October 16, 2006

GMF grant helps communities test new framework for sustainability planning

A $70,000 Green Municipal Fund grant will help the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Authority (EDA) modify its five-year development plan into a sustainable community plan with indicators to guide and assess policy, program, and infrastructure decisions. For the EDA, a joint venture of the city of Leduc and Leduc County, project will serve as the first "test drive" of the Genuine Wealth Accounting (GWA) framework

Developed by Mark Anielski, an Edmonton-based economist who teaches corporate social responsibility and ecological economics, the GWA uses an integrated asset mapping approach to assess the sustainability of a community's natural, human, social, built (infrastructure) and financial capital. The model goes beyond conventional economic growth and accounting models to take into account quality of life factors, and provides a means of measuring and managing natural, human and social capital together with material assets.

As part of the Genuine Wealth project, the Leduc-Nisku EDA will explore natural synergies between the GWA and other frameworks and tools, such as The Natural Step Canada, Ecological Footprint Analysis, Life-Cycle Value Assessment, Triple Bottom Line Accounting Framework, and Material Energy Flow Analysis.

The project will also pilot-test the application of the results of the GWA assessment to the city of Leduc's planning and budgeting activities. As the first test of its kind in Canada, it may serve as a model to help other communities in the region and across Canada in their sustainability efforts.

"The Genuine Wealth Accounting Project is a powerful strategic business planning process that engages all members of the community in assessing the community's core quality of life values," Pat Klak, executive director of the Leduc-Nisku EDA, explained. "It has developed a set of genuine wealth indicators that align with the values of the community to assess the conditions of well-being of its five capital assets in the interests of improving and sustaining quality of life."

More information on the GWA framework is available from Mark Anielski, E-mail anielski@telus.net.

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