Top 5 green building certifications for CSOs

Top 5 green building certifications for CSOs

Thinking of greening your building? Here are our top 5 certifications from our repository! 


Reaching the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires integrating environment and climate change considerations into our everyday operations. Particularly, green buildings and office retrofitcan provide an opportunity for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to move beyond social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Green buildings and offices contribute drastically towards achieving over half of the SDGs, making this an area of significant importance. Not only do green buildings and offices benefit the planet by improving health and well-being of workers, lowering emissions, and creating climate resilient infrastructure, they also enable property owners and employers to remain competitive in the labour market by increasing property value. Furthermore, while COVID-19 has forced organizations to work primarily from home, a unique opportunity arises for CSOs to become green building certified while less people occupy workplaces  


With retrofitting and green buildings in mind, we have highlighted 5 certifications that could meet your organizational needs! 



  1. Accessible for smaller budgets: BOMA BEST Sustainable Workplaces 


Effort Level: 2 out of 5 

The BOMA BEST Sustainable Workplaces Program promotes sustainability within an organization, while facilitating monitoring and reporting on environmental performance. This certification is obtained through a four-step process – develop policies, create goals and objectives, develop and implement programs, and lastly apply for certification. This is a great option for Cooperation Canada members with smaller budgets. 

Cost and timeline: Prices are based on the number of employees in your organizations and range from $500 to $1,900 CAD annually. Certification process typically takes 6 months. 

  • low annual cost 
  • ranking is recognized as roughly equivalent to most widely used certification (LEED) 
  • application can be completed online by a Facility Manager 
  • provide examples for organizations to take inspiration from for each development area 
  • bilingual 
  • requires organizations to develop goals and targets for programs internally, which could complicate matters for organizations that are seeking a more guided route 

2. Online self-assessment for tenants: Green Globes Canada – Sustainable Interiors 

Effort Level: 2 out of 5 

The Green Globes system is a green rating assessment, guidance and certification program that can be completed online through a questionnaire-based system. This approach is specifically designed for tenant improvement projects, fit-outs and remodels. Unlike other certifications, this system allows building owners and individual tenants of commercial and institutional spaces to improve their workspace through interior design. For Cooperation Canada members that do not own their buildings, this can be a great option.  

Cost and timeline: Prices are based on gross floor area and range from $8,000 to $20,000+ CAD over 100,000 ft2. The certification process typically takes between 4 to 6 months

  • flexibility to tailor project for organizations unique situations, as well as various pathways* 
  • lower cost associated with self-assessment  
  • reduced operating costs 
  • qualify for tax incentives and utility rebates 
  • attract and retain employees 
  • additional fees such as assessor travel fees and complexity fees (buildings requiring additional energy modelling review)  
  • website only accessible in English 

*see website for additional pathways for certification  

3. Professional Guidance: LEED – Commercial Interiors 

Effort Level: 3 out of 5 

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the most well-known and recognized rating certification system created primarily for the tenant improvement market. This system allows tenants and designers to make sustainable choices in situations where they may not have whole building operationsThis option is great for Cooperation Canada members who have larger budgets and want more guidance. 

Cost and timelinePrices are based on the gross floor area and range from $1,500 to $34,000 CAD. Certification typically takes between 2 to 4 months.  

  • most recognized certification system 
  • LEED professionals available to provide expert advice and guidance on your project 
  • governing organization is considerate of feedback to improve system 
  • bilingual 
  • costly 
  • not a flexible system that can be adapted to unique organizational needs 


4. Focusing on human wellness and health: WELL Building Standard 

Effort Level: 3 out of 5 

Unlike other green building certifications, the WELL Building Standard primarily focuses on the impact of the built environment on human health and well-being. This performance-based system measures, certifies and monitors building attributes that affect health, including air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mindThis option is ideal for CC members that want to focus on health of their employees by integrating wellness into their greening efforts.  

Cost and timeline: Prices are based on the gross floor area and start at $8,000 USD. recertification is required every 3 years to maintain certification statusCertification typically takes approximately 8 months.  

