Phase 2 – Engage
Objectives: Efforts in Phase 1 will ideally result in support for an LCR approach from senior leaders and staff, and spur interest and participation in a Climate Action Team. At this stage, it is important to engage with key community groups and stakeholders who are working in climate-related areas. Work with the communications team to develop consistent and targeted LCR language for staff and community audiences. This will help to catalyze broad-ranging support for the LCR action plan.
Step 2.1: Consult Key Staff and Community Stakeholders (page 41 of the LCR Handbook)
- Building relationships with key staff and stakeholders early on is a critical step for advancing climate literacy, developing LCR understanding, and building cross-departmental organizational support. Reach out to key staff across different departments to discuss their specific work and mandates. Clarify how climate change data can help advance more proactive and effective decisions, whether in engineering, planning or finance. Really listen to staff and incorporate their concerns and feedback. For a suggested list of key stakeholders to engage with, see pages 42-43 of the LCR Handbook.
- LCR Tip: Emphasizing the co-benefits of actions that reduce climate risk and emissions, such as advancing livability, health, biodiversity, investment planning and cost savings, is an effective way to communicate climate action. Share examples of successes from other regions or communities to illustrate what LCR looks like in practice (see the forthcoming LCR Case Studies Snapshot) and share examples of different LCR interventions to build understanding and spark inspiration (see the LCR Interventions Report). Tailor language and resources to different groups.
- Keep the Momentum: Use these initial consultations, with attention to contextual factors, to build LCR communications that are tailored to the local municipal and community context.
LCR co-benefits are the beneficial social, cultural, economic, and/or environmental effects of a policy or action that aims to reduce climate change risks and greenhouse gas emissions. Effective climate action advances sustainable community priorities. Emphasize these co-benefits to connect and engage different departments with climate action.
2.1 Step Check
Key staff and community stakeholders have been identified, briefed on the LCR approach, and are prepared to participate.
Step 2.2: Craft LCR Communications (page 46)
- Consistently communicating the benefits of an LCR approach is important throughout the LCR process. Targeted and consistent messaging to different stakeholder groups on why climate action matters helps to build the climate constituency both within the city and among residents. Developing an LCR communications plan for key messaging throughout the LCR planning process is ideal.
- LCR Tip: Use plain language as much as possible to clarify the LCR approach and explain the benefits. It is not as important to use the term low carbon resilience, as it is to use language that is familiar and clear. Defer to language already in use in the city.
- Keep the Momentum: Explore and explain the ways that an LCR approach can piggyback on diverse areas of corporate work. For instance, identify windows of opportunity. In the City of Prince George, increasingly unpredictable freeze-thaw cycles are resulting in more costly road maintenance; Prince George’s LCR Champion used this data to show how projected weather is expected to worsen and will lead to increasingly costly maintenance fees. Another option is to build on work that is already being done. In the District of Summerland, the LCR Champion requested that LCR be integrated into the district’s business prioritization criteria. Now, all decisions and projects over $10,000 are screened with LCR criteria. Finally, highlight how embedding LCR streamlines limited resources and capacity, making investment decisions go further. In the City of Port Moody, two disparate climate planning processes were rolled into one LCR process, reducing expenses and time by half, and enrolling staff from across departments to build widespread support for LCR in budgeting and decision making. For more information on LCR in corporate strategy, see Action Pathway 2.
2.2 Step Check
An LCR communications plan has been developed and adopted.
Step 2.3: Form a Cross-Departmental Climate Action Team (page 48)
- The Climate Action Team is an integral part of the LCR process. Ideally it is comprised of both senior and relevant managing and operational staff from planning, engineering, finance, sustainability, community services, parks, and emergency response, and other key city departments. The Climate Action Team will be responsible for participating in 4-6 planning workshops throughout the LCR process. This will require written support for participation from the city manager; some communities have found that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) can be helpful to ensure consistent participation. For a complete list of organizational departments to include in the Climate Action Team refer to page 48 of the LCR Handbook.
- LCR Tip: If participation is waning, try contacting individuals by phone, rather than email to determine the rationale for their absence.
