Balancing economic growth with sustainable development is a challenge for both large and small municipalities. Sustainability planning is an opportunity for communities to develop a vision and implement long-term goals that address challenges and opportunities to become a more sustainable municipality. With a municipal sustainability plan, officials have the opportunity to demonstrate strategic, sustainable leadership.
Before developing and implementing such a plan, there are some key points to consider. Public involvement is an important part of the process. The plan should reflect the ideas, values and goals of the community. The municipality leaders should work with the community on a common vision that best addresses the needs of the community.
For example, the city of Brooks in Alberta, Canada has adopted a municipal sustainability plan, “Sustainable Brooks”, which involved the input of the entire community. Their vision is to be a community that people are proud to call home. There are five interconnected pillars in their plan: social, environmental, cultural, economic and governance. The goals for each pillar are achieved through partnerships built among city council, staff, and the community.
Another example is the Municipal Sustainability Plan of City of Avondale, in Arizona. Their emphasis is on functioning in an environmentally honest and innovative manner that protects the earth’s resources and serves future generations. As in Brooks, city staff and members of the community collaborated to create the vision and goals for their municipal sustainability plan.
There are, of course, state and federal regulations to consider. So when it comes to execution, the municipality leaders must find the right partner with expertise in environmental planning, compliance, energy management and data management to competently guide the community on a path towards sustainability.
Municipal sustainability plans are important because they enable municipalities to attain long-term goals that create environmental, community and financial stability. Municipalities which have not yet adopted a sustainability plan should start considering—the long-term benefits are well worth the effort.
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) is a leading sustainability solutions provider to organizations and governments both locally and globally. We help governments and organizations recognize sustainability as a main driver for practices and regulations, and help manage sustainability processes by providing solutions for operational efficiency, growth and sustainability. To learn more about developing your organization’s Sustainability Plan, watch our webinar.