Thank you, Mr. McCauley.
Since we do have quorum, we will commence.
Colleagues, we are continuing our study on the greening of government strategy. We have some guests with us via video conference. I'll introduce them quickly to you.
From Los Angeles, California, we have Madam Nancy Sutley, chief sustainability officer, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. From the Government of the French Republic, we have Elise Calais, deputy director, Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, General Commission for Sustainable Development, Department of the Economy; Corinne Fritsch, acting head of the Office of Public Service Leadership, Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition. We also have Jean-Baptiste Trocmé, head, Office for the Integration of Sustainable Development.
I'd like to welcome all of the video conference participants. Thank you for being here.
I think you probably know the routine and process that we go through. We will ask those of you who are making presentations to make a brief opening presentation. Once all of the presentations have been completed, we will go directly into questions by our committee members.
Madam Sutley, do you care to say a few words to make sure we hear your audio?
Thank you for the opportunity to appear.
My name is Nancy Sutley. Currently, I'm the chief sustainability officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It is the largest municipally owned utility in the U.S. and a department of the City of Los Angeles, California. It serves four million people in Los Angeles with water and electricity.
From 2009 to 2014, I served in President Obama's administration as the chair of the White House council on environmental quality, the CEQ. The CEQ was established in 1970 by the National Environmental Policy Act to provide the president of the United States with advice regarding environmental priorities for the nation. Since the early 1990s, the CEQ has also coordinated the sustainability in greening efforts of the United States government. The CEQ houses the Office of Federal Sustainability, although the budget and employees come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The White House Office of Management and Budget tracks and evaluates sustainability performance metrics. A number of other federal agencies provide subject matter expertise and guidance on federal sustainability-related subjects, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration.
Successive presidents since the 1990s have issued a series of presidential executive orders that have established sustainability and greening goals for the U.S. government. The U.S. government has long been a leader in sustainability, demonstrating sustainable practices such as green building techniques that are now common practices in the wider U.S. economy. These executive orders have generally built on the progress in previous executive orders, although the most current one, executive order 13834, issued by President Trump in May 2018, is a step backwards, particularly with respect to climate change.
The U.S. Congress has enacted a number of goals and programs that affect the greening of the U.S. government in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, among others. However, executive action has broadened and expanded these goals and programs, relying on the president's authority to manage the U.S. government. Executive orders are directives by the president that manage the operations of the U.S. government and have the force of law.
The oversight and management of the U.S. government's greening efforts have evolved since the 1990s. The U.S. government is the single largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy. It has more than 350,000 buildings, 600,000 vehicles and nearly 2 million civilian employees. It purchases $500 billion annually in goods and services and spends $16 billion per year on energy.
Recent accomplishments by the U.S. government, as reported by the Office of Federal Sustainability, include a more than 7% reduction in building energy use per square foot from 2015 to 2017; a 25% reduction in potable water use since 2007; more than 10% of facility energy use being met with renewable energy; and, a doubling in alternative fuel use since 2005.
Federal sustainability and greening directives and efforts have gotten increasingly comprehensive and ambitious over the last 25 years, until President Trump aimed to scale those efforts back to only those statutorily mandated and cost effective.
His executive order contains qualitative goals around building energy use, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water use, waste prevention and recycling and procurement. It retains the structure of an inter-agency sustainability steering committee chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality and the White House Office of Management and Budget and the designation of chief sustainability officers by each federal agency, and it continues the practice of issuing scorecards to federal agencies on sustainability measures. The CEQ has yet to issue implementation instructions and guidance to federal agencies under this latest directive.
However, his executive order eliminates any mention of climate change and certain quantitative and prescriptive performance requirements contained in Obama-era executive orders, including requirements for federal agencies to account for and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impact of climate change and the preparation of agency-strategic sustainability performance plans.
President Obama's 2015 executive order 13693, which expanded the reach and ambition of a 2009 executive order, emphasized climate change mitigation, noting that the actions outlined in his executive order could result in a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by U.S. government operations by the year 2025.
