G&A Institute as the exclusive GRI data partner in the United States just recently received the registration for a new GRI report coming from the City of Chicago. This report is a GRI G3.1 Application Level C report. This trend has been accelerating recently as more and more cities and municipalities scramble to position themselves as the most sustainable cities, to draw more professionals seeking a better quality of life, and to make themselves the next home for sustainable corporations.
You can view the full Chicago report here: http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/progs/env/SCYear1Report.pdf
This report is an update on the Sustainable Chicago 2015 program.
“A sustainable Chicago is a city that spends less on energy use with each passing year, creates good-paying jobs in up-and-coming industries, responsibly maintains and upgrades its infrastructure, and ensures every Chicagoan has the opportunity to live a healthy and active lifestyle.” — Mayor Emanuel
Sustainable Chicago is organized into seven categories critical to the sustainability of the city. It sets twenty-four specific goals and identifies key actions to take to reach those goals by 2015. It is a clear commitment of what government needs to and will do. It is also a roadmap for how Chicagoans, at home and at work, can get involved.
The seven categories are related and reinforce each other – success in one can lead to or amplify success in another.
- Economic Development and Job Creation
- Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
- Transportation Options
- Water and Wastewater
- Parks, Open Space and Healthy Food
- Waste and Recycling
- Climate Change
Recently other cities and municipalities have issued reports as well. Many cities are competing on Sustainability now.
Here are just a few examples:
- Pierce County, WA (a NON-GRI Report):
- Town of Dartmouth, MA (a G4 Undeclared Report):
- Fall River, MA (GRI G3 Application Level A Report):
In my own hometown of NYC we have the large and ambitious PlaNYC program which was launched in 2007: http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/home/home.shtml.
In PlaNYC, we sought to address numerous challenges to our city’s growth: How will we enable up to one million new residents to live, work, and play in a city already congested and brimming with activity? In a city with over 520 miles of coastline, how will we adapt to, and mitigate, the growing risks of climate change?
PlaNYC has changed our city dramatically since 2007, achieving the cleanest air quality levels in 50 years, more New Yorkers recycling rigid plastics and biking throughout New York City, planting over 750,000 new trees and counting, and passing the halfway mark of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. We will continue to achieve major milestones as we accelerate our efforts.
Our city faces renewed challenges today as we recover from the damage and disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy. We can’t know that the future will not repeat the past, so we much prepare on all fronts. However, we can say this with confidence: we will mobilize the same spirit, ingenuity, and accountability to make New York a greener, greater, more resilient city.
PlaNYC has a wealth of reports on the progress, the plan, and other studies:
As the growing number of corporations focus on their Sustainability initiatives these often feature goals that are tied to their facilities and office space. They also tie goals to another important stakeholder, their employees, and many of these tie to the cities they live, work, play and raise families in.
Could cities be positioning themselves to take advantage of this trend, and draw big business to locate in cities with the most sustainable infrastructures and initiatives themselves? Will cities be in a new competition to draw residents, and economic development by competing on the Sustainability playing field? I think so.. and the smart ones have a head start.
As corporations look at their 2015, 2020, 2050 etc sustainability goals, how will they make sure they tie their long term planning to meet these objectives. They will need to make sure that their new or re-located facilities, factories, and offices spaces are located in world class sustainable cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco and the many other cities that are attempting as public policy to position themselves as “the most sustainable.” The Governance & Accountability Institute is tracking this position and its heating up.
A quick google search for “Most Sustainable Cities” will show the enormous amount of awards, lists, etc that are being generated around this topic. The competition is on, the game has begun, the horses have left their gates —
Will your city be considered Sustainable enough to survive?