Boston’s sustainability messaging and branding campaign uses digital media and monitoring systems to engage residents in achieving climate goals.

After recognizing that many climate-related projects – such as those related to transportation, air pollution, food, and solid waste – were handled by many different city departments, each with its own brand and logo, Boston officials created the Greenovate Boston to unify the separate brands and establish a broad platform for communication, community engagement, and recognition of achievement. In order to help constituents clearly understand the interrelatedness of the city’s climate programs, Greenovate Boston uses social media and newsletters to reach multiple audiences, and utilizes a state-of-the art system to track and measure how well campaigns and events spur environmental action.

Greenovate Boston’s “Solarize Boston” initiative incentivized installation of residential rooftop photovoltaic systems; in a six-month period in 2012, this program led to 116 projects with a combined capacity of 522 kW. Greenovate Boston has also contributed to a record four billion transit riders in 2014. In the 2014 Greenovate Boston established additional goals for 2020, including 36,000 additional residential home weatherization and significant energy upgrades, 10 MW of additional solar capacity on commercial buildings, and a 5.5% reduction in vehicle miles travelled below 2005 levels.

25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 for the City of Boston, supported by Greenovate Boston

The challenge

Greenovate Boston was designed to ensure that constituents were not just targets of outreach, but active contributors to the content of the program. To solve this challenge, Greenovate Boston took advantage of the rapidly expanding social media universe to spur a variety of climate actions at home, at work, and in communities.


Economic Greenovate Boston’s “Taste the Tap” campaign results in up to $1,400 saved per person each year when residents drink water from the tap instead of bottled water.

Environmental The 2015 Arbor Day event in the city, sponsored by Greenovate Boston, resulted in 216 trees planted, pruned, and mulched across the city.

Health Many Greenovate Boston climate initiatives also have health benefits, such as encouraging Bostonians to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, and to ride a bike or walk rather than driving a single occupancy vehicle.

Social The program catalyzes community building through partnerships with neighborhood organizations and city departments specifically focused on neighborhood action.

About Boston

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston and this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States. The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education, including law, medicine, engineering, and business, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, with nearly 2,000 start-ups. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States as it has undergone gentrification, though it remains high on world livability rankings.

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