CSIN Learning Event #40 (WMV - 78 MB) took place on April 3, with presentations from Dr. Margot Parkes (Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health), Mike Puddister (Credit Valley Conservation), Tatiana Koveshnikova (Credit Valley Conservation), Dr. Lorna Medd (Cowichan Watershed Board) and Steve Litke (Fraser Basin Council). The presenters offered perspectives on the challenges of measuring indicators for human health and well-being in watershed management programs.
CSIN Learning Event webinar #39 (WMV - 43 MB) took place on March 7 with presenter Alex de Sherbinin explaining target setting in environmental indicators. Watch the webinar recording now!
CSIN Learning Event webinar #38 (WMV - 48 MB) took place on Feb 21 with presenter Lyle Wray discussing the Community Results Toolkit - From Community Indicators to Results. Watch the webinar recording now!
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Sustainability indicators are signals that tell us if our society is moving toward or away from more sustainable ways of living and doing business.
Sustainability indicators also inform course corrections that are necessary to keep communities, corporations, governments and organizations of all descriptions moving in the right direction.
During the past 20 years, federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions, businesses and NGOs the world over have been developing measurement systems. All use indicators to mark and inform the progress each makes towards environmental stewardship and sustainable development.
The Canadian Sustainability Indicators Network (CSIN) seeks to advance best practices in measurement and sustainability indicator systems in Canada and beyond and, to play a key role in the progress toward global sustainabledevelopment. The goals of CSIN are:
Environment reporting and the use of indicators evolved in the 1970s, and began in earnest in the 1980s. Canada was one of the pioneering countries in this new field. Sustainability reporting, which seeks to show the interconnections among environmental, economic and social issues, evolved in the following decade, following the release of the 1987 Brundtland Report, Our Common Future. Although people around the world were doing environment and sustainability reports, there was no organization to help them connect and share information on an ongoing basis.
In 2001, a group of experts, including several Canadians, founded the International Sustainability Indicators Network (ISIN). In March 2003, the ISIN meeting in Toronto provided the springboard for the creation of a Canadian network. With the leadership and support of Environment Canada's National Indicators and Reporting Office, a gathering of interested people founded CSIN. The organization quickly took shape, operating with a volunteer steering committee and a coordinator provided by Environment Canada. In March 2005, CSIN coordination was migrated to the International Institute for Sustainable Development under the Measurement and Assessment program. A part-time coordinator position was created and the CSIN Website was transferred to the IISD server. The CSIN volunteer advisory committee continues to provide strategic direction to the network.
Sustainability reporting is practiced and indicators have been developed in Canada by a number of governments, corporations and non-government organizations, working from local to the international in scope. Despite some shining examples, sustainability reporting in Canada is still sporadic, and reporting approaches are not always consistent. This makes it difficult for people to get a clear picture of how we are doing in meeting sustainability needs and goals. To get more good indicators and reports, we need more people with the skills and knowledge in these fields.
CSIN offers indicator and reporting practitioners an organization focused on helping them to meet and share information and ideas. It is linking the growing number of sustainability reporters across Canada with each other and with colleagues and centers of expertise around the world. CSIN operates as a Community of Practice, an approach that emphasizes self-governance, self-selection and participation based on interest, capturing knowledge, and encouraging learning and innovation.
CSIN uses a combination of face-to-face meetings, online discussions and Internet-based Learning Events to help people meet each other and share expertise.
The CSIN Accord (PDF - 108 kb) provides more background on sustainability reporting and the approach to CSIN.
CSIN was created through the collaboration of three organizations:
CSIN has received financial and in-kind support from a number of organizations inclusive of: