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Corporate Sustainability

At TransLink, we’re committed to fostering the development of a sustainable transportation system that aims to meet the needs of people, organizations, and businesses, and promotes the ecological, economic and social well-being of Metro Vancouver and beyond.

Our Sustainability Policy articulates TransLink’s commitment to making sustainability a key factor in all our strategies, plans, business practices, decisions, and operations.


Commitments

In 2018, TransLink’s Board of Directors and Mayors’ Council approved the adoption of two significant environmental sustainability targets:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 per cent by 2050

  • Utilize 100 per cent renewable energy in all operations by 2050

We’re also committed to a core set of sustainability actions as a platinum level signatory under the American Public Transportation Association.

Progress

We’ve set ambitious goals, but we’re well on our way:

  • Already, half of our bus fleet uses lower-carbon emission technologies, including electric trolley, hybrid diesel, and compressed natural gas buses.

  • Switching from diesel to hybrid buses reduces GHG emissions by 20 per cent and moving to compressed natural gas from diesel reduces GHG emissions by 10 per cent. We have signed a five-year contract with FortisBC to replace our natural gas with renewable natural gas. This will reduce our GHG emissions from our natural gas fleet by 80 per cent compared to diesel.

  • Our 2.5-year Battery-Electric Bus Pilot is part of a pan-Canadian partnership between TransLink, the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), the Government of Canada, and BC Hydro. Four battery-electric buses will reduce overall GHG emissions by almost 7,000 tonnes throughout their expected life.

  • TransLink has developed a Low Carbon Fleet Strategy which will chart our transition towards a zero-emission bus fleet over the next 30-years.

  • We have continually decreased our fleet Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) emissions per boarded passenger over the past five years. By retiring older diesel buses and replacing them with cleaner technologies in 2019, we reduced CAC emissions by 25 per cent.

  • Through our Carbon Offset Program, TransLink has gained over $3.5 million in revenue from carbon credits associated with using lower carbon intensity fuels, which is being invested in improving service for our customers.

  • We’re undertaking a SeaBus propulsion feasibility study to look at how an electric SeaBus could reduce GHG emissions by more than 85 per cent compared to a diesel SeaBus, and save over 500,000 litres of diesel fuel annually.

  • We’ve developed an enterprise-wide Facilities Renewable Energy Plan which includes an analysis of energy conservation at our facilities, opportunities to fuel switch from natural gas to electricity, and options for on-site renewable energy generation.

  • TransLink's head office is located in a LEED-certified building, meaning that it utilizes best-in-class building practices to minimize our environmental footprint, save money and resources, create a positive impact on the health of occupants, and promote renewable, clean energy.

  • BCRTC’s five-year environmental management plan and CMBC’s Environmental Management System guide informed decision-making and effective risk management.

  • We strive to create a culture of energy conservation. Our energy management programs monitor consumption and identify and maximize efficiency opportunities. These programs resulted in a 2 per cent decrease in overall energy consumption at our facilities in 2019 and over 5,600 tonnes of GHG emissions eliminated at CMBC over the past 10 years.

  • We continue to implement water treatment and conservation measures at our facilities, including state-of-the-art ultra-filtration treatment plants, bus wash water recycling systems, safe wastewater discharge systems, and 50 per cent reductions in bus washing in summer to align with the region’s water conservation efforts.

  • Our waste and recycling programs aim to reduce our consumption of natural resources, prevent pollution, and minimize landfill space. Initiatives include waste audits and collection and recycling of various wastes, such as operator bus seats.


Commitments

We’re accountable to the public for ensuring we remain financially viable and make economical use of our revenue sources. The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act (SCBCTA Act) requires TransLink to develop an investment plan that identifies planned transportation services, initiatives, and major capital investments for the next 10 years.

Progress

Through sustainable financial management, we create the stability needed for successful long-term planning:

  • TransLink demonstrates its responsibility and accountability as a public-sector organization by tracking progress in our measures, assessing and mitigating risk, and reporting performance.

  • We have a diversification of revenue sources to help us weather any changes to the economy and to give us the capacity to deliver stable and predictable transportation services.

  • To manage and mitigate financial risks, we have developed Financial Risk and Debt Management Policies. These are reviewed annually by TransLink’s Finance & Audit Committee to ensure alignment with changing market conditions, technology, evolving regulatory standards, and best practices.

  • With our name and stable credit ratings, TransLink is currently the only transportation agency in Canada to issue bonds directly through the Canadian debt capital markets as a way of raising financing. TransLink is the first transit agency in Canada to issue green bonds, which are used to finance the current expansion of our system. Green bonds give investors the opportunity to invest their money in green and low-carbon projects – for example, battery-electric buses.

  • TransLink developed a Green Bond Framework to set out the guidelines for the issuance of green bonds.

  • TransLink is currently implementing a fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system to better monitor and manage financial resources and physical assets.


Commitments

As a responsible member of the community, we’re committed to:

  • Working with our stakeholders and community partners to foster the livability, sustainability, and resilience of our region and provide leadership for developing and enhancing our transportation system.

  • Conducting transparent, inclusive, and respectful consultations with our stakeholders and the public to obtain meaningful input into TransLink activities.

  • Encouraging and recognizing the efforts of employees, subsidiaries, service contractors, and partners for their sustainability practices and innovations.

  • As an employer, we’ll provide a safe and healthy workplace and cultivate an equitable, diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment.

Progress

  • To address the transportation challenges of our region, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation developed a 10-Year Vision for the new transportation investments needed to keep our region moving over the next decade.

  • TransLink has worked diligently to develop a full, inclusive public consultation approach to its plans and projects, which is outlined in our Principles for Public Consultation and Engagement.

  • Our Supplier Code of Conduct strongly encourages suppliers to demonstrate sustainability, leadership, and innovation, while promoting best practices and continuous improvement throughout their operations.

  • As beacons for our community, our employees support many organizations throughout the year on a continuous or one-time basis.

  • We’re working on gathering data on our employees’ sentiments around equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work environment to get a better understanding of where we stand and what we can focus on in the future.

  • We provide all employees with Respectful Workplace Training and offer health and wellness programs and initiatives.


Outstanding Public Transportation System AchievementAPTA Sustainability Commitment Logo

We’re one of only five North American transit agencies recognized by the American Public Transportation Association for the strength of our sustainability commitments. Since 2015, we’ve been a platinum level signatory based on our commitment to a core set of actions on sustainability that include:

  • Making sustainability part of our strategic objectives

  • Fostering and resourcing “sustainability champions” within our organization

  • Engaging team members to work toward environmental goals

  • Including an ongoing sustainability inventory of our environmental impacts

  • Providing services that contribute to sustainability

To support the commitments, we’ve made under APTA, we apply principles of an Environmental Management System (EMS) across our organization. This EMS helps guide informed decision‐making, enabling us to provide cleaner, more sustainable transportation choices in the region.

Greenest Employer AwardCanada's Greenest Employer Logo

Our efforts were recognized on the list of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2018, 2019, and 2020. TransLink works hard to create a culture of environmental awareness in our organization and to minimize the environmental impact of our operations.


Accountability

Our annual Accountability Report combines information about our financial performance, people practices and sustainability, reflecting how we make decisions based on a number of factors. We also share our performance highlights through TransLink’s Accountability Centre.

We are always looking for feedback. Let us know what you think at sustainability@translink.ca.


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