Sustainable Cleveland 2019

Together, we’ve made significant progress over the last decade. With the foundation and momentum we’ve built, now is the time to accelerate that progress as we move forward, together. -Sustainable Cleveland

In 2009, Sustainable Cleveland was launched by Mayor Frank Jackson with one goal in mind: make Cleveland an economically sustainable city.

With a 10 year plan laid out, it was up to the City of Cleveland, its residents, and its businesses to bring the change they deserved to the place they call home. Now, 10 years later, Sustainable Cleveland has reached its goal of 2019.

Over the years, each Sustainable Cleveland conference has had a different focus on what should be improved in the City of Cleveland:

2011Energy Efficiency

  • Since 2009, 6,000+ new residential units have met the Cleveland Green Building Standard
  • City of Cleveland adopted a Sustainable Municipal Building Policy in 2013
  • Cleveland Public Power has begun converting 61,000 streetlights to LED, to be complete by 2020

2012Local Food

  • Edible Cleveland magazine launched in 2012, the Year of Local Foods
  • Cleveland has some of the largest urban farms in the country, including the 6-acre Ohio City Farm
  • More than 175 community gardens in Cleveland supported by Summer Sprout, Gardening for Greenbacks, and other programs

2013Clean Energy

  • Icebreaker Wind received a $40million grant from the U.S. DOE for construction of the first offshore freshwater wind farm in North America
  • Beginning in 2013, the City of Cleveland incorporated renewable energy into community choice aggregations, resulting in 100% clean energy for more than 50,000 residents and 5,000 businesses
  • Between 2010 and 2018, Cleveland went from 9 solar and wind installations to 189, and from 3% renewable electricity to 13%

2014Zero Waste

  • The Port of Cleveland, in partnership with Kurtz, is now the largest sediment recycler in the Great Lakes
  • 1.4 million tons of waste diverted from landfills annually in Cuyahoga County
  • Stone Soup began in 2015 and the Hunger Network’s Food Rescue program launched in 2018, both dedicated to connecting those with excess food to those in need

2015Clean Water

  • The City of Cleveland Summer Rain Barrel Program has distributed more than 5,000 rain barrels to residents since 2008
  • The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has helped reduce the amount of combined sewer overflows and beach advisory days through Project Clean Lake and supporting green infrastructure grants
  • The Cleveland Water Department has helped reduce over 20,000 customer leaks through its Automated Meter Read (AMR) technology


  • Greater Cleveland RTA has added more than 60 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses
  • 80+ miles of bike infrastructure (bike lanes, trails, sharrows) added in Cleveland since 2013
  • UH Bikes, Cleveland’s first shared mobility system, launched in 2016; Shared mobility expanded in 2019 with launch of e-scooter and e-bike pilot

2017Vibrant Green Space

  • Approximately 81% of Cleveland residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, higher than the national average
  • Cleveland ranks 35th out of 100 cities for park acreage, investment, amenities, and access
  • The Cleveland Tree Plan was developed in 2015 and the Cleveland Tree Coalition formed in 2016, made up of 40+ organizations to implement the plan

2018Vital Neighborhoods

  • Resilient Cleveland supported Climate Ambassadors in four Cleveland neighborhoods
  • Vital Neighborhoods Working Group hosts annual Potluck in the Park, launched Cleveland Spaces Vital Places workshops to support reuse of vacant land
  • Select community development corporations have begun implementing sustainability and climate action into their Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) planning


  • The Cleveland Climate Action Fund supports 70+ resident led, neighborhood-based projects – partnered with Neighborhood Connections in 2018
  • More than 3,000 people from Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have participated in racial equity training
  • 90 organizations and 300+ residents were actively engaged in the development of the Cleveland Climate Action Plan

The 2019 Summit honored the many people and organizations that have gotten the City of Cleveland this far, while also building off this foundation for even greater progress. 

The Summit included remarks from Mayor Frank Jackson, keynote presentations, recognition, and awards. The keynote this year featured five speakers, who covered topics such as transportation, circular economy, and climate change.

  • Dr. Richard Ezike, Senior Policy Associate with the Urban Institute
  • India Birdsong, General Manager & CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority 
  • Michael Waas, Global Vice President of Brand Partnerships with TerraCycle
  • Nik Engineer, Executive Lead of North America Operations with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
  • Michael Shank, Ph.D., Communications Director with the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance

Find more information on this year’s Sustainable Cleveland Summit at