Sustainable Pittsburgh


Sustainable Pittsburgh Accomplishments

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A collaborative group of over 30 community planners, innovators, nonprofits, community leaders, cyclists, city officials, educators, investors, neighborhood developers, business leaders, and civic partnerships, exploring Bus Rapid Transit for Pittsburgh.

Sustainable Pittsburgh is pleased to be part of the Breathe Project
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12th annual SW
Smart Growth Conference

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Business and Local Government in SWPA "

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Listen to the Walls Street Journal Radio "Green and Alternative Energy Series" - Sustainable Pittsburgh sponsored these short, 60 second radio spots, which explored energy issues including investments, light bulbs, and solar. Listen now.

Greening Southwest PA - A video blog concerning SWPA's municipalities and what they are doing to become more sustainable. Read more.

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2010 Accomplishments


- The Sustainable Community Development Network partnered with 23 organizations to present the 10th Annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference, "Regional Collaboration: Investing in Sustainable Communities." The event was a milestone in elevating smart growth and sustainable community development as essential strategies to regional prosperity. Focus was on alignment with the federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities (with representation from DOT, EPA, and HUD). As a public input session to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission's process of updating the region's Long Range Plan, the some 400 conference attendees identified barriers and solutions to cross-jurisdictional coordination for regional smart growth and sustainable community development. The event also featured announcement of the winners of the Tipping Points for Sustainability Competition. A conference summary is featured at the SP website. Also listen for Peter Calthorpe’s keynote presentation on Sunday, December 5 at 6pm on WDUQ 90.5 FM. The keynote will be available online beginning the next day at

- At the Smart Growth Conference SP released the new online tool, Sustainable Community Essentials
Rapid Assessment
for use by residents and their municipalities to review progress in implementing
sustainability initiatives. This tool will provide a uniform definition, measures, and accepted suite of practices that define community and regional sustainability.

- Developed a collaboration of over 20 organizations to hold a forum on defining and advancing initial planning for Bus Rapid Transit connecting downtown Pittsburgh to Oakland and east communities.

- Signed on to dozens of strategic efforts to raise awareness and urge action on issues related to smart growth, transportation, climate change, energy conservation, children and nature, and more.

- Collaborated with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to create community partnerships and enlist federal assistance in laying the groundwork for creating a Regional Sustainability Plan.

- Developed and advocated for creation of the New Energy Economy Innovation Fund intended to harness a portion of the Marcellus Shale tax to invest in bridging to the renewal energy future.


- Through the Sustainable Solutions consultancy, SP and team completed a comprehensive Sustainability Assessment for the Borough of Wilkinsburg featuring practical recommendations to reduce costs, conserve resources, and integrate the practice of sustainability in management and operations.

- The Champions for Sustainability (C4S) business network continued to involve the region's companies in programs focused on the business case for corporate sustainability issues: technical expertise for addressing regional water infrastructure needs and opportunities; tools for measuring energy efficiency and carbon emissions; green chemistry solutions; alternative energy options; water conservation; certification programs for manufacturers that combat greenwashing by competitors; and communications strategies to get the word out for sustainability-inspired innovations.

- Grew the ranks of the Business Sustainability Coordinators, a group of leading professionals who promote and implement sustainable practices throughout their organizations and collectively as part of a larger business network. The 72 members' collective sustainability actions positively represent over 260,000 employees and millions of customers. They also developed and promoted water savings strategies and resources that were highlighted as part of World Environment Day 2010.

- Implemented a multi-event series on Green Chemistry. Reaching over 220 participants and co-organized with the Rachel Carson Homestead, the series provided expertise and insight into the design of products and systems to reduce their toxicity, how businesses are growing market opportunities by using Green Chemistry as drivers for innovation, and ways federal policy can be changed to reward such innovative companies.

- Partnered with Town Center Associates and Allegheny County Economic Development to create the
Sustainable Business Designation Program to recognize local, sustainable businesses in small towns and business districts in the region. This program has been adopted by a small but growing group of business owners throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

- Continued leadership in engaging the business community in the Business Climate Coalition, serving to springboard energy conservation and carbon reductions.

- Collaborated with the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Environment and Water Resources Institute to facilitate deliberations among regional experts on innovation opportunities based on water infrastructure, skills, and capacities.

- Assisted Cranberry Township in its application to become an ICLEI Star Community Index Beta partner. This relates to development of a national sustainable community standard for which SP will be collaborating to bring to the region.

