Across the globe, climate change has already affected the day-to-day lives of urbanites; for example, with flooding, heat waves, or food and resource scarcity. Beyond implementing adaptation and mitigation measures to improve the built environment’s resilience, advocates see cities as important drivers of climate action.
“Cities can be part of the climate solution, especially when they implement fairly bold climate policy,” suggests Eric St-Pierre, executive director of the Trottier Family Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation looking to create “meaningful impact by promoting science, education, health and the environment.”
There is a growing movement for increasing sustainability in urban settings, which is led by a group of 97 cities and mayors, called C40, with a strong commitment to confronting the climate crisis.
In Canada, “cities can play a key role in helping to meet emission targets, yet we need all levels of government to be involved as well as all institutional actors, from pension funds and insurance to investors,” says Mr. St-Pierre, who believes this work needs to be supported by “climate advocates and climate philanthropy.
“Only about 1 to 2 per cent of philanthropic dollars in Canada go towards addressing climate change, and of that, very little funding is allocated to working with cities that need assistance.”
The Trottier Family Foundation aims to address this gap. And since outcomes can be enhanced by leadership, collaboration and networks, the organization has forged relationships with strategic partners, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and C40 cities.
As some of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, reducing the carbon footprint of cities requires careful planning, says Mr. St-Pierre, who has earned a Clean50 award for his role in helping bring the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) initiative to life.
Partnering with the City of Montreal and Mayor Valérie Plante, the Trottier Family Foundation also helped to develop Montreal’s carbon-neutral climate action plan and to mobilize civil society through the Montreal Climate Partnership.
The city has made great strides towards the goal of reducing emissions by 55 per cent by 2030, says Mr. St-Pierre. “A recent $117-million funding commitment by the Quebec government in support of Montreal’s climate plan will help to create an additional 800 EV charging stations, decarbonize municipal buildings through energy efficiency, plant 94,000 trees, and more.”
Strong outcomes can serve to inspire other municipalities across the country, believes Mr. St-Pierre, and the Trottier Family Foundation is currently exploring new partnership opportunities.
“We are noticing a difference in on-the-ground action. We see efforts to decarbonize buildings; we see new local programs and regulations; we see more electric cars,” he says. “But there’s a lot more work to be done in Canada to accelerate climate and city philanthropy.”
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with Canada’s Clean50. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.