Mr. Graham. "We thought it would be a one-year effort but it turned out to be two and half years." He stressed, however, that this was one of the most important aspects in developing the plan. "Our partners were asked to sign a declaration to agree to join with the city to implement the plan and that built momentum."
  • OBTAIN POLITICAL AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT SUPPORT. Political support for the plan was obtained very early on in the process. One of the reasons for this was the amount of money the community spent on energy use, which gave council an impetus to get behind the planning process. "You also need to bring senior management along," said Mr. Graham. "There are such competing pressures on the operations of a municipality and it's very easy for them not to focus on environmental action."
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING HAS STRONG ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TIES. As demonstrated by the inventory process, almost $400 million in energy expenditures and related economic benefits left the community each year. Greater Sudbury recognized and understood the link between the environment and the economy early on and was able to use that connection to gain support from all of its partners, particularly the business community.
  • COMMUNITY-BASED SOCIAL MARKETING (CBSM) TECHNIQUES. "An understanding of social marketing principles led us to use the declaration as an engagement tool," said Mr. Graham, who credited FCM for introducing the city to the concept. "At one of FCM's Sustainable Communities Conference we met Doug McKenzie-Mohr, the leading expert in CBSM principles. We've worked with him ever since."

Partners and Collaboration


  • Economic Development & Planning Services
  • Public Works


93 community, business, and government partners, some of these include:

  • International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Government of Ontario
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Laurentian University
  • Science North
  • Inco Limited
  • Falconbridge Limited
Page Updated: 21/12/2015