Vancouver 2020, Greenest City Action Plan. Vancouver, Canada

  Staying on the leading edge of urban sustainability


The Greenest City Action Plan of the city of Vancouver started in 2011 with the purpose to become the greenest city by 2020.

This ambitious plan addresses three overarching areas of focus: Zero Carbon, Zero Waste and Healthy Ecosystems, through 10 goal areas:

  • Climate and renewables
  • Green buildings
  • Green transportation
  • Zero waste
  • Access to nature
  • Clean water
  • Local food
  • Clean air
  • Green economy
  • Lighter footprint

Every area has a set of measurable and attainable targets that are step by step fulfilled to achieve the 2020 goal.

They work with Council, residents, businesses, other organizations, and all levels of government to implement this plan.


  • 32% decrease in distance driven per person since 2007
  • 49 % new local food and Green Jobs since 2010
  • 20 hectares of natural area restored or enhance
  • 42% increase in neighborhood food assets since 2010
  • 27% decrease in solid waste sent to landfill and incinerator since 2008
  • 56% decrease in greenhouse gases from operations since 2007
  • 311 km of bike network in Vancouver
  • 82,000 new trees planted since 2010
  • Electric vehicle ecosystem strategy approved

Did you know?

In 2011, when they launched the Greenest City Action Plan, the public asked for ways to be involved at their level. As a result, the Greenest City Action Fund was created in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation to grant money to citizens wanting to implement sustainable projects at the neighborhood level, (recycling projects, community gardens, lending libraries…).

Through this initiative, hundreds of citizen-led small city projects have been implemented to support the Greenest City Action Plan.

Sustainability and Replicability

To replicate this long term experience in another city, three elements are important:

  • To have extremely high level political support and to count with civil society engagement to achieve the vision of a greener city.
  • To have measurable and accountable targets across the whole city, to know what will be the targets, who is responsible for those targets, and the steps and actions to accomplish them.
  • To work across sectors and departments of the city to achieve sustainable goals collectively.

Lessons learned

Vancouver is one of a few cities around the world where the environmental agenda has become the unifying principle and main project. The Greenest City 2020 Action Plan is inspiring not only because it sets high goals across the board of sustainability but because it is integrated across sectors and through all the departments of the city.

Take action

Contact Greenest City 2020 Action Plan

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