  • timeline generator and price calculator available 
  • 35% discount for non-profits and charitable organizations 
  • places focus on human health and wellness in relation to the built environment 
  • recertification ensures health and wellness standards are maintained continuously 
  • bilingual 
  • recertification every 3 years to maintain certification status at additional cost 


5. For the aspiring ambitious environmentalist: Living Building Challenge 

Effort level: 5 out of 5 

The goal of the Living Building Challenge is to move beyond “being better,” towards a regenerative built environment. Instead of a points-based system, this certification system evaluates buildings according to performances areas, which are further divided into Imperatives. Buildings must meet several required Imperatives to achieve certification. This certification is ideal for CC members that are constructing new buildings and want to commit to regenerative infrastructure.  

Cost and timeline: Prices are based on gross floor area and range from $4,900 to $20,000 USD for large buildings. Certification requires a minimum of 12 months in operation in order to evaluate actual building performance.  

  • ambitious goals that go beyond other certifications to be regenerative 
  • considers human health and equity when building 
  • additional pathways available – Zero Carbon Certification and Zero Energy Certification 
  • bilingual 
  • more challenging for retrofitting, as construction materials are considered in the performance areas 
  • content is very advanced, thus may be difficult to achieve 

Green buildings and retrofitting certifications have become increasingly accessible for all types of organizations, including CSOsOur sector could now benefit from such opportunities while doing their part in achieving the SDGs and more importantly in greening their workplaces, operations and programming. We hope the above list provides clarity for you and your organization for future green building certification endeavors  


See Cooperation Canada’s full repository of tools and resources! 

Digna, the Canadian Centre of Expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, has launched its website

Digna, the Canadian Centre of Expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, has launched its website

Digna, the Canadian Centre of Expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), aims to contribute to organizational culture change within the Canadian international cooperation community by making resources on PSEA more accessible to organizations and their partners.

The website,, launched today and features these resources and more:

  • How Digna can support you and your organization
  • Global Affairs Canada PSEA requirements
  • Learning from others in the sector
    • Examples of Organizational Policies that address PSEA from Canadian CSOs
    • Examples of Codes of conduct that explicitly prohibit sexual exploitation and abuse,
    • Available training
  • Other Digna resources
    • Toolkits
    • Accompanying Survivors
    • Reducing the Risk of SEA during crisis

Learn how Digna can support your organization at

Cooperation Canada hosts Digna, the Canadian Centre of expertise on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA).

CCIC commends the government’s commitment to invest more in international development and the Global Response to COVID

CCIC commends the government’s commitment to invest more in international development and the Global Response to COVID

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) is pleased to hear the government’s Throne Speech today speak to the need to “invest more in international development while supporting developing countries on their economic recoveries and resilience. Canada will also support work to ensure that people around the world have access to a vaccine.”  

We agree that we cannot eliminate the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada unless we end it everywhere; and we applaud the government’s stated ambitions to lead a global response to COVID-19 in which increased investments in international assistance ensure that no one is left behind. 

COVID-19 has highlighted the inequalities that exist at home, and around the world. These disparities have the potential to be catastrophic in low and middle income countries where food systems may be less secure and are already impacted by climate change; where children may need to support their families and, as such, may never return to school; and where social safety nets and health care systems are no match to ours. It is estimated that around the world COVID-19 will push 71 million people into extreme povertyand265 million into acute food insecurityand result in 117 million missed child vaccinationsand31 million additional cases of gender-based violence. 

Today the Canadian government has committed to standing up for Canadian values, at a time when the world needs it more than ever. We look forward to investments to follow today’s commitment to build back better and leave no one behind,” CCIC’s CEO Nicolas Moyer states.   

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) encourages Canada to fulfill the intentions laid out in today’s Speech from the Throne by committing at least 1% of its total COVID response – or $2 billion in new and additional funds – to a global response that tackles the spread of the virus and its secondary impacts in the poorest countries.  These investments are not only urgently needed and the right thing to do but they are also the path to global and Canadian recovery. The only way out of this global crisis is through multilateralism, international cooperation, mutual support and solidarity.    


