Toronto – Corporate Knights, the Toronto-based media and investment research company, announced its ranking of North America’s Most Sustainable Cities for 2013.
Cities were assessed on 28 indicators spanning five categories of sustainability: environmental quality; economic security; governance and empowerment; infrastructure and energy, and social well-being. The supporting research included a survey completed by many of the ranked cities, along with publicly available statistics. Overall, 20 cities across North America were included in the ranking, with 15 from the United States and five from Canada.
This year, San Francisco proved to be the top performer on urban sustainability, a city well known for its environmental stewardship. An 80 per cent waste diversion rate, the lowest energy-consumption rate per person and a strong environmental quality record propelled it to its number one position. “San Francisco was the first municipality to pass a sweeping ordinance mandating city-wide composting at all residences and businesses,” says Darek Gondor, lead researcher on the project. “The mayor and the city council, for the most part, continue to be on the same page for sustainability implementation.”
San Francisco is followed by Washington, D.C., a city that has increased its tree canopy over the past decade while also embarking on a campaign of zoning reform and launching the most successful bike-sharing program in the U.S. The leading Canadian city is Ottawa, the nation’s capital, which finished third overall. It maintains the greatest percentage of green space among the 20 cities surveyed and performed well among other environmental quality indicators such as air pollution and water quality. Vancouver and Toronto came fourth and fifth, respectively.