Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), CSA Group, and the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) have signed an agreement where CSA Group will develop a new National Standard of Canada for natural asset inventories CSA W218, titled Methodology for Completing Natural Asset Inventories. Leveraging technical guidance published by MNAI, CSA Group will form a technical committee to develop a National Standard of Canada that will provide asset management professionals with consistent requirements and guidance on how to complete natural asset inventories and enable these practitioners and consultants to conduct such assessments in a consistent manner.
A natural asset inventory contains information about what natural assets exist, the condition they are in, and what risks they face; it is the first step that local governments and others take in the full natural asset management process.
“Once complete, CSA W218 will mean that whether practitioners develop natural asset inventories in Gander, Toronto, Iqaluit, Victoria or anywhere else in Canada, they will all be comparable,” said Roy Brooke, Executive Director for MNAI. “This is a key step to making natural asset management a broadly based, fully scalable, well-funded activity across the country, one that can attract funding and financing firm diverse sources.”
“Standards underpin Canada’s resiliency in the face of climate change by helping to ensure consistency and best practices,” says Michael Leering, Director, Environment and Business Excellence, CSA Group. “This new National Standard will catalyze further action and incorporation of critical natural assets into existing asset management systems in Canada, making our communities more resilient while protecting and improving natural ecosystems for local flora and fauna.”
As natural asset management becomes a more broadly-based practice, it will continue to contribute significantly to a range of climate action, biodiversity, resilience, and service delivery outcomes.
The new Standard will be of particular benefit to:
- Consulting firms and industry practitioners that conduct natural asset inventories, as they could use CSA W218 to help them apply the best practices that experts and industry leaders have developed.
- Local governments that will be able to work more transparently with industry practitioners to conduct natural asset inventories and determine the services their natural assets provide, and compare the results with other communities.
- The public, which would benefit from knowing local governments are effectively managing and protecting their communities’ natural assets and risks.
- Education/curriculum developers and providers who would have an authoritative basis for training and professional development in the natural asset management field.
Through this project, MNAI will also complete the discovery phase for a national registry with CSA Group for completed natural asset inventories. This will lead to a single, central, public, searchable repository for all completed inventories with the goal of ultimately standardizing many more parts of the natural asset management process.
To develop the National Standard, CSA Group will form a technical committee, composed of a balanced representation by key interest groups including academia, municipal staff, regulators, industry representatives, consultants and users, among others.
The Standard is expected to be published in mid-2023. A draft of the Standard will be available for public review in late 2022 for a period of 60 days.