Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more resilient, inclusive and efficient, announced its 2021 fall certified communities last week. Greenwich was the highest scoring municipality among the twenty-three towns which qualified for certification during the 2021 fall submission cycle.
Sustainable CT, managed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection, social equity, and long-term resilience. The program’s action roadmap and support tools are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to address climate change, promote racial justice, and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
“Congratulations to our newest Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Lynn Stoddard, executive director of the program. “It’s particularly gratifying to see so many municipalities achieving certification this year. A growing number of Connecticut towns and cities are demonstrating practices that make our communities more inclusive, healthy, connected, and strong, and that bodes well for the entire state.”
Certified communities demonstrated significant achievements in at least eleven sustainability impact areas, ranging from community building, thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. In addition, certified municipalities addressed issues of belonging, equity, diversity, and inclusion when implementing sustainability actions. Sustainable CT provides free coaching and a virtual equity classroom to help municipalities with issues related to equity and racial justice.
“I am so proud of the breadth and depth of efforts in our community around sustainability,” said Patricia Sesto, Director of Environmental Affairs. “Three years ago, when we achieved our first SustainableCT silver certification, we scored 410 points in 29 categories. We were one of just five towns to receive silver certification, the highest level of certification currently offered. Just three years later, we achieved 1025 points in 52 categories – an improvement of two and half times. This achievement would not have been possible without the time, expertise and collaboration from numerous town departments, town officials, and community organizations. A special thanks to Sarah Coccaro, Conservation Resource Manager, for her hard work in submitting our SustainableCT application.”
Canaan (Falls Village), Chester, Essex, the Town of Groton, North Stonington, Pomfret, Ridgefield, Suffield, Washington, West Haven, and Weston all met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for bronze-level certification. Towns that achieved silver-level certification include Fairfield, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, Litchfield, Milford, New Milford, Old Lyme, Portland, Trumbull, West Hartford, and Westport.
“We are thrilled to recognize additional communities that are using the Sustainable CT framework to recover from the pandemic and build long-term resilience,” said Laura Francis, first selectman of Durham and co-chair of the Sustainable CT Board of Directors. “Supporting local businesses, strengthening food networks, and safeguarding natural spaces for our residents have always been important, but the pandemic further illuminated their importance.”
ustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact program. One-hundred twenty-five municipalities have registered for the program, representing 86% of the state’s population. Collectively, sixty-four municipalities, 60% of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certification lasts for 3 years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.
“Sustainable CT Certified communities are models for all forward-looking local governments,” said Joe DeLong, executive director and CEO of Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). “These municipalities have shown great leadership in completing many actions that increase sustainability while also saving money, promoting health, and deepening residents’ connection to community.” CCM will hold an awards ceremony to recognize Sustainable CT certified towns at their annual convention on November 30.
Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund, and the Smart Seed Fund. Additional support is provided by the Connecticut Green Bank and many community foundations.
For more information or to view Greenwich’s application, visit www.sustainablect.org.