The first chapter in Whistler’s use of the Natural Step began in 2000 with our adoption of the TNS framework, which was then embedded into the community’s highest level policy, Whistler2020, in 2005. Whistler2020 is the first integrated community sustainability plan (ICSP) in North America to use the TNS framework at all levels of development and implementation.

Whistler chose to articulate the system conditions as sustainability objectives so community members could envision the community’s desired future and then plan step-by-step actions to get there. Colloquial language is included alongside the objectives when presenting the framework especially for the benefit of new audiences. Below is how they are most often presented.

Whistler’s sustainability objectives are to reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to:

1. Ongoing build-up of substances taken from the earth’s crust (Or, use less or different stuff!)
2. Ongoing build-up of substances produced by society (Or, make less or different stuff!)
3. Ongoing degradation of natural systems by physical means (Or, reduce our impact on life-sustaining ecosystems.)
4. Undermining the ability of people to meet their human needs (Or, meet human needs fairly & efficiently.)

These sustainability objectives, along with Whistler’s vision and values, were used to develop the Whistler2020 descriptions of success (DOS) a set of descriptive visionary statements for each of the seventeen Whistler2020 strategy areas. These DOS statements translate or interpret Whistler’s ultimate vision of overall success and sustainability (defined by our sustainability objectives) in order to guide strategy-level outcomes to help inform community decision-making and action planning. Below are two examples of how the sustainability objectives were embedded within the DOS for the Built Environment and the Energy strategy areas respectively.

* The new and renovated built environment has transitioned towards sustainable management of energy and materials
* The energy system is continuously moving towards a state whereby a buildup of emissions and waste into air, land and water is eliminated

Whistler2020′s DOS statements are now being used to guide Whistler’s OCP update, thus beginning the next chapter in Whistler’s integrated use of the Natural Step framework.

The Whistler Centre stewards Whistler2020 and the OCP Update public engagement strategy on behalf of the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Contact us for more information or visit

By Shannon Gordon