Projects › Sustainable Cleveland 2019

Sustainable Cleveland 2019

"Sustainable Cleveland 2019 is about using our best assets, natural resources, and human capital to benefit the City of Cleveland, area businesses and the 1.6 million people in this region. The benefits we seek are economic prosperity for businesses and individuals and an improved quality of life in the region, while at the same time minimizing our impact on the environment. By holding this summit now, we are taking advantage of both the current economic challenges and the growing emphasis on green technology and sustainability."
-Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on the genesis of Sustainable Cleveland 2019

<br />

The SC 2019 initiative has gathered thousands of Clevelanders to build a collective vision for a sustainable future. The city's vision: Cleveland will become a model of sustainability and become a leader in the emerging green economy over the next 10 years through the efforts of Sustainable Cleveland 2019.

Cleveland's first Chief of Sustainability, Andrew Watterson, describes the annual sustainability summits: Using Appreciative Inquiry we discovered the strengths of Cleveland and our region, we dreamed the possibilities of the future, created designs and prototypes of how to realize this vision, and we made a commitment to work towards this shared destiny.

In just three years, Watterson says, the SC2019 initiative charted progress in:

At the 2012 Summit, current Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan told the hundreds of participants that the city continues to set Goals and will establish Metrics for Success. Goals for the Year of Local Food, for example, include

  • Community food hubs, distribution points for local food in the city and suburbs.
  • 100 miles farm to fork
  • Food waste to energy (the city is pursuing a waste incinerator)
  • Cleveland serves 25% local by 2030

Metrics came about at the urging of the Steering Committee and community, and will attempt to answer, how do you know you are growing a sustainable economy, that you are creating a green city on a blue lake? That you are on your way? They'll be published on a dashboard on the SC2019 web site, and include:


  • Number of sustainability jobs
  • Helping region’s ecoonoy grow more businesiess in NEO adopting sustainability practices
  • Economy of NEO is stronger

Built environment

  • Fewer people using cars to commute (single passenger car commuters)
  • Are vacant lots being transformed in to assets (tracking brownfield acres cleaned up, restoring health to soil)

Natural environment

  • # of water advisory days
  • Air quality by year
  • # of renewable energy facilities and megawatts per year


  • Participation in 2019
  • That people are healthy
  • Sector diversity
  • How many people are working on this
  • Local and national media coverage

The framework for moving toward success are Celebration Years—the community focuses on moving the sustainability agenda forward successively in each of these topics until the year 2019.

  • 2011—Energy Efficiency
  • 2012—Local Foods
  • 2013—Renewable Resources & Advanced Energy
  • 2014—Zero Waste
  • 2015—Clean Water
  • 2016—Sustainable Mobility
  • 2017—Clean Green Spaces
  • 2018—Vital Neighborhoods
  • 2019—The Year of People

GreenCityBlueLake Institute is an active participant on the Steering Committee and a number of the working groups, including Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Mobility and Local Foods.

We are integrating sustainability not only into the City of Cleveland's everyday municipal operations, but also into our residents' lives and the priorities of our corporate and institutional partners.
- Mayor Frank G. Jackson

Ten water saving tips

Ten water saving tips >

We're at the shore of Lake Erie, but we still have good reasons to conserve

10 best ecological restoration

10 best ecological restoration >

Cities are healthier as a whole when nature is invited in.

Find local food

Find local food >

Explore local food resources and a map of farmers markets in Northeast Ohio