2012 Press & Articles

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Event, News & Opportunities:

Earth Data: A Sustainable Chicago 2015 Celebration

You are invited to join the City of Chicago and partners at this Earth Day 2013 event on Monday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, (78 E. Washington), Preston Bradley Ball Room. 

 We will celebrate the community and City accomplishments in making Chicago greener and discuss the remaining challenges and the 'made in Chicago' solutions that the community, in partnership with government, can produce.

  • Who’s coming? The event will convene City government; the sustainability and data analytics community; the public; and, the event host, World Wildlife Fund, who recently named Chicago an Earth Hour Climate Leader.
  • Why sustainability and data? The event represents the intersection of Earth Day and Big Data Week and will set the stage for Mayor Emanuel’s Earth Day announcement of the first competition in the Chicago Cleanweb Challenge – a series of competitions to increase sustainability through applied data analysis.
  • What’s on the agenda? Join the Institute for Cultural Affairs, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, the City’s Chief Sustainability and Chief Data Officers, and others to discuss how we are using sustainable actions and open data to drive Chicago’s efforts to tackle climate change and create the city of the future.
  • When: Monday, April 22
    • 6:00 PM: Discussion, including the Sustainable Chicago 2015 6-month update!
    • 7:30 PM: Sustainable drinks, networking, and conversation
  •  Where: Chicago Cultural Center, (78 E. Washington), Preston Bradley Ball Room
  • There’s more! This event will announce the Earth Data Hackathon that will take place later that week on Friday, April 26 & Saturday, April 27 as the first event in Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Cleanweb Challenge. See for additional details.


RSVP for the April 22 Earth Data: A Sustainable Chicago 2015 Celebration at or via email to by Friday, April 19. We look forward to seeing you there! Invite your colleagues and friends!



Chicagoland’s Corporate Leaders Drive Sustainability

A new report, Building a Sustainable Region: Innovative practices from Metro Chicago’s global corporations, details exactly how businesses in the metro Chicago region are helping to make it one of the country’s greenest cites.


Under the auspices of the Green Ribbon Committee, the Chicago Corporate Sustainability Working Group collaborated to produce a report that highlights the region’s unique sustainability leadership. This regional report showcases concrete examples of the inventive ideas generated by Chicagoland's environmentally-responsible corporations  — including their results. It captures innovative work that is conserving precious natural resources, acting to ensure cleaner air and water, making manufacturing processes more efficient. Download the report.


Chicago Recognized  at Navy Pier as International Earth Hour Environmental Leader

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was awarded the Earth Hour Climate Leaders Award and $30,000 to support efforts to engage residents in climate action. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called Chicago one of the nation’s leading cities addressing climate change when Chicago was among 29 U.S. cities participating in WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge, an annual initiative recognizing sustainable cities. Read the release from the Mayor's Press Office.

Mayor Releases Sustainable Chicago 2015 to Spur Stewardship and Economic Development 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released Chicago's environmental roadmap, Sustainable Chicago 2015, which outlines opportunities to make Chicago a healthier, more livable and more prosperous place.

"As Chicago continues to expand and evolve its environmental agenda, there is an opportunity to create quality jobs, improve our neighborhoods, and build a higher quality of life for our residents," said Mayor Emanuel. "These plans allow the city to focus its environmental efforts on key goals which will lead to economic development and greater opportunity for all Chicagoans." Download the plan.

Chicago Commended In Environment & Energy Publishing's Greenwire,"Emanuel's sustainability push gets high marks with Chicago greens"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012. Reprinted by permission of Environment & Energy Publishing LLC.

Since he was sworn in as mayor in May 2011, Emanuel has:

  • Accelerated plans to shutter two coal-fired power plants blamed for polluting two working-class, minority neighborhoods for more than 80 years. The plants stopped operating two weeks ago.
  • Pledged to expand curbside recycling to all 50 wards by the end of next year.
  • Launched repairs of 900 miles of water pipes aimed at stemming the waste of water drawn from Lake Michigan.
  • Begun a voluntary initiative to slash emissions from the Windy City's large commercial buildings by 20 percent over the next five years.
  • Founded the Infrastructure Trust Fund, which the administration says will allow the city to borrow private money to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure without adding to the city's debt. Environmentalists like that the fund's first projects would improve energy efficiency at schools and other city-owned buildings.
  • Pledged that all new public buildings would be certified as green under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
  • Set a target of adding 180 acres of parkland and 100 miles of protected bikeways by 2015, and upgrading and adding to the area's transit system.
  • Helped secure upgrades to wastewater treatment systems for the Chicago River.

Click for the full article.


Chicago Receives Sustainable Community Award

Chicago was selected as the large community winner of the Business Civic Leadership Committee’s annual Sustainable Community Award. Chicago won the award for its multi-stakeholder approach to implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and the ongoing efforts by Mayor Emanuel to extend and continue that plan’s positive effects. The award for Chicago specifically focused on the role of area businesses, advocacy groups, philanthropists, utilities, government offices, museums, and restaurants in achieving a comprehensive approach to sustainability in the city. Chicago will receive $20,000 worth of trees as a prize for this award. Learn more about the award.


Chicago Assesses 2010 City and Regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

May 2012

Through an expert-led and data-driven process, Chicago assessed its 2010 GHG emissions for the city of Chicago area and Chicagoland region.  

The city of Chicago’s 2010 GHG emissions were 8% lower than its 2005 emission levels, excluding inventory methodology changes. The key causes, in order of importance, are as follows:

  • an increase in less carbon-intensive sources of electricity;
  • a decrease in population;
  • a long-term decline in residential natural gas use, (due to more efficiency, a housing turnover and long-term price trends);
  • residential and commercial building retrofits;
  • minor weather differences between the baseline years; and,
  • a small decline in employment.

