Greenest City Action Plan

Already known for environmental sustainability, the City of Vancouver has adopted a plan to become the world's greenest city by 2020.

The plan sets ambitious goals to reduce air pollution and waste, foster energy-efficient construction and improve the city's natural environment. It is the product of two years of consultations with 35,000 people, including 9,500 city employees, members of advisory committees, and participants in a variety of workshops and other events.

The plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to two-thirds of 2007 levels, reduce water consumption to two-thirds of 2006 levels, and halve the 2008 levels of waste sent to landfills or incinerators. It could double the number of jobs in clean technology, green construction, recycling, composting and other environmentally sustainable areas. It would help to put the city in even closer touch with its natural surroundings.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • 66 percent reduction (to 916,000 tonnes) in GHG emissions from 2007 levels by 2020
  • 50 percent reduction (to 250,000 tonnes) in waste sent to landfills or incinerators by 2020
  • Double to 29,800 the number of jobs devoted to environmental sustainability by 2020
  • Double the number of companies working to make their operations more sustainable by 2020
  • Cleaner air and water, more access to natural environment promotes health
  • 150,000 new trees, more farmers' markets and community gardens will make Vancouver more liveable

Challenges

  • Overcoming 'silo' thinking among city staff.
  • Coordinating contributions from 9,500 active participants in the process.
  • Going beyond open houses and using online tools and social media to make community engagement "fun and easy."

Lessons learned

  • Set targets that are measurable, challenging and achievable.
  • Early adoption of the plan's goals and targets is a sign to staff that council is serious about setting a plan of action.
  • Use city staff, not consultants, to create the plan they must ultimately implement. This assures staff buy-in and keeps the process moving.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

Amanda Mitchell
Greenest City Engagement Coordinator
Vancouver, BC
T. 604-673-8166

2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities