Since 1986, when the World Commission on Environment and Development coined the term sustainable development its meaning and implications have been much discussed and debated as businesses, governments, and citizens have considered what it really means for them.  The Commission defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. 

Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems, the social challenges facing humanity, and the economy. From a practical point of view, it is a process by which humankind seeks to balance the often competing social, environmental, and economic needs of our planet in ways that contribute to a resilient and sustainable future.

The single word ‘sustainability’ has now come into common use in business, government, and at the grass roots of the community. Corporations and governments are developing ‘sustainability plans’.  In business, the ethic of corporate social responsibility (CSR), featured in the annual reports of many leading corporations, is resulting in companies looking for ways to partner with and support the community.

The path to a sustainable future will ultimately be driven by individual values and changes in behavior at the grass roots of the community, through action by individuals and through projects that demonstrate results that inspire others.  

The fact that changes to the world’s climate are having, and will continue to have, a growing impact on the way of life in Ottawa and around the world has resulted in the Ottawa Sustainability Fund placing a priority on projects that seek to reduce Ottawa’s carbon footprint while providing other benefits to our local environment and community.  

Families and individual citizens are asking how they can get involved and be part of the sustainability movement in Ottawa.  The Fund was established to provide an avenue for philanthropic seed funding of catalytic, community-based projects.

Please join us and make a commitment to the future by thinking globally and acting locally with a contribution to the Ottawa Sustainability Fund.


Paul Koch, Chair,