Read the full emissions inventory report.

Earth Day Resource Fair

Friday, April 20, 2012, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, 121 N. LaSalle

Join the City of Chicago, Cook County, and partners in the lobby of the City Hall and County Building for the 2012 Earth Day Resource Fair. Stop by from 10am-2pm to learn about opportunities to green your home and business and volunteer in your community. Learn more.


Chicago Featured in Webinar: Maintaining Economic Vitality in a Changing Climate

March 22, 2012, 12:15 - 1:45 pm CST

Join Chicago's Chief Sustainability Officer, Karen Weigert, and others for a free webinar co-produced by ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA. Hear from global investment and economic development and planning leaders addressing ways to attract investments that create jobs and make cities more resilient to the impacts of climate disruptions. Register for the webinar on the ICLEI website.


Chicago at COP17 in Durban

The Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP) was featured on two panels for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa this past December, 2011.  These panels showcased Chicago's adaptation and performance measurement efforts as some of the country's best environmental practices.  Olivia Cohn, Chicago's climate specialist, represented CCAP on both panels, including the "U.S. Federal Actions for a Climate Resilient Nation Panel".



Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program

Dig in to create a more environmentally-friendly landscape in your yard this spring. The City of Chicago is offering rebates to Chicago residents for up to 50% off their next local purchase of trees, native plants, compost bins or rain barrels. Attend a Sustainable Backyard Workshop hosted by DOE staff to learn proper planting and installation techniques if you're just getting started or download a rebate form online at if you're ready to roll up your sleeves. Rules and restrictions apply.

Funding for rebates comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Pollution Prevention Program and a USDA Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.


Chicago's Diverse and Resilient Tree Planting Strategies

Experts say that Chicago's changing climate will increase and intensify the stressors put on our urban forest - the trees that make up our backyards, parks and public spaces. These stressors include increased heat, humidity and rainfall, among others. The City of Chicago recommends a list of trees suited for our climate and works with partners throughout Chicago to create and sustain a healthy, diverse and resilient urban forest. In order to keep Chicago's urban forest healthy and avoid large tree losses due to invasive pests, Chicago recommends diversity in our urban forest. For more information, please visit the Department of Streets & Sanitation's Bureau of Forestry or the Chicago Trees Initiative.


New Economic and Job Impact Research Conducted

The Boston Consulting Group conducted and released research into the economic and job impacts of meeting and exceeding the goals set out in the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Read their findings.


2011 Roosevelt Institute Campus Network Chicago Summer Academy

In summer 2011, Chicago will work with 13 Fellows from the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network (RICN), to support governmental environmentally-sustainable projects. RICN is a national student initiative which engages young people in a unique forum of progressive activism that empowers them as leaders.


RICN boasts more than 8,000 members across 80 chapters. Since its founding, Roosevelt members have presented student policies on Capitol Hill, testified to city councils, implemented legislation and worked directly in their communities.


Chicago’s Roosevelt Fellows will work in different City of Chicago department and sister agency offices (see the full list below), working on environmental and energy projects. As part of their Fellowships, the Roosevelt Fellows will write a white paper, recommending means to keep Chicago’s sustainability work moving forward. Their Fellowships run nine weeks from mid-June through mid-August.


Roosevelt Fellows will be working with:

  1. Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection 
  2. Chicago Park District
  3. Chicago Public Schools
  4. Chicago Transit Authority
  5. Chicago Department of Department of Aviation
  6. Chicago Department of Department of Environment
  7. Chicago Department of Department of General Services
  8. Chicago Department of Department of Public Health
  9. Chicago Department of Department of Transportation
  10. Chicago Department of Department of Water Management
  11. Public Building Commission

Meet the 2011 class of Roosevelt Fellows. Learn more about the RICN.



Chicago's Roosevelt Fellows, and the Fellows with their agency partners.


Stop unwanted mail. City of Chicago joins forces with Catalog Choice

The City of Chicago has joined forces with communities across the country to debut a zero-waste initiative that will allow consumers to stop unwanted phone books, catalogs, coupons and credit card solicitations at the source. The free service, designed by Catalog Choice, will help Chicago reach its Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP) goal of diverting 90% of our waste from landfills by 2020—one mailbox at a time. City residents and businesses can sign up for the mail preference service beginning today at >>Read the Chicago Catalog Choice press release.


Prepare for Floods

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management Communications released a brochure to help Chicago businesses and residents prepare for extreme precipitation events, such as floods. Read the brochure.


CCAP Green Staff Visits Chicago Park District Facilities

In August 2011, the Chicago Climate Action Plan Green Staff, City staffers and consultants who implement the CCAP, took a trip to three Chicago Park District facilities. The Green Staff visited the biodiesel processing plant, a LEED certified beachhouse and a LEED certified neighborhood park. View the trip picture on the CCAP's Facebook page.


Climate Action Heroes from Green Festival 2010
Check out the pictures of our Climate Action Heroes from Green Festival 2010. These folks completed the Climate Action Quest, a scavenger hunt that took them around the festival collecting stamps from various part of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Once they had all their stamps, they became a hero and got to don the cape and carry the trophy!

Attend the Fourth Annual Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Summit on Tuesday, May 17 from 1-5pm at the Chicago-Kent College of Law (565 West Adams-5th floor) for practical information on navigating employer-recognized credentials in the labor market, regional job growth projections, and innovative workforce development strategies. Open to anyone interested in developing opportunities for disadvantaged workers in the region. Registration ($50 for CGCJI Partners, $75 for all others) includes access to six workshops and a networking reception. Visit the Chicagoland Green Collar Jobs Initiative website to learn more. 

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