In 2020, staff at the City of Charlottetown realized that sustainable procurement was not included in their roster of climate and environment-related initiatives. They joined the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Procurement (CCSP) to gain valuable peer support and knowledge. They invited the neighbouring Town of Stratford (with which they often collaborate) to join them on this journey.  

Project goals  

Stratford and Charlottetown aimed to create an action plan to integrate sustainable procurement practices into their daily operations, including a five-year road map.  


After receiving GMF funding, the team issued an RFP and hired a consultant to develop their sustainable procurement action plans. They pooled resources where possible while still creating a separate plan for each municipality. The consultant performed the tasks outlined below: 

  • Reviewed best practices across Canada,  
  • Conducted extensive consultation with internal stakeholders,  
  • Consultation with vendors, and;  
  • Performed a high-level spend analysis.  


One key goal was to consult with vendors on sustainable procurement, but securing their engagement proved challenging, partly due to a major storm event. The municipalities plan to engage vendors in the future.  


The consultant delivered a five-year sustainable procurement action plan for each municipality, along with a tool kit and staff training. They presented the final documents to each council for information sharing and approval. The action plan includes a detailed road map and key performance indicators to help Charlottetown and Stratford measure progress.  

They also identified several procurement opportunities with a high potential for quick positive impact, including:  

  • Reducing fleet greenhouse gas emissions,  
  • Mitigating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products,  
  • Reducing single-use packaging, and;  
  • Saving energy via LED lighting.  


Sustainable procurement practices offer overall financial savings by shifting to a total cost of ownership approach rather than choosing initially cheaper products and services with higher long-term costs. The implementation of the plan will also provide social and ethical benefits, supporting social enterprises and local and Indigenous businesses, while promoting environmental sustainability.  

Lessons learned  

The team found their CCSP membership and resources invaluable in defining the project scope and first steps. Hiring a consultant with relevant expertise proved highly beneficial in bridging knowledge gaps within the municipalities. The initial budget turned out to be insufficient due to lengthy timelines, requiring the team to secure additional funding and slightly reduce scope. In hindsight, they would allocate extra money to the budget.   

Next steps  

Both Charlottetown and Stratford councils approved their action plans and staff are progressing on implementation. Charlottetown is training finance department staff on sustainable procurement practices and has added sustainability-related clauses to its RFP and RFQ templates. This will lead to successes such as procuring new transit vehicles and hiring consultants for the region’s transit strategy. Due to including sustainability-related questions in the procurement process, they hired vendors with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability. 

Want to explore all GMF-funded projects? Check out the Projects Database for a complete overview of funded projects and get inspired by municipalities of all sizes, across Canada. 

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