- Keep the Momentum: Work with the city manager or a senior leader to create an invitational email welcoming select staff and stakeholders to participate in the Climate Action Team. This kick-off email should emphasize the value of LCR, provide an overview of participant expectations and underscore the importance of consistent participation and cross-departmental contribution. Draft an MOU if necessary. For a sample invitational email, see Appendix 3 in the LCR Handbook.
Emphasize the Benefits of an LCR Approach
In addition to identifying adaptation and mitigation synergies, clarify that an integrated climate action planning approach can advance many co-benefits within existing work mandates, such as cost savings over time, and progress towards population and ecosystem health goals. Discuss the efficiencies and synergies gained from LCR planning, especially emphasizing the strategic co-benefits of climate action. Wherever possible, foreshadow linkages to other city plans and commitments and key performance indicators. The image above is an example from the City of Port Moody’s Implementation Plan, showcasing the LCR action, the co-benefits, and linkages to the city’s climate targets and other city plans.
2.3 Step Check
A cross-departmental Climate Action Team with members of departments throughout the organization has been initiated.
Step 2.4: Design and Host Workshop 1: LCR Kick-Off and Framing (page 50)
- Workshop 1 is the first formal gathering of the Climate Action Team. This workshop sets the baseline and showcases the need for integrated planning and systemic solutions-building. The primary goal of this workshop is to develop climate change literacy about regional climate projections, potential climate risks and the important role of adaptation and mitigation to minimize the overall impacts of climate change. Develop activities that encourage participants to explore systemic solutions and to better understand the co-benefits of climate action is the goal (see Appendix 4 in the LCR Handbook).
- LCR Tip: Use the Taking Stock spreadsheet developed in Phase 1 to help participants understand the climate-related work the community has undertaken to date. Use this as a basis for group work to stimulate thinking about cross-departmental approaches to address risk, emissions, and advance co-benefits.
- Use Workshop 1 to achieve the following outcomes:
- Develop climate change literacy.
- Emphasize the benefits of an LCR approach.
- Summarize existing climate-related work, and explore existing synergies in work and mandates.
- Brainstorm initial LCR opportunities to develop an ‘integrative mindset’ among the Climate Action Team (see ICABCCI Case Example 5 below).
- For the full details on Workshop 1, please see page 50 in the LCR Handbook.
2.4 Step Check
Host Workshop 1. A list of initial LCR opportunities has been compiled to generate an integrative mindset and identify opportunities for synergies.
- LCR Communications and Implementation: Lessons from ICABCCI Partner Communities
- Climate Change, Equity, and COVID-19: Considerations in a Changing World
- Advancing LCR Planning to Implementation Pathways in Local Government
- LCR: A Briefing Notes for Mayors and Elected Officials
- ICABCCI Partner Community Profiles: Climate Action and Key LCR Opportunities
- LCR Opportunities in Local Governments: Survey Results
- LCR Interventions: Case Studies at the Building, Neighbourhood, and Community Level
- LCR Business Case (forthcoming)
Cultivating an ‘Integrative Mindset’ in the City of Port Moody
After hosting Port Moody’s inaugural LCR workshop, the LCR Champion noticed a subtle shift away from siloed thinking amongst colleagues. The champion gave participants space to think systemically about the community impacts of climate change and to explore diverse responses using low carbon resilience strategies, fostering an integrative mindset. For example, participants discussed the LCR advantage of green or “soft” foreshore protection, questioned the emissions implications of backup generators, considered the energy security of renewables, and wondered about how to account for climate impacts and responses on the city’s unhoused population.
The champion also noticed how critical relationships were formed, and where cross-departmental exchanges were occurring more frequently outside of the formal workshop process. The champion and consulting team reinforced LCR learning and capacity through activities in each workshop and included exercises to encourage staff to broaden their thinking and consider alternatives that may not have been considered otherwise.
One outcome of consistent workshop participation is that it generated LCR momentum. For instance, staff responsible for asset management are currently collaborating with ecosystem, parks, and engineering staff to better understand the potential of natural assets and ecosystem services to minimize flood risk, avoid emissions from expanded infrastructure, and protect green space and biodiversity. The LCR planning process developed the space for an integrative mindset, cross-departmental exchange, which, in turn, developed capacity for LCR exploration, collaborative opportunities, budget-sharing and overall momentum on the climate file among staff from across the organization. It all started with framing the LCR objectives.