By Julia Langer, CEO, and Sandra Odendahl, Chair of the TAF Board of Directors
As a learning organization, TAF regularly reviews its progress, learns from failures and successes, and considers how the outside world affects us. We recently undertook this process in order to update our strategic plan for the 2019-2022 period. Here are the highlights.
Moving solutions to scale faster
We will build on our success in incubating and demonstrating opportunities for carbon reduction by emphasizing actions and investments to commercialize large-scale deployment of proven low-carbon solutions.
Focusing to improve outcomes
Buildings and transportation are the largest carbon emissions sources in the GTHA, at 44% and 33% respectively. That’s why we will focus the majority of our effort and resources – programs, grants, investments, finance, advocacy and social innovation tools – to :
- Reduce the carbon intensity of existing large buildings, especially multi-unit residential buildings – through retrofits in particular
- Reduce the carbon intensity of new buildings to a ‘near-zero’ level of carbon emissions
- Accelerate the electrification of transportation
Partnering for impact
Our long-standing commitment to collaboration continues. We will capture, share, and leverage lessons and experience from all parts of the GTHA, support region-wide actions, and assess impact and opportunities using region-wide emissions information. And to broaden the relevance of climate issues to more people, we will identify and promote the benefits of our work beyond carbon reduction, to benefits such as health improvements, the creation of new jobs, a strengthening of urban resiliency and a fairer society.
Cities in the GTHA have set ambitious carbon emission reduction targets. For example, the City of Toronto through TransformTO has committed to reducing carbon 65% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. TAF will continue playing a key role in helping cities meet these goals. Our strategic plan includes a vision for what this achievement will look like in practical terms. For example, our vision is that by 2030:
- New large buildings in the GTHA are required by law to be near-zero emissions
- 40% of new passenger vehicles sold in the GTHA are electric
- There is public and political support as well as the necessary institutional readiness and market acceptance to allow high-impact climate solutions and actions to scale to their full carbon emissions reduction potential by 2050
- The public at large expects leaders to advance urban climate actions, not just because of environmental concerns but for the multiple benefits climate solutions can create to address community priorities
- Deep retrofits, ‘near zero’ new construction, and electrification of transportation in the GTHA are attracting the incremental $15-20 billion from public and private sector investors needed to achieve net financial savings and other benefits.
These may seem like lofty goals, but what grounds them is that without change at this level, we will not be doing our part to keep global emissions to the levels that will see us avoid the worst impacts for cities around the globe. And what elevates these goals is that if we design our climate strategies with co-benefits in mind, they will contribute to a better life for all in the GTHA.
TAF does almost nothing alone, and this was no exception. Over a five-month period, we worked with an ad hoc working group including Board, Committee and external members to consider key information including the new regional GHG inventory, our new theory of change, scans of the political landscape, the emerging co-benefits data, and perspectives from six key stakeholders. Through a facilitated process and various iterations we co-developed a plan best able to position TAF for impact. We thank everyone who helped shape our Strategic Directions, including our advisors, grantees, investees, and colleagues. Now, on to implementation!
Business Plan 2019, which was informed by the longer term Strategic Directions