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Vancouver proves cities can protect the environment and grow the economy

July 9 2014

“Today’s report shows how Vancouver is taking tangible action towards becoming the greenest city in the world, by implementing programs that have strengthened our neighbourhoods, reduced GHGs, and bolstered our economy,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Coal Harbour

Greenest City Action Plan update released

The City of Vancouver released its third annual Greenest City Action Plan update today, with progress continuing in all 10 goal areas. Most notably, Vancouver reached a remarkable six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) since 2007. In the same period, the population grew five per cent and jobs increased seven per cent.

“Vancouver is proving that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Today’s report shows how Vancouver is moving away from fossil fuels and taking tangible action towards becoming the greenest city in the world, by implementing programs that have strengthened our neighbourhoods, reduced GHGs, and bolstered our economy.”

Key results from the 2013-2014 update

In 2013, there was an approximately 40 per cent decrease in solid waste going to the landfill from single-family homes as a result of the Green Bin Program for food scraps. New recycling and reuse requirements when demolishing older homes will result in additional decreases.

Green jobs are up 19 per cent since 2010, spurred by market demand for green building and local food. Vancouver’s international, award-winning green building policies have helped to stimulate jobs in that area, with green building and green design jobs up 50 per cent since 2010. Local food jobs – such as those at urban farms, farmers markets, street food, and craft breweries – are up 21 per cent since 2010.

Nearly 11,000 new trees were planted in 2013, bringing the number of new trees planted since 2010 to 23,400. Our urban forest absorbs an estimated 20,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. The Urban Tree Strategy, adopted in early 2014, will protect trees throughout the city and promote a healthy urban forest.

Vancouver now has 4,166 community garden plots, with 481 added in the last year. The Park Board supplied 170 fruit trees to existing gardens in the past year and approved eight new community gardens.

Recent awards that recognize our progress

In the last year, the City of Vancouver was awarded the 2013 World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour Global and People’s choice Earth Hour Capital for its climate protection leadership. The City was also recognized as having the world’s best overall green building policy by the World Green Building Council.

Six years remain to meet the action plan targets

The City will continue seeking GHG reductions by:

  • Supporting the expansion of large-scale, urban renewable energy systems like the award-winning Neighbourhood Energy Utility in Southeast False Creek
  • Capturing and harnessing methane gas at the Vancouver Landfill to make heat and power
  • Supporting the market expansion of electric vehicles

Learn more about our Greenest City Action Plan

Couple at dusk on False Creek Habitat Island in Vancouver

Greenest City Action Plan

Greenest City is a bold initiative that addresses Vancouver's environmental challenges.

2014 GCAP Implementation Update

Read the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan 2013/2014 Implementation Update

Check our progress toward becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020. Read the 2013-2014 Implementation Update for the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. 

Get the update