Executive order 13693 required federal agencies to set greenhouse gas reduction goals for scopes one, two and three emissions for 2025 relative to a 2008 baseline. It also set a number of other performance requirements in the areas of building energy conservation, renewable energy use, water use reduction, fleets, net zero buildings, sustainable procurement, recycling and waste management and electronics stewardship. For the first time it required the U.S. government to manage supply chain greenhouse gas emissions. Under another executive order, since revoked by the Trump administration, federal agencies had to address climate change impacts on their operations through agency adaptation plans.
Key to all these efforts is oversight by the White House through the CEQ and OMB. In addition to demonstrating leadership by the federal government, it's important that there is a business case for these measures, either budgetary or to meet some other agency operational need. For example, the U.S. government was an early adopter and encourager of green building practices that result in long-term budgetary savings. Also, these executive orders have encouraged federal agencies to use energy savings performance contracts that are authorized by federal law. These ESPCs allow federal agencies to enter into budget-neutral, long-term contracts with third parties that guarantee energy savings with no upfront costs paid through the energy savings.
In another example, military bases worked with third parties to develop renewable energy projects to provide power for bases. In addition to the environmental benefits of these projects, they provide resiliency for the base and its critical infrastructure in the event of a disruption to the electricity grid. The Department of Defense and the military services account for most the energy use by the U.S. government.
In conclusion, despite the Trump administration's scaling back, the U.S. government continues to pursue greening goals. Progress towards sustainability by the U.S. government will help the U.S. meet its overall goals. These efforts also bring budgetary and operational benefits to federal agencies. They ensure that the U.S. government can continue to lead by example as it has for decades.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these thoughts.
Colleagues, I have a couple of housekeeping notes before we continue.
Number one, we have an additional guest with us today who will be providing testimony, but you do not have this individual on your agenda. We have, from the Government of Finland, Madam Hannele Pokka. I hope Madam Pokka is not on the agenda because we were just informed, as of 7:15 this morning that she was available, which gave us enough time to connect her by video conference.
My apologies to all committee members that you don't have her on your agenda.
The last housekeeping item, colleagues, I should have done at the outset. We have some committee business to deal with today, so at approximately 10:15, 30 minutes prior to the completion of this meeting, I will be asking that this part of the meeting conclude so that we can go into committee business. We have a number of details and decisions to make.
With that, we will now turn it over to Madam Pokka, from Finland. She is the permanent secretary with the Ministry of the Environment.
Madam Pokka, the floor is yours.
Thank you. I am delighted to appear.
Hello, Canada. It's a great pleasure to see you all on the other side of the video. It's a very interesting time to give a presentation from Finland to you, because a couple of weeks ago our Prime Minister and government resigned and we will have parliamentary elections on April 14. I have been listening to what the parties and candidates have been talking about as the elections are coming, and it's amazing how universal it is that all parties in Finland feel that we need to be very active in stopping climate change.
Actually, most of these strategies and some good examples, which I will now tell you about, have been adopted by Parliament, so they are very widely supported.
First of all, in terms of climate change and the circular bio-economy, Finland has a long-term objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. The Finnish government has set an additional target that Finland will be carbon neutral by 2045. Significant actions have already been carried out. For example, the Finnish Parliament just recently accepted legislation, and under this new law, it will be prohibited to use coal in energy production from June 2029 onward.
Finland is part of an EU-wide emissions trading system and has ambitious targets for 2030 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the so-called effort sharing sector by 39% compared with 2005 levels. “Effort sharing sector” means traffic, construction, houses and agriculture.
Finland aims also to be a forerunner in the circular economy by 2025. This is a guiding principle in the Finnish road map to a circular economy, prepared jointly by relevant ministries and other stakeholders to respond to the opportunities offered by the circular economy.
Transition towards a more circular economy is in progress. New businesses are closing the loops in product life cycles. For example, land filling has greatly decreased and recycling and reuse are gaining ground. As another example, as you know, Finland has a lot of forests. We have also a lot of pulp mills. Nowadays pulp mills call themselves bio-economy centres because nothing is wasted; all by-products are used and made into new products such as biofuel and other things. So, the circular economy is also that.
