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Office of Sustainability

The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to enhance the quality of life for all residents by making Richmond equitable, healthy, and resilient. The Vision is that all Richmonders, regardless of their identity or neighborhood, thrive in a climate-neutral community. The Office works at a systems level to change the underlying policy and structural mechanisms within city government and the community in the areas of climate action, resilience, and equity. 

Climate action is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Richmond city government and the community. Resilience is focused on preparing the Richmond community for the impacts of climate change and adapting to those impacts. Equity means racial equity which is when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved (as defined by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE)).RVAgreen2050

Currently, the Office is championing RVAgreen 2050, the City of Richmond’s equity-centered climate action and resilience planning initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030, achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and help the community adapt to Richmond’s climate impacts of extreme heat, precipitation, and flooding.

Sustainability Plan

The City’s first sustainability plan was developed in 2011 and adopted by Richmond City Council in 2012. It was designed to improve the quality of life for residents, create a healthy environment and enhance economic opportunity in the City of Richmond. It had 55 initiatives within five focus areas: economic development, energy, environment, open space and land use and transportation. 

RVAgreen 2050 expands on the solid foundation formed by the RVAgreen Sustainability Plan. It is the next evolution of the city’s sustainability and resilience program.


    Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories

    The city has an ambitious goal to reduce city government and the community's greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 using 2008 emissions as the baseline and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This goal is essential for an equitable, healthy, resilient and prosperous Richmond.

    The Office of Sustainability conducts a Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory to measure all greenhouse gas emissions throughout the community – the impact of everyone who lives in, works in or visits Richmond. It conducts a Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory to measure the emissions of city government operations – from electricity consumption in city buildings to the gas used in city vehicles.

    Progress toward these greenhouse gas emissions goals will be measured against the 2008 baseline inventory.


    Climate Commitments

    Mayor Levar Stoney and the City of Richmond have committed to several national and global compacts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

    Chicago Climate Charter: Joining mayors in pledging to move forward a comprehensive climate agenda.

    Climate Mayors: Joining mayors working together to demonstrate leadership on climate through meaningful actions in their communities, and to express and build political will for effective federal and global policy action.

    Mayors For 100% Clean Energy: Pledging support for a community-wide transition to 100% renewable energy.

    We Are Still In: Joining mayors, cities, states, companies, universities and non-profits across the world in recommitting to meet the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. 


    Climate Reporting

    The City of Richmond measures and reports its emissions and climate action data to external organizations and this provides a number of benefits:

    • Transparency to community
    • Track progress
    • Identify opportunities for cost savings and improved efficiency in operations
    • Identify climate-related risks

    CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project): CDP is a non-profit organization that provides a global disclosure system for companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts.

    American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE): ACEEE is a non-profit organization that acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments and behaviors.

    Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN): USDN is a peer-to-peer network of local governments and their practitioners across the United States and Canada seeking to accelerate urban sustainability and resiliency.

    Virginia Municipal League (VML) Green Government Challenge: VML hosts the annual Green Government Challenge, a friendly competition designed to encourage implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by both the local government and the broader community.

    Check out the Sustainability News page for the latest news and announcements!




    Conferred By

    2019 Smart 50 Award: Urban Heat Island Study Smart Cities Connect
    2018 Platinum Award, Green Government Challenge Virginia Municipal League (VML)      
    2017 Virginia Green Travel Leader Award, RVA Green Team Virginia Green Travel Alliance
    2016 Recycler of the Year Virginia Recycling Association
    2016 Green Event of the Year, Virginia Green Travel Star Award, UCI Road World Championships        Virginia Green Travel Alliance
    2016 Platinum Award, Green Government Challenge Virginia Municipal League (VML)
    2016 Climate Protection Award, First Place, Large City U.S. Conference of Mayors
    2016 Governor's Environmental Excellence Gold Award, UCI Road World Championships 2015 Virginia's Governor
    2016 Gold Certification, 2015 UCI Road World Championships Council for Responsible Sport
    2015 Platinum Award, Green Government Challenge Virginia Municipal League (VML)
    2015 Green Travel Star Award, Green Event of the Year, 2015 UCI Road World Championships Virginia Green Travel
    2015 UCI recycling eco-label, 2015 UCI Road World Championships Union Cycliste Internationale
    2015 Virginia Green Event Certification, 2015 UCI Road World Championships Virginia Green
    2014 Platinum Award, Green Government Challenge Virginia Municipal League (VML)
    2013 Vision Award, Best Example of Public Policy, RVAgreen Sustainability Plan Urban Land Institute
    2013 Platinum Award, Green Government Challenge Virginia Municipal League (VML)


    2015 UCI Road World Championships

    UCI ChampionshipsIn September 2015, Richmond became the first U.S. city to host the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championships (Worlds) since 1986. 

    The international event attracted more than 645,000 spectators with more than 1,000 professional cycling athletes from 75 countries competing in 12 world championship races. Hosting such a large event in a socially and environmentally responsible way was an immense and complicated undertaking. 

    Sustainability was a key factor in the success of the Worlds and in giving athletes and spectators an extremely positive experience. In making the 2015 Road World Championships a sustainable event, the city also moved its broader RVAgreen sustainability initiatives forward. Read more about the achievements to reduce waste, reduce transportation emissions, be healthy, and leave a positive legacy for future events in the Sustainability Report and infographic.

    Green City CommissionEstablished by City Council in 2009, the Green City Commission is a nine-member group of sustainability experts in areas such as green building practices, energy efficiency, transportation and urban forestry. The responsibilities of the Commission include:

    • Providing expertise and information to the City to support the City’s sustainability efforts.
    • Consulting with the state government and other local governments regarding such governments’ sustainability efforts.
    • Recommending changes to the Code of the City of Richmond (including zoning regulations and building codes), the Code of Virginia, and other laws as necessary to implement sustainable methods in the City.
    • Encouraging the adoption of sustainable business and building approaches by the private sector.
    • Working with the Department of Public Works to preserve trees and plant life in the city.
    • Preparing and submitting an annual report to City Council.

    Check out the Green City Commission’s quarterly meeting schedule, agendas and minutes on the Office of the City Clerk website.

    Follow the Green City Commission on Facebook.