Media Contact:
Kat Guerin, Communications Manager
[email protected] 
Cell phone: 613-222-3009

Canada’s global response to COVID-19: Investing in Aid

Canada’s global response to COVID-19: Investing in Aid

In March 2020, the Minister for International Development, Karina Gould, announced what she referred to as the first phase of Canada’s support to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. The $159.5 million was largely allocated to multilateral institutions and included funds for vaccine development and for responding to requests from Canada’s development partner countries. On June 27, the government announced another $300 million allocated to global COVID-19 response. These funds come from existing unallocated pool(s) within Canada’s overall aid envelope.  

While Canada has sent positive signals regarding its pandemic support, there will be a need for all countries, including Canada, to step up their aid contributions. On one hand, Canada has committed to “staying the course” with respect to existing development priorities, offering partners flexibility to adapt programs to some extent, recognizing that long term development priorities remain critical even as the world adjusts to the COVID-19 reality. At the same time, Canadian aid and other financial flows were already insufficient to meet global ambitions to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The United Nations Inter-Agency Task force on Financing for Sustainable Development’s 2020 annual report noted a number of very concerning trends affecting financing for global development. These included backsliding on aid spending in 2018 (though marginal increases were seen in 2019 in real terms), growing financial risks, high debt risk in developing countries even prior to the pandemic, increasing trade restrictions and the detrimental impacts of environmental shocks with losses from weatherrelated events between 2014 and 2018 increasing by 30% over the previous five years. Analysis of recent aid spending suggests that we will likely see a significant drop in overall levels by 2021 as governments shift resources toward domestic spending to respond to COVID-19.  

While already strained funds are shrinking, the needs are growing. Many countries were already facing sustainable development crises in other forms before the pandemic. These crises have been exacerbated and are expected to continue to worsen as a result of COVID-19 and the secondary impacts of the virusIn Africa, these included locusts, droughts and foreign exchange losses. The situation for countries already facing food shortages will only deteriorate as measures to contain the pandemic unfold, including lockdowns and border closures. All over the world, COVID-19 will disproportionately affect women and girls by putting them more at risk of experiencing gender-based violencechild marriage, reduced access to SRHR services, loss of schooling, among other threats. In many countries, government pandemic response interventions including lockdowns and border closures, risk prompting a regression to isolationismpopulism, and authoritarianismcreating environments ripe for repressive measures including human rights violations, closing civic space and the spread of disinformation. Many of these concerns were also raised in the recent report titled “A Global Crisis Requires a Global Response” by Hon Bob Rae, Special Envoy of Prime Minister on Humanitarian and Refugee Issues.  

This reality raises at least three issues for the Government of Canada to consider in providing additional funding to a global COVID-19 response.  


Existing resources are not going to be enough 

As the world grapples with multiple crises from COVID-19, climate change and economic fallout, there is a real risk that existing resources will simply not be enough in the face of significant needs. African Ministers of Finance suggest that an additional $100 billion will be needed to weather the health crisis and its related economic impacts across the continent. Indeed, the short-term response to COVID-19 must be balanced with ongoing attention to existing crises. 

To date, the funds committed are far from the $100 billion benchmark set by African Ministers of Finance. The European Union announced a 15 billion Euro package to support the COVID-19 response in early April – with no new money and funding re-oriented from existing programs and funds, followed by another 6.15 billion Euros in commitments during The Global Goal: Unite for our Future’ Summit. The Joint Statement by the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation’s Development Assistance Committee makes no mention of mounting a globally ambitious COVID-19 response matched by equally ambitious resources.   Relative to the scale of the needs, these commitments are modest at best, and do not match the ambition needed to safeguard past development gains and avert the potential catastrophic global implications of COVID-19 