I'll say a few words about the sustainable development goals, SDGs for 2030. Finland is included, through international sustainable development goals, in different strategies and we have had for quite a long time, actually, a national commission on sustainable development chaired by the Prime Minister. But instead of having a traditional strategy document, the national commission on sustainable development decided to introduce society's commitment to sustainable development. It is called “The Finland we want by 2050”. Under the commitment, the public sector together with other actors pledges to promote sustainable development in all its work and operations. Different stakeholders and public sector organizations have already made almost 2,000 commitments personally once they are in office or through their authority, aiming to implement sustainable development goals.
Also, in our annual budget, which the government gives to Parliament, we give a review of what we have really done to implement SDGs in the year and what we are aiming to do next year.
I have two examples of how the government is greening its activities. One comes from my ministry, the Ministry of the Environment. We have some other partners—not all are ministries, but many are—who have certified offices by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF green offices. The green office certificate helps offices to reduce the carbon footprint of the office, to use natural resources wisely and to protect biodiversity.
In my office we can follow what we have really done—for example, saving paper, being more energy effective and perhaps also travelling less by airplane. Another example of greening the government comes from public procurement, probably also like in Canada. In Finland, the value of public procurement is over 30 billion euros annually, so around 16% of our GDP.
The government has made a decision in principle, setting targets on public procurements. They are good targets, but the practical tool we use is established between relevant ministries. It's a sort of a network-based centre of excellence, the purpose being to increase the ambition and expertise of various actors and influence sustainability and circularity in procurements. Not only the state government or ministries are doing this job; also the local municipalities and companies are making quite a big decision by public procurements.
The last topic is that we will be chairing the European Union's council from the beginning of July to the end of this year. We are preparing for our coming chairmanship. One issue that we are now dealing with is that we know when we are chairing, it will increase the flight travels of European politicians and secret service people between Brussels and Helsinki. As part of this presidency program, the government is planning to compensate CO2 emissions of flight travels. We are planning that beyond this chairmanship; we'll continue this compensation system.
Thank you for listening to me.
Thank you, members of Parliament.
There are three of us representing the Government of France today. My name is Elise Calais, and I am deputy director of the Division of Environmental Responsibility of Economic Actors.
Joining me is Corinne Fritsch, the acting head of the Office of Public Service Leadership in my division. The two of us will be discussing inter-ministerial public policy, because we are responsible for the strategy government-wide, including all ministries.
Also with me is Jean-Baptiste Trocmé, from the General Secretariat of the ministry. He is actually responsible for implementing the public policy within the ministry all three of us represent, the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition.
First of all, what is exemplary administration in France all about? Article 6 of the charter for the environment, which was incorporated into France's constitution in March 2005, provides that public policies must promote sustainable development. To that end, public policy seeks to balance environmental protection and development, economic growth and social advancement.
It is these principles that we are working to incorporate into administration and public procurement through policy. Our mechanism seems to be very much in line with what other countries have in place, particularly what the Finnish government official described. What this means is that the government decides on a host of policies that are then implemented by the ministries.
France has 50,000 procurement authorities, in other words, government service organizations, and territorial communities, which include regions, departments, communes and public institutions of intercommunal co-operation, as well as public institutions such as hospitals, courts and universities. They account for roughly 15% of France's gross domestic product, so they have a major role to play in a successful green transition, namely, the transition to a circular economy.
The inter-ministerial policy we are responsible for is based on the February 17, 2015 circular issued by the Prime Minister of France calling on each ministry to adopt an exemplary administration plan setting out a certain number of principles and to submit an annual report taking into account specific indicators.
Here is an example: the proportion of low-emission vehicles acquired through public procurement. This refers to the percentage of vehicles purchased by public administration authorities that are electric or produce low emissions, in accordance with established criteria. Another indicator is the ratio of recycled paper to total paper used by administration authorities. Indicators also include annual water use and annual energy consumption by public buildings.
These policies have been in place since 2008. Furthermore, underlying the ministerial plans are certain obligations imposed on all the procurement authorities. Here is an example. Every three years, each government service organization is required to report its greenhouse gas emissions attributable to building consumption, transportation of officials or any other cause. French businesses are subject to a similar reporting requirement every four years.
