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7D: Governing Transitions
Time: 25/Jun/2019: 15:15-16:15 · Location: RB 2311

Market-Based Instruments (MBIs) for Implementing Sustainable Community Plan (SCPs)

Ying Zhou1, Amelia Clarke1, Stephanie Cairns2

1University of Waterloo, Canada; 2Smart Prosperity Institute

The focus of this research is on market-based instruments (MBIs) for implementing sustainable community plan (SCPs). Most Canadian municipalities are committed to the implementation of sustainable community plans. These plans are sometimes called integrated community sustainability plans, local agenda 21s, climate action plans, or may be part of a municipal official/master plan. They generally include environmental goals on: transportation, water, waste, air quality & energy, climate change, food security, ecological diversity and/or land use. While sustainable community plans have gained momentum in recent years as a mean to address these complex environmental problems, the gaps planning and implementing such plans are becoming difficult to ignore.

Many researchers have investigated the importance of market-based mechanisms for sustainability and highlighted the need for MBIs as a means for sustainability. This research presents the Sustainability Alignment Methodology (SAM) tool, a methodological tool that aligns the market-based instruments under municipal jurisdiction with the environmental goals in the sustainable community plan. For the creation of the SAM tool, archival research was conducted and existing MBIs were synthesized for the development of the preliminary set of MBIs. Only MBIs under municipal jurisdiction and have potential to achieve the environmental goals in the sustainable community plans were considered for tool. The framework of the developed SAM was then deductively tested with publicly available information from two mid-size Ontario communities - the City of Kingston and the Region of Waterloo. Further inductive findings were also collected through focus groups with key municipal staff. The focus groups gained information on the list of market-based instruments, the categorization of the market-based instruments and the set of scoring criteria. The preliminary version of the SAM tool found acceptance during the focus groups, with some recommendations for revision – such as the exclusion of the scoring criteria. Based on these findings, the preliminary draft of the SAM tool was revised to be more user-friendly.

The revised version contains over 50 Market-Based Instruments across eight different environmental topics and identifies the municipal departments associated with these MBIs. This research makes an important contribution to sustainable community development by equipping municipal governments with a better understanding of market-based instruments and providing a useful tool for helping implement their sustainable community plans. The research presents a new way of categorizing MBIs, by establishing alignment of MBIs with the associated environmental goals in the SCPs. Moreover, the research also contributes to the understanding of MBIs that are applicable at the local level.

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