Fundamental Principles

(adopted June 1996)

1. Green Action Centre believes that eliminating the unsustainable use of resources requires the adoption and implementation of a waste reduction priority which emphasizes the elimination of waste and advocates appropriate strategies that include: reduction at source, reuse, recycling and resource recovery – in that order.

2. Green Action Centre believes value and wealth exist, and can be created, outside the conventional economic system. Examples of this value and wealth are natural capital and social/organizational capital which must be incorporated into benefit-cost analysis. Decisions based on such models could constrain market-based activity in order to facilitate ecological sustainability and maintain our quality of life.

3. Green Action Centre believes all sectors of society have a shared responsibility to preserve and protect our environment such that the needs of present and future generations are met.

4. Green Action Centre believes that the sustainability of the natural environment requires an attitude of respect and a belief in its intrinsic value, coupled with the active conservation of life support systems, biodiversity and natural resources.

5. Green Action Centre is committed to maximizing opportunities for full participation in decision-making by all Manitobans in honest, open and accessible processes.

6. Green Action Centre is committed to human involvement in global ecological sustainability through education, awareness and action.

Applied Principles

1. Resource conservation replaces high resource consumption goods and service-producing technologies with low resource consumption technologies, to the greatest extent possible; replaces non-renewable energy technologies with renewable energy technologies, to the greatest extent possible; and uses appropriate scale technologies.

2. Polluter pays requires that whoever causes environmental degradation or resource depletion should bear the full cost. This is intended to encourage the internalization of environmental costs and reflect them in the prices of goods and services.

3. Precautionary principle acknowledges the high level of uncertainty about environmental impacts of proposed developments and calls for decision-makers to proceed with caution. The onus of proof is on the proponent to anticipate, prevent, and demonstrate the absence of significant environmental impact.

4. Strong sustainability principle requires society to hold the aggregate stock of natural capital constant, at a minimum, and likely requires us to increase the stock. Natural capital encompasses the entire life support system we enjoy on earth. This includes elements of species diversity, air and water quality, whole earth and ecosystems, and the waste assimilative capacity of the various global components.

5. Pollution prevention applies processes, practices, materials and energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and wastes.

6. Full cost accounting using lifecycle analysis assesses the full cost of a product, process or activity by developing models for benefit-cost analysis which incorporate the value of wealth created by non-market capital (natural or social/organizational) and adjust for its degradation and loss. This is done by measuring all inputs and impacts (in economic terms) at all stages from raw material extraction and production through distribution, consumption, discard, recycling and/or landfilling (cradle to grave).