ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
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<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | issue 13, September 2008
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The Institute is dedicated to the research, creation, and sharing of best practices in ethics, compliance, and corporate governance

ICLEI Members Amongst the Most Sustainable Cities

The Ethisphere Institute has identified 20 cities as “2020 Global Sustainability Centers”. All of the cities in the list have a high degree of environmental and economical sustainability that provides their citizens with a healthy quality of life.  Of these 20 "Global Sustainability Centers", 13 are ICLEI members, while three of them host ICLEI offices, Toronto, Cape Town and Melbourne.

Sustainable City Criteria

The Ethisphere Institute chose the cities based on size (population over 600,000), their cosmopolitan image and the economic significance of their centres, which are being proactive in preparing for the future by adjusting their practices with sustainability in mind, to accommodate increasing populations and adjust to the depletion of natural resources. In addition to economics and population statistics cities were ranked based on their cultural activities, universities and international acclaim to make sure the chosen ‘global sustainable centres’ have international significance, as they will be the role models leading the way for other cities to develop their own plans to move toward environmentally sustainability.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne’s recently unveiled Melbourne Plan has the potential to raise the city to becoming one of the 10 most liveable cities in the world.  The plan aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (60 percent from 2006 levels) and water use (40 percent) by 2020 and improve its overall environmental performance.   Melbourne hosts ICLEI’s Oceania Secretariat.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto has launched a number of initiatives over the last couple of years, including Live Green Toronto, a five-year program to promote and support neighbourhood-based actions to green Toronto, which is a part of the city’s new Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan.  This plan will see the city and its residents and businesses take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create a sustainable energy future.  Other notable efforts include the Green Development Standard that calls for more sustainable building construction and landscaping and a Green Roof Incentive program that was launched in 2007. Toronto hosts ICLEI’s World Secretariat and ICLEI Canada Office

Cape Town, South Africa

An economic leader within Africa and a top tourist destination in the world, Cape Town is experiencing growth and rivalling Johannesburg to become a regional hub.  The city aims to have 10 percent of the homes in the city using solar power by 2020 and 10 percent of the city’s total energy needs provided by renewable sources.  A highly acclaimed energy plan was developed in 2004 to help meet the growing energy needs of the city. Cape Town hosts the ICLEI Africa Secretariat and hosted the ICLEI World Congress in 2006.