WASHINGTON DC – More than fifty-one embassies and international institutions pledged to support Mayor Vincent Gray’s vision to make the District of Columbia the most sustainable city in the United States at a Pledge signing Ceremony, held at the Royal Netherlands Embassy on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. More than 250 people attended.
The pledge, which was coordinated by the U.S. Department of State’s DC Greening Embassies Forum, focused on growing green jobs and strengthening the city that is host to more than 175 foreign delegations. The foreign missions and international organizations agreed to pursue local sustainability initiatives in the areas of transportation, energy & buildings, water conservation, waste reduction, and eco-purchasing.
“Collaboration between the international community and the District of Columbia will delivers real benefits and improve quality of life for District residents and the thousands of international citizens who make Washington their home,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “This pledge also serves as a new, and I believe, unique model for the greening of international capitals—a model that can help spread the benefits of sustainable practices across the globe.”
In July 2011, Mayor Gray announced his intention to make the District the most sustainable city in the United States. The District of Columbia already ranks among the top 10 greenest cities in the United States and Canada. With more than 175 embassies representing nations from around the world, the District enjoys one of the world’s highest densities of foreign missions within the city. These embassies, and numerous other major international institutions, have been some of the first and most aggressive organizations in the city to adopt greener, more sustainable practices
The event also included a “Neighbors in Sustainability” workshop, which focused on efforts already underway to improve the environmental performance of embassies and other international institutions. The District Department of the Environment facilitated the workshop and a presentation by the GoDutch Consortium on how Dutch sustainable urban renewal practices can be replicated in District neighborhoods was also highlighted.
During the ceremony, Mayor Gray congratulated The Royal Netherlands Embassy for its recent LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. “Greening our Embassy building is not something we did just for ourselves – although the money we save is, of course, welcome indeed,” said Dutch Ambassador to the United States, Renée Jones-Bos. “It is something we did because we feel responsible for the environment that we share with our neighbors. This is very much a Dutch approach and we want to share the skills we have acquired in sustainable urban planning. Ever since the Katrina disaster, for instance, we have worked with, and learned from the people of Louisiana and their urban planning challenges. That collaborative spirit I see in this District of Columbia initiative as well. We need each other because no one country or Embassy can take on the challenges of climate, energy and the economy by itself.”
To follow the diplomatic community’s sustainability efforts on Twitter use #GreenEmbassy.
Post Event Update - Event Photos:
Mayor Vincent Gray signs the District of Columbia Diplomatic Missions and International Institutions Environmental Performance, Climate, and Sustainability Pledge as Dutch Ambassador to the US Renee Jones-Bos looks on.
Mayor Gray acknowledges Director Christophe Tulou during the Sustainability Pledge Signing Ceremony.
Ambassadors to the US and guests at the Sustainability Pledge Signing Ceremony.