As citizens in high-income countries grapple with job lossescontainment, and concerns over ever rising public debt, governments face a political reality in which allocating new and additional funding to supporting global efforts is unlikely to garner popular supportYet, the reality is without concerted global effort, Canada and the world will see further waves of COVID-19 outbreaks. As the Government of Canada considers its next phase of its support to the pandemic, there is an urgent and pressing need for Canada to respond to the immediate and secondary impacts of COVID with new and additional funds. This investment would need to be paired with a plan to increase overall spending on Official Development Assistance  Already stretched resources can only be stretched so far, without an injection of the necessary funds that will contribute to a safer, healthier world and as such a safer, healthier Canada.    


We cannot work in silos to solve this 

The international development community has a long history of pre-occupation with the need to integrate humanitarian responses with development programming, what the sector has termed “the nexus” or new ways of workingThe COVID-19 pandemic further reminds us of the importance of aligning and coordinating humanitarian, peace and development programming for a cohesive response, especially in the context of complex and protracted crises. The Government of Canada should ensure partner organizations have the ability to flexibly use development and humanitarian funds in their responses to address urgent and emerging community and individual needs. This will accelerate impact and improve organizations’ ability to reach the most vulnerable people by avoiding the administrative burden of project-by-project adjustments. 


The crisis won’t be over when the pandemic is contained  

Estimates show a growth in the amount of people living in extreme poverty globally as a result of the pandemic. While exact figures will depend on how much the global economy contracts, a modest five percent scenario puts more than 80 million people below the US$1.9/day poverty line relative to 2018 according to a recent research paper. Scenarios for a contraction at 10 percent put the global headcount at 180 million. These figures do not include the many people who will become “new poor” with incomes falling below US$3.20 and US$5.50 per day. Even once the virus has been contained, the crisis will not be over.  

Signals from Canada’s Minister for International Development, including during a Town Hall she hosted with the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and other partners in early April, indicate that Canada will “stay the course” in terms of existing programs. While partners have been encouraged to adapt their programs according to the current context, the government of Canada is keeping an eye on longterm sustainable development priorities, including as part of COVID-19 recovery.  This will be critical in the months ahead. 

Shannon Kindornay is the Director of Research, Policy and Practice at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation 

Erika Richter is the ODA Campaign Coordinator at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation 




CCIC applauds federal investment of $300 million to support a global response to COVID-19

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) applauds today’s federal government announcement of an allocation of $300 million in funding to support the much-needed global response to the COVID-19 crisis. Today’s announcement includes $120 million to support the development of and access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatment for COVID-19 including $100 M to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator* and $20 million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), as well as $18million for humanitarian response. These contributions are a welcome next step in support of a global response to the COVID pandemic following a previous investment of $159.9 million made on April 5 

As cases across the continent of Latin America and the Caribbean have exceeded two million and cases in Africa are now passing 200,000, there is an urgent need to address the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure that Canada takes a lead in stopping the spread of the pandemic as well as its secondary impacts everywhere; not just at homeCanada’s announcement today is an important first step in that.   

“There is a pressing need to invest in stopping COVID-19 everywhere through an equitable global response,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of CCIC. “The needs in low- and middle-income countries are complex and extend beyond global health measures to food security, access to education, sexual health, reproductive rights and beyond. Canada’s commitment today is an essential step in ensuring that we leave no one behind.”  

As Canada continues to invest in responding to the pandemic at home, we must also support our partners around the world in their response.  With this new funding, Canada’s contribution to the global COVID response represents less than 0.25% of the federal government’s domestic response spending. We know that to slow the spread of the pandemic Canada’s contributions must extend beyond our bordersCCIC looks forward to continued and additional investments and engagement on the part of the government in contributing to the world’s global COVID-19 response.  

CCIC member organizations are active around the globe aiding communities at risk in this pandemic. CCIC and its members look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to support global efforts to address and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. 

*The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.   


Media Contact:
Kat Guerin, Communications Manager
[email protected] 
Cell phone: 613-222-3009