March 2001

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CCPE Updates
National Environment Guideline

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers has approved a new national guideline to promote greater consideration of the environment and sustainable issues in the practice of engineering. Developed by the Environment Committee of CCPE's Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board, the Practice Guideline on the Environment and Sustainability for all Professional Engineers sets out the core principles of environmentally friendly engineering.

It also sets out the environmental responsibilities of engineers, and defines the terms sustainability and sustainable development, says a CCPE news release.

"CCPE developed the new national guideline in conjunction with our 12 members, the associations/ordre responsible for regulating the profession of engineering in Canada. We encourage them to make engineers across Canada aware of the guideline, and to incorporate its principles into their own provincial/territorial guidelines," said Marie Lemay, ing., CCPE's chief executive officer.

"The new guideline is intended to promote the same core principles as CCPE's national Code of Ethics, which calls on engineers to hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and the protection of the environment. Following the principles contained in the guideline is in the best interests of the public, the environment, engineers across Canada, and the engineering profession."

CCPE's new guideline, which updates and replaces its 1995 guideline, the Environmental Practice of Professional Engineering, is based on four primary tenets:

* Education, awareness and competence - all engineers must ensure that they are suitably equipped to practice in an environmentally responsible manner;

Integration and protection of the environment in engineering work - all engineering work must include an evaluation of its impact on the environment and of its sustainability;

Cooperation and compliance - all engineers should play a prominent role in promoting compliance with sound environmental practices, and in promoting the principles of sustainability. They must comply with regulations and cooperate fully with regulating authorities; and

Leadership and responsibility - all engineers have an obligation to take a leadership role in environmental issues which they are competent to address, and in promoting sustainability.

The environmental obligations of professional engineers are summarized in the guideline's conclusion: "Environmental protection/enhancement and sustainability are fundamental to the practice of all areas of engineering…All engineers bear a responsibility to make a positive contribution to the environment through their decisions."

Sustainability is defined as a process or state that can be maintained indefinitely, and which integrates an appropriate balance between a viable economy, protection of the environment and social well-being. In turn, sustainable development is defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The new guideline has been published and will be posted on CCPE's website. All of CCPE's other national guidelines are currently posted on the site, and will be available in a downloadable PDF format.

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