Another example is the fact that the country's major strategies have all been incorporated into the obligations of the administrative authorities. In that connection, the French government released a circular economy roadmap in March 2018.
Some of the commitments undertaken in relation to administrative authorities involve the use of recycled paper, the reuse of mobile phones and the use of retreaded tires, in other words, used tires for administration authority vehicles.
In July 2018, we also adopted a biodiversity plan. Similarly, the plan takes account of public administration authorities.
Here's one final example. In November 2018, France adopted a national strategy to combat imported deforestation, which it built into its inter-ministerial mechanism. There again, obligations tie in with exemplary administration plans.
However, the mechanism isn't necessarily robust enough today. We are realizing that, despite the large number of regulatory obligations, the desired effects aren't always forthcoming, primarily because measures are lacking to sanction organizations for failing to follow through on their obligations. What's more, in some cases, we don't even have the information to tell us whether the plans are being followed.
The February 2015 circular I mentioned earlier required all ministries to report annually to our division on progress towards their ministerial action plan in relation to the prescribed indicators. On a practical level, what we're seeing is that some ministries never submit their reports. When the mechanism was launched, a bonus malus financial incentive scheme was in place. The scheme hardly made us any friends in other ministries and has since been eliminated. Of course, we received the reports when financial penalties applied.
The second component of the exemplary administration approach is the 2015-20 national action plan for sustainable public procurement. It, too, is an inter-ministerial plan. A certain number of objectives were set for 2020, one being that at least 30% of public contracts in a year include, at a minimum, an environmental clause. Another objective provided for a comprehensive analysis of every contract, as soon as the procurement requirement had been defined, to determine whether the contract could take account of the sustainable development objectives. This demonstrates exemplary government administration in relation to energy and electricity conservation.
Lastly, we have set the following objective for 2020: 80% of organizations purchasing paper, printing devices, office supplies, furniture, clothing and office systems are to take into account product life cycle, either through the delivery mechanisms of the contract or a comprehensive end-of-life management approach. This can include recycling, reuse and treatment of waste. We are really working to fully transition to a circular economy. The objectives I just listed were set for 2020, which is just around the corner. We've already decided to follow up with another inter-ministerial plan for the subsequent five-year period, 2020 to 2025, and we are working with a number of stakeholders to that end.
I would also like to draw your attention to our public procurement awards ceremony, which is quite successful. Every year, we recognize procurement authorities for stellar performance in various categories related to the way in which they concluded contracts or the inclusion of objective-oriented clauses for CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions, the circular economy, clean practices and so forth.
We also have an inventory of public procurement clauses that stakeholders can share. We set up a decentralized information-sharing system for stakeholders because we realize how important sharing practices and experiences can be. Supportive procurement authorities can do a lot on their smaller scale. The ability to replicate best practices has a lot of advantages, whether in terms of drafting legal clauses for public tender processes or adopting voluntary best practices. Take, for example, workplace carpooling, water-saving and energy efficiency practices or the greening of spaces.
That's it for the inter-ministerial, or government, component of our presentation. I will now turn the floor over to my colleague, Jean-Baptiste Trocmé, who will speak to exemplary administration as it relates to our ministry.
Within the ministry, we build on that foundation, setting out a clear path for implementation. I'm going to speak to the methodology piece.
I would point out that an extensive number of changes are necessary and, thus, it is important, not to mention much easier, to pool efforts and share innovative solutions as well as lessons learned. The ministry puts a strong emphasis on that aspect.
For instance, we have a network of counterparts in each of our regional divisions, closest to our territories. We meet regularly to discuss challenges or, conversely, policies that have had a positive impact. The goal is to build a common toolbox, if you will, to make everyone's job easier. The practice underscores a voluntary action objective and a horizontal approach that isn't part of our usual procedure, but is producing results nonetheless.
