The carbon footprint of Canada's non-profits is likely small. Here's why leaders still need to take action.

Leaders must balance the need to carry out service delivery with limited resources and the imperative to reduce an organization’s footprint in a dangerously overheating world.

Why It Matters

Small as its carbon footprint may be, emissions from Canada’s social impact sector are still contributing to a hotter, drier, more hostile climate that ultimately harms the very populations it serves through charitable work.

The charitable sector likely isn’t among Canada’s biggest polluters — oil sands operators, automotive companies, logistics firms, petrochemical plants, and cryptocurrency mines. Is it still under the same obligation to take drastic climate action?

There is virtually no data to show just how much non-profits and charities contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through their operations, but the sector’s share of the pollution pie is likely small. Just over half of all of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in 2019 came from either the oil and gas or transportation sectors, according to data from Environment and Climate Change Canada. The other Canadian economic sectors account for between 7 and 12 percent of the country’s total GHG emissions.

That’s not to say the sector doesn’t have any impact on climate emissions. Most non-pro

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