Environmental tools are mechanisms to meet environmental objectives and outcomes. Environmental tools provide the means to an end. They are designed to encourage environmentally desirable behaviour.

This tools guide is designed to introduce and help in the choice of the most appropriate tool (s) to achieve specific environmental outcome(s) in Alberta.

Introduction to the Five Kinds of Tools

This guide offers five kinds of environmental tools:

  • Cooperative agreements
  • Information disclosure
  • Market-based instruments and fiscal
  • Regulations
  • Voluntary stewardship/corporate environmental responsibility

In the real world, we use the best tool to meet the multiple goals of a given situation. Each tool has its strengths and limitations. An ideal tool would

  • promote a cleaner environment
  • be cost-effective, absolutely fair, equitable and capable of meeting rapid change in science and technology

Alberta Environment and Parks' (AEP) role is to

  • develop and implement these tools
  • verify compliance
  • track environmental performance commitments
  • monitor and evaluate environmental quality

Where required, the department will also enforce environmental law in the province, including sanctions, monetary fees and charges.

Need more information on the five environmental tools? See:

For tool developers

This Environmental Tools Guide has been developed as a resource for policy makers to encourage a greater understanding of the range of tools available to both government and our stakeholders. It also outlines a conceptual framework to support audiences in choosing the most appropriate tools to achieve specific environmental outcomes.

The range of environmental tools highlights the spectrum of tools available to meet desired environmental outcomes, specifically these include:

Traditionally, governments have relied on regulatory approaches, to achieve environmental protection and natural resource conservation. Increasingly, governments are employing innovative tools to meet policy goals. A comparison of traditional and innovative tools highlights these different dimensions in more detail.

Contact Us

Questions about this guide? Email Stephen Dobson

Was this page helpful?

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

You will not receive a reply. Do not enter any personal information such as telephone numbers, addresses, or emails.

Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca. If you require a response, please go to our Contact page.