Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI)

The following is a release from the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative (ACSI), a collaborative project designed to build capacity and momentum around sustainability in Atlantic Canada:
The development of ACSI was sparked by an international conference called “Rethinking Development” hosted in Antigonish, NS in June 2005 by Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Atlantic. Following this conference, GPI Atlantic worked in partnership with other interested organizations — The Natural Step Canada, SENSE (Sustainability Education in Nova Scotia for Everyone) and the Nova Scotia Environmental Network (NSEN) — to develop and implement a regional sustainability project that would capitalize on the interest seen at the Rethinking Development conference.
ACSI was officially launched in May 2007 and is now housed with and coordinated by the Centre for Rural Sustainability (CRS), based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Over the last year, ACSI and its Sustainability Partners (13 organizations who signed a project charter, making a formal commitment to taking action on sustainability in their organizations) have worked towards greater sustainability in Atlantic Canada using The Natural Step framework as a guide (for more information about The Natural Step, please see the resources section of the ACSI website). The 13 Sustainability Partners that signed charters pledging to act on sustainability and participated in ACSI from May 2007 – April 2008 are:
* Aliant
* Antigonish Sustainable Development
* Bathurst Sustainable Development
* Halifax Regional Municipality
* Halifax Shambhala Centre
* iNova Credit Union
* Jacques Whitford Ltd.
* Just Us! Coffee Roasters
* P’lovers, the Environmental Store
* City of Saint John
* Stewardship and Outreach Section, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
* Town of Stratford
* Town of Wolfville
In addition to the Sustainability Partners, there are many other organizations that were part of the ACSI network over the past year and have a shared interest in supporting this project and in making Atlantic Canada more sustainable. These organizations, called Network Partners, supported ACSI through resources and tools, contributing to the network, participating in events, and aiding in the overall success of ACSI. See the full list of Network Partners for more information.
In April 2008, ACSI celebrated the successful completion of its first year. The first sustainability project of its kind at a regional level, ACSI has built a strong and diverse network of organizations and communities involved in working towards creating sustainable communities and organizations. The over 40 ACSI partners and stakeholders have expressed a desire to see ACSI continue this momentum.
At the ACSI year-end Sustainability Summit hosted in April 2008, ACSI stakeholders supported the formation of a steering committee to coordinate the future direction of ACSI. The steering committee was tasked with developing a three-year strategic plan for the future role and direction of ACSI, in keeping with the aspirations of the partners and stakeholders that participated in the initiative between May 2007 and April 2008.
Strategic Priorities
The following are the four strategic priorities for the Atlantic Canada Sustainability Initiative for the upcoming three year period between September 2008 and September 2011:
1. Expand the ACSI network.
2. Build partner capacity and competence on sustainability.
3. Build momentum towards sustainability through collective action.
4. Evaluate and share the ACSI framework with others.

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