To wrap up, I would like to highlight the fact that we pay special attention to policy participation by stakeholders across ministries, including ours. It's important to strike the right balance between a prescriptive and participatory approach, in other words, balancing the binding targets and the engagement of public servants and service heads who believe in the merits of what they're being asked to do and move quickly to implement it. We strive for a comprehensive approach that marries rules and regulations with more practical and communication-based elements. To that end, we explain why we are asking for something and what the expected impact is. We promote practices that have been successful elsewhere. What was the problem? How was it remedied? What was the outcome? By building on that knowledge, we can accomplish a lot.
That was really the point I wanted to make, in adding to my colleague's remarks.
Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you so much, everybody, for attending this meeting.
First of all, I would like to make some general comments about that.
First of all, I'd like to point out that this morning's discussion has had a neutral environmental impact. We've heard from people from all over the world—California, Finland and France—all by video conference here, in Ottawa. No airplanes were chartered and no gas-guzzling transportation was used to make this meeting possible. That's a very good thing.
I still have a few general comments.
I think we have a lot to learn from Finland. Madam Pokka is a good example. As everybody knows, while Canada and Finland maybe don't share exactly the same kind of climate, we at least have some comparisons to make. In Canada, everybody knows that Victoria is not Quebec City and that Niagara Falls is not Whitehorse, but at least we know what winter is in Canada, as you people from Finland know.
It's also very interesting to learn from the Los Angeles experience. I welcome you, Madam, for being with us so early. It's, what, 6 a.m. there, or around that? Thank you so much for your participation.
I want to emphasize the fact that everybody talks about California as an example and all of that stuff, and yes, I think everybody can learn from each other, but it's interesting to remark and to outline that the first laws were adopted by President Nixon in 1970. We talked a lot about President Obama for sure, and we've talked a lot about other presidents, but we have to recognize the fact that the first president to introduce legislation and regulations on environmental issues was President Nixon. So many people forget that.
I'd like to say hello to our friends in Paris, France, and address my first questions to them.
My thanks to all three of you for speaking French. I'm going to address you in French, if you don't mind. I assume that is your preference as well.
You talked about the balance between binding targets and stakeholder engagement. Clearly, binding measures usually involve taxation of some sort. As far as participation-based measures go, stakeholders are rewarded for their achievements. You said you recognize stakeholders who demonstrate stellar performance.
Given your experience in France, which would you say is more effective as far as businesses and public authorities are concerned: binding measures or measures that focus on participation and recognition?
It's possible to address both aspects.
I'd like to clarify something. On our end, we are responsible for the inter-ministerial mechanism, and Mr. Trocmé is responsible for the ministerial mechanism. He can provide more information on that.
What is the right balance between binding and voluntary measures? That's a great question. In fact, it's something we are trying to determine as we speak.
In terms of binding measures, it all depends on your ability to impose sanctions or penalties. I would say that's true for any statutory or regulatory measure. It all depends on the penalties: whether there are any, whether they provide a deterrent and whether they are likely to be enforced.
Currently, the French model is really quite voluntary in terms of commitment level. I'll give you an example. In theory, 50% of government-purchased vehicles have to be low-emission vehicles. In practice, however, the percentage is estimated at 12% for short term and 7% for inventory. Clearly, the reality is way off target. It all has to do with the fact that public authorities are given a certain number of exemptions, which they take full advantage of. When it comes to a mandatory approach, it all depends on political will.
As for a voluntary approach, it's a very good way to go because it encourages people not to focus solely on penalties, but also to think about the benefits of a virtuous circle and to work with us voluntarily.
I touched on the subject earlier. When it comes to public procurement, we sometimes include certain clauses. Keep in mind that we have total control over government contracts, but that many hospitals and universities enter into their own contracts. In some cases, the contracts set out obligations, and in others, they include incentive measures. We encourage every public buyer to include a legal clause indicating, for instance, that if the buyer purchases wooden tables, they will ensure the tables are supplied by a carpentry company that can demonstrate the use of sustainable practices. That will count for 30% in the tendering process. That's really what we try to do. The environmental aspect can be given more weight than price or another factor.
As far as sound policies go, within the government, we don't currently have any of the systematic practices that can apply to contracts, such as the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, factors, or the second opinion. We don't specifically examine controversial situations involving businesses, if that's what you were wondering. It is something, though, that would be possible.