- Facilitated 9th annual Great Outdoors Week media blitz to focus attention and involvement among the public of the immense variety of outdoor recreation offerings around the region. An estimated 7,000 individuals participated in Great Outdoors Week activities.

- The Walls Are Bad outdoor recreation communications campaign, which serves to build awareness and engage the public in outdoor recreation, featured weekly stories on highlighting various topics about getting outside in southwestern Pennsylvania. Over 21,250 individuals visited the site in 2010. After only 7 months, WAB has garnered 1,200 Facebook fans and over 800 followers on Twitter.


- Hosted several Sustainable Development Academy training programs in partnership with the Local
Government Academy in the areas of municipal energy efficiency, public works, and road maintenance
- Partnered with the Keystone Research Center to present a forum on Assessment of the Geographical
Distribution of Pennsylvania Business Subsidies.

- Conducted a two-day, annual SP strategic planning retreat with the SP Board and office team.

- Each week issued 3E Links, SP's e-newsletter containing resources and events, to over 5,900 individuals.

- Launched “This Sustainable Life,” a regular comic series/new communication tool. View them at

- A variety of media covered SP's policy work over 75 times through articles, op-eds, radio, and television appearances.

- Gave 41 presentations to leadership groups at conferences, civic forums, etc.

- Served on a growing list of advisory panels contributing to the region's sustainable development.

- Received the 2010 Pennsylvania Resources Council award for Sustainability at its Annual Awards Dinner.

Sustainable Pittsburgh was appointed to serve as the lead fiduciary and coordinating entity for Earth Day to World Environment Day 2010 whereby Pittsburgh was designated by the United Nations Environment Programme to serve as North America's Host City. The Pittsburgh World Environment Day Partnership placed the focus strategically on Water Matters! Specific initiatives were deployed to: hasten the pace of the region's embrace of sustainability, elevate public stewardship of water, galvanize water as a key economic cluster and competitive industry for the region, and continue the Pittsburgh story of innovation and revitalization. The $673,703 raised (leveraged another $1.2 million in the community) was deployed (without compensation or administration fee to SP by choice as our thank you to the region) to achieve the following:

- Water Matters! Global Water Conference was integral to the overall strategy of elevating the region's
appreciation of its water resources. Achieving 900 attendees, significant before and after media coverage, and pre- and post-event surveying demonstrated a positive impact.

- A comprehensive web portal was built and maintained throughout the WED six-week period and featured a master calendar of over 200 WED-aligned events (

- 100 colorful banners adorned Pittsburgh streets and corridors.

- The WED Partnership helped implement key events including: Liquid Knowledge: The New Pittsburgh Collaborative Debrief on How Water Matters!; cityLIVE! Water we see & Water we use; Global Youth Water Summit by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh Regional Alliance river cruise for visiting international journalists; and The Bayer USA Foundation Water Matters to Youth, Too! student water workshop.

- Campos Inc.’s Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors Survey to assess pre- and post-six-week WED impact (

- A first for the region, the Regional Water Industry Economic Assessment was developed and
conducted by GSP Consulting. The report is to be released in January 2011.

- Carnegie Mellon University is leading a year-long planning process for the Water Innovation Consortium to: assess the region's unique water assets – in research, business, and the public sector – that can be leveraged to position southwestern Pennsylvania for a leadership role in innovations for water and demonstration projects.

- Paddle at the Point led by Venture Outdoors, achieving 1,619 boats, to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest number of canoes and kayaks on a body of water (waiting for confirmation from Guinness).

- Assisted the Three Rivers Arts Festival on greening activities and infrastructure from recycling to the
hands-on ecological learning about fish that inhabit the three rivers.

- PennFuture implemented the Black and Gold City Goes Green - Water Savers Competition and
collaborated in special related activities at the Carnegie Science Center.

- Sprout Fund deployed the Supporting Biodiversity Mini Grant Program around the region and a special biodiversity symposium.

2010 Sustainable Pittsburgh support provided by:
Allegheny County - Dan Onorato, County Executive
Atkins Family Foundation
BNY Mellon
Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Dollar Bank
Elsie H. Hillman Foundation
FedEx Ground
Pashek Associates
Port Authority of Allegheny County
Richard King Mellon Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
Waste Management

Special thanks to Sustainable Pittsburgh Members!!

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