Communities that commit to sustainability have stronger economies, bounce back more easily after disasters, are inclusive of all types of people, and are enjoyable places to live and work. Working together towards sustainability will promote investment in our community, celebrate and preserve local assets, and cultivate our parks and open spaces.
Sustainability is an approach that accounts for environmental, economic and social impacts in activities both within city government and in the larger South Bend community. Sustainability focuses on maximizing the “Three Es” — Economy, Environment, and Equity — also known as the “triple bottom line.”
The Green Ribbon Commission was launched by former Mayor Steve Luecke in April of 2009. Citizens from the public and private sectors that are actively engaged in environmental issues and are working to reduce carbon footprints and be more energy efficient were appointed to investigate opportunities and make recommendations. One year later, the Commission recommended developing a Municipal Energy Office using a federal energy efficiency grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Since the creation of the Municipal Energy Office in 2010, energy efficiency and renewable energy have been important programs. These will be continued by the Office of Sustainability while expanding to cover many other topics. The work of the Energy Office will be continued by supporting projects which make a positive impact on energy consumption and usage throughout South Bend and focus on several key components including:
- Renewable Energy
- Building Efficiency
- Transportation Efficiency and Innovation
- Municipal Regulation
- Recycling and Waste Management
Why sustainability for the city?
A sustainability program not only helps strengthen the community but also helps city government directly by:
- reducing the city’s operating expenses;
- improving relationships between city departments and South Bend’s diverse neighborhoods and residents; and
- supporting existing community development, infrastructure, and other city priorities.
Who will be involved?
Community input and involvement, both from individuals and from organizations, will be essential to a successful program.
How will we do sustainability?
There are many opportunities to reduce negative impacts across the City’s triple bottom line. As a City, we will work together both internally and with members of the community to find creative and innovative approaches to preserving our natural resources, insuring social equity, and cutting costs. The Green Ribbon Commission will be recommissioned by the Office of Sustainability to assist with the development of a broad based sustainability strategy for South Bend. The result will be a plan of action for South Bend that we will all understand and support.
How will this office support the Mayor’s Transparency and Data-Driven Solutions initiatives?
Collecting and using government and community-wide data will be the cornerstone of the Office of Sustainability’s programs. Progress will be measured against numerical baselines and publicly shared.