2012 Sustainable Communities Awards and Conference
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Feb 17, 2012

Last week Eclipse Awards travelled to our nation’s capitol in Ottawa to exhibit at the 2012 Sustainable Communities Conference.  The 3 day event organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) gathered representatives from 94% of the municipal governments from across Canada to focus on sharing best practices for building more resilient and sustainable communities.

It was a great opportunity to meet with city staff and political figures who are looking for creative and effective ways to develop stronger communities despite shrinking budgets. Many of the exhibitors there were offering improved equipment or infrastructure, others offered consulting skills and resources. We were the only ones discussing how recognition can build stronger communities.

Our goal was to introduce recognition as a way of communicating leadership and driving social change. Companies have known this for years - recognize and celebrate the things that you value to encourage more of the same and drive the organization forward. Municipalities have been slower to adopt this, however the principals remain the same when dealing with communities. In fact, thoughtful recognition programs can help municipalities accomplish any one of, or many of these things:

  • leverage its budget (when people feel appreciated, they naturally want to “do more”)
  • develop community champions
  • establish trust while increasing motivation and engagement
  • raise it’s profile to attract new resources and partnerships
  • communicate leadership, direction and strategic goals
  • generate positive success stories
  • accelerate social change
  • and celebrate leadership and excellence

We designed our exclusive series of eco-friendly, green awards to help organizations amplify the effectiveness of their recognition campaigns while also communicating their sustainability commitments.

The FCM understands the power of recognition and hosted their 2012 Sustainable Communities Awards on the first evening of the conference.  It was great to see communities from across Canada getting recognized for their amazing and ambitious green projects.  Not only do these awards raise awareness of these projects, but it also makes it easier for the champions of these projects to go back to their communities and access more resources and support.  *Special congratulations to the City of Vancouver on winning the Planning Award for their ground breaking Greenest City Action Plan - great job!

We met a lot of great people who really connected with the idea of using recognition to strengthen their communities and we look forward to sharing our experience and building relationships with them in the months and years ahead.  Recognition really is one of the best ways to accelerate social change and provide leadership. 

Do you have any examples of great recognition programs in your community?  Have you ever learned about something new or been inspired to do something because you saw it being recognized or celebrated?  If so, we’d love to hear your stories!



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