Environment Pacts Driving Real Change in Canada

Climate change is an urgent crisis that requires unprecedented cooperation to address effectively. In recent years, multi-group environmental agreements, energy transition and environment pacts have emerged as promising ways to make the systematic changes needed to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate impacts. By bringing different actors together behind shared goals, these partnerships are pushing ambitious climate action and sparking creative solutions.

The Power of Working Together

The Transition Pact or The Pact and other environmental agreements bring businesses, government agencies, non-profits, academics, activists and ordinary people together around a joint vision for enabling the energy transition away from fossil fuels. Some agreements zero in on specific industries or regions. Others rally broad segments of society to push for an economy-wide transition.

Though these climate partnerships vary, they share defining features that drive impact:


Ambitious Target-Setting: Agreements establish concrete targets for emissions reductions, renewable energy adoption, eliminating waste, or other sustainability measures over 5-10-year periods. Quantitative targets create urgency and responsibility for the energy transition.


Coordination and Sharing Knowledge: Participants include industry leaders, regulators, researchers, innovators and doers. Tapping diverse know-how speeds up learning and surfaces creative solutions to enable the shift to renewable energy.


Expanded Responsibility Through Transparency: Public progress reports hold parties responsible and create reputation incentives to meet commitments for the energy transition.

The compounding benefits of working together make environmental agreements a compelling new tool for wide-scale climate progress and an equitable shift to renewable energy. Learn more about tools to calculate and reduce your eco impact to be part of this change.

Canada Plastics Pact

Launched in 2018, the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) rallies over 90 top businesses, government agencies, and NGOs to advance a circular plastics economy. Its vision? Stop plastic waste by transforming how we design, use, and reuse plastics.

Canada Plastic Pact

Today in Canada, 86% of plastic goes unrecycled. Through joint efforts like awareness campaigns, improved recycling standards, and pioneering new materials, Pact partners aim to:

  • Eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025
  • Make all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
  • Recycle or compost 50% of all plastic packaging by 2025

Multi-stakeholder teams drive progress by tackling barriers no single institution could address alone. And yearly reporting tracks their collective impact toward goals.

Early wins include major retailers phasing out hard-to-recycle plastics, plus government funding for ground-breaking solutions. The Pact shows the potential for teamwork to drive tangible progress even within deeply entrenched “take-make-waste” systems.

The Pact for the Transition

The Pact for the Transition, also known as the Environment Pact, is a grassroots environmental movement launched in Quebec in November 2018, spearheaded by prominent filmmaker and activist Dominic Champagne.

Mobilizing a broad coalition of public figures from diverse spheres, The Pact called on regular citizens to combine individual lifestyle changes with collective political pressure, urging bolder climate action from provincial lawmakers.

Key Details

Over 280,880 Quebec residents have signed the pledge, thus participating in the Signature Pact. By signing, citizens make tangible 2-year commitments to shrink personal environmental footprints, including:

  • Reducing oil consumption and transportation emissions
  • Minimizing plastic waste
  • Improving home energy efficiency
  • Divesting from the fossil fuel industry

In parallel, signatories of the Energy Transition Pact demand provincial legislators uphold existing pledges to address climate change through binding legislation and policy alignment.

Signing The Pact

The Pact website provided a simple interface for individuals to join the over 280,000 Quebec residents publicly standing up for bolder climate action.

Upon entering their name, email address, and postal code, new signatories of the Transition Pact could review and agree to specific personal commitments around minimizing fossil fuel usage, plastic waste, transport emissions and improving home energy efficiency.

The sign-up process crucially connected individual lifestyle changes with the broader policy changes urged by government leaders.

After signing on to do their small part in the Energy Transition Pact, the website also offered visitors options to share The Pact to mobilize others to swell this grassroots movement. Harnessing digital media allowed each new supporter to become an ambassador for the cause.

While past progress demonstrated the strengths of this civic activation strategy, growing public engagement behind climate justice remains vital.

Outcomes & Impact

The swelling grassroots momentum catalyzed by The Pact has directly inspired concrete climate progress.

In 2018, the movement proposed ambitious legislation to legally require all government decisions to be checked to ensure compatibility with emissions reduction targets. These proposed climate laws recommended concrete steps Quebec should take to cut emissions. These recommendations pushed Quebec’s government to recently strengthen its own Climate Change Act with bolder actions.

The Pact also released an expansive “101 Ideas for Recovery” document in 2019 outlining over 100 specific solutions across nine economic sectors to spur a green, equitable recovery from the pandemic. The proposals sketch detailed transformations across energy, transport, construction, industry, agriculture, land use planning, waste management, healthcare and education needed to accelerate Quebec’s transition toward a zero-emissions circular economy while creating new sustainable jobs. This comprehensive green recovery roadmap helped shift conversations around viewing climate action as an opportunity for healthy, inclusive economic renewal rather than a burden.

Beyond concrete political wins, The Pact forged connections between individual lifestyle shifts and systems-level change. It activated citizens while spotlighting how governments must shoulder climate duties.

Multi-Stakeholder Approach

The Pact’s launch signatories read like a “who’s who” of Quebec household names, underscoring that climate action requires society-wide effort.

Initial supporters spanned beloved actors and musicians, prominent scientists, business leaders, political figures, activists and artists.

This outright rejection of climate apathy from within Quebec’s cultural soul sparked a chain reaction engaging regular citizens. Once over 75,000 residents signed on, the scale of support achieved became its own political counterweight.

Lasting Influence

Five years later, The Pact continues exerting influence. Its success in overhauling stagnant political conversations helped spark similar “Pactes” that are now active from coast to coast.

This demonstrates the power of grassroots momentum to precipitate policy wins while providing a civic mobilization blueprint exportable across contexts.

Most critically, The Pact forged climate justice as a mainstream Quebec value rather than a fringe concern in an enduring cultural legacy still unfolding.

British Columbia’s CleanBC

While the prior cases target narrow issues, British Columbia’s CleanBC initiative models comprehensive, society-wide climate action.

The flagship policy of Premier John Horgan’s NDP government, CleanBC, aims to cut provincial emissions by 40% by 2030 through widespread regulations, incentives, and investments to speed up the reduction of carbon.


Deploying environmental agreements as official government action plans represents their full potential. CleanBC also rightly casts climate progress as an all-hands-on-deck effort requiring broad participation.

Major focus areas driving emissions cuts and resilience include:

  • Clean Energy Transition: Incentives for EVs, home heat pumps, solar panels, etc., to expand access to affordable low-carbon options.
  • Investing in Sustainable Industries: Prioritizing growing sectors like mass timber to spark innovation while creating green jobs.
  • Climate Infrastructure and Resilience: Incorporating climate considerations into infrastructure upgrades while helping communities prepare.

Though government-led, success depends on public-private teamwork across initiatives.

People Partnering Up for Progress

To meet urgent global emissions targets, we need unprecedented cooperation. Environmental agreements offer immense potential to unite purpose, ensure accountability, and drive breakthroughs for swift economy-wide reductions.

The models above show these partnerships’ power – whether transforming key industries, channelling public momentum or coordinating sweeping government action.

As historic challenges demand historical cooperation, growing ambitious multi-group climate initiatives offer hope amid the crisis. Going alone, piecemeal efforts will fall short, but together, on shared missions, we can build another world.