The City of Edmonton is the number one sustainable large city in Canada, according to the third annual Corporate Knights Magazine Most Sustainable Cities in Canada list.
The comprehensive ranking, released in January, identifies Canadian cities whose practices leave the smallest environmental footprint possible and create a healthy, thriving population. A city’s sustainability is rated on five factors: ecological integrity, economic security, governance and empowerment, infrastructure and the built environment and social well-being.
“The City of Edmonton is proud of its environmental record, and pleased with this acknowledgement of our efforts. This is a significant accomplishment, of which all Edmontonians can be proud,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel.
“Edmontonians are some of the most environmentally-conscious people in the world and the City continues to gain national and international recognition for our leading environmental practices.”
The Corporate Knights ranking noted in particular Edmonton’s low unemployment rate, high economic security and inclining block pricing on water to encourage conservation.
“We are leaders in environmental management, and our community embraces environmental consciousness,” says Mark Brostrom, Director of the City’s Office of the Environment and Energy. “We walk the talk, and demonstrate our leadership, and this is confirmation of our efforts.”
The Corporate Knights survey noted that the City of Edmonton could improve on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The City has a number of initiatives in place to achieve this.
Edmonton annually inventories its GHG emissions for the community and the city corporation. Targets are in place to reduce GHG emissions by 20 percent by 2020 through the CO2RE program.
Other efforts include residential and commercial outreach and education programs, the implementation of a new school program, energy-efficiency home retrofit rebates and rebates for low-income households.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility is a key policy and program focus for the City of Edmonton.
As part of Edmonton’s commitment to environmental leadership, City Council declared a vision for Edmonton to be an environmentally sustainable city – through an initiative called EcoVision Edmonton.
The City continues to look at strategies and plans to increase use of public transit, including significant expansion of its Light Rail Transit to new areas of the city.
EcoVision Edmonton is also demonstrated through programs like curbside recycling, composting, road sand recycling, carpool.ca program, water conservation bylaw, integrated solid waste management system which combines waste reduction education initiatives, recycling, co-composting (sewage sludge and municipal solid waste), electronics, year-round household toxics reduction stations (EcoStations), among other programs.
Go Green, It’s Our Nature is the City’s community outreach program encouraging citizens to reduce their environmental footprint by taking simple steps to Travel Smart, Be Yard Smart, Save Energy, Save Water and Reduce Waste.
Edmonton has moved up in the annual Corporate Knights Most Sustainable Cities ranking. In 2007, Edmonton ranked 6th out of 23 Canadian cities. In 2008, The City ranked 6th out of 18 overall and 4th out of 5 among large cities.
The ranking is based on answers given in a survey as well as independent research done by the magazine. The report can be found at http://www.corporateknights.ca/report/2009-most-sustainable-cities-canada/third-annual-most-sustainable-cities-canada