ICLEI was inspired to launch the Green City Index at CGI 2007 because of ICLEI's experience at previous CGI meetings. The platform and audience of CGI offers a unique time and place for the launch of the Green City Index both by virtue of the CGI emphasis on launching new initiatives that make a difference, and the opportunity to highlight a new long-term partnership between three institutions that have been the vanguard of supporting tangible environmental progress at the local level. ICLEI, along with its key partners to the Green City Index - the US Green Building Council and the Center for American Progress - believes that the Green City Index holds great potential to become the leading benchmark for environmental policies and practices implemented by cities, and to advance broader local leadership and deeper action to address sustainability at the local level. CGI offers an unparalleled opportunity to quickly raise the profile of this initiative to an influential audience that will play an important role in its long-term success, and a mechanism for attracting additional stakeholders and financial resources needed to help the Green City Index reach its full potential.
The Green City Index (GCI) is inspired by the success of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system developed by USGBC. The GCI will provide a standardized platform and methodology for evaluating the climate protection and environmental performance of cities and broader communities based on scientifically informed criteria, enabling the demonstration of progress, recognition of superior community design and function, and comparative analysis internationally between cities. The GCI will provide a much needed roadmap for local governments to follow as they continue to chart the development of their communities on a sustainable path as well as assist cities in their decision-making processes to pursue different actions and policies to achieve increased levels of climate protection and sustainability.
Tools already in development that will fortify the GCI include an advanced 'next generation' greenhouse gas emissions analysis and tracking software tool, and the Climate and Air Pollution Planning Assistant (CAPPA) tool. CAPPA is an online decision support tool that ICLEI will offer to cities to help guide them towards prioritizing and implementing the strongest possible climate actions. CAPPA and the 'next generation' GHG emissions analysis and tracking software tool are slated for launch in the first quarter of 2008.
A primary indicator for measuring success of the Green City Index will be the number of cities that pursue certification via this rating system. Additional indicators will include:
- The number of partners and expert stakeholders that participate in the initiative
- The integrity of the standards and the global uptake of the Green City Index
- Progression of participating cities to higher levels within the index driven by the imperative to achieve certain levels of GHG reductions and broad reductions in environmental impacts
- Adoption of green building / clean energy policies by participating local governments
- Utilization of the Green City Index as a benchmark in policy development that informs higher policy levels (i.e., state, national, international)
Through the CGI, ICLEI, USGBC and CAP are seeking to:
- Identify additional, appropriate expert stakeholders for the Green City Index
- Raise awareness of the initiative to ensure swift and broad uptake by cities
- Motivate donations and/or grants to resource the Green City Index