Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI)
Smart Prosperity Institute
$80,000 (over 18 months)
Date Approved: June 20, 2016
Supported by the Greenbelt Foundation, The Smart Prosperity Institute successfully piloted a natural capital accounting project in two Greenbelt municipalities with the goal of 'mainstreaming' decisions to protect and invest in more natural capital initiatives. By monetizing natural assets, a case for environmental preservation can easily be applied by governments and businesses. As few Canadian municipalities have the ability to quantify their natural assets financially, this project took the necessary next step to help municipalities bring natural assets into decision-making conversations and thus present natural infrastructure as a viable alternative to other grey options.
Smart Prosperity Institute's Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) project, successfully 'mainstreamed' decisions to protect and invest in natural capital.
The first project participant, the Region of Peel, focused on the role of eco-assets in providing water-purification, water supply, and protection from floods. The second participant, the Town of Oakville, focused on improving stormwater conveyance systems. The project supported the municipalities by providing training and tools, helping identify barriers, and providing additional research. As a result, the pilots allowed for greater knowledge, as well as improved tools for measuring and managing municipal natural capital, catching the attention of many organizations and governments. The Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) have already started work on MNAI programs and/or discussions. Remarkably, the Smart Prosperity Institute has secured $1.46 million in additional funding to work with 19 more municipalities (including eight in Ontario), which have expressed formal interest in the project.
The Credit Valley Conservation Authority of Peel Region has extended their municipal natural asset pilot work to include the entire watershed. They will continue using the MNAI methodology and be the first municipality ‘mainstreaming’ the MNAI tools and approach. The pilot projects in both Peel Region and Oakville have successfully highlighted the importance and economic advantages of natural assets, in terms of creating more resilient communities.
Photo: Tom Stephens