Vancouver aims to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, in large part by developing green jobs and industries and promoting sustainable local food systems.

Vancouver’s 2011 Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) sets the overall sustainability direction for this Canadian city’s future development, focusing on job creation, carbon emissions reduction, and local food systems, in the hopes of becoming the greenest city in the world. Green jobs and local food systems play a major role in this plan. By 2020, the GCAP aims to double the number of green jobs and green companies, and action is already being taken. Since 2010, green building design and construction jobs have increased by 50%. Similarly, local food jobs have grown by 21% and green transportation-related jobs have grown by 19%, largely through local electric vehicle infrastructure projects and increasing demand for car-sharing services.

33% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 based on 2007 levels

Cities100 – 2015

Aside from green job growth and local food systems, Vancouver’s GCAP also requires all new buildings from 2020 onwards to be carbon neutral and that the volume of solid waste going to the landfill or the incinerator be reduced by 50%. In all, the city’s nearly 170 actions completed or underway ensure that GCAP targets will be achieved and that the city is transparent and accountable for its progress.

The challenge

Vancouver’s population is constantly growing, and its coastal location makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Even so, the ambitious GCAP builds on decades of positive climate action and will help Vancouver achieve its climate goals, such as reducing its ecological footprint by 33% and exceeding the highest regional, national, and WHO air quality guidelines.


Economic The plan is dedicated to creating more green jobs. Currently, 20,000 people in Vancouver, nearly one in 20, have a job in a green or local food-related industry.

Environmental Vancouver’s GCAP plan aims to reduce per capita water consumption by 33% by 2020.

 Health The plan promotes active transportation infrastructure and local food suppliers, in part, to help lower obesity rates and improve overall health outcomes.

Social By empowering residents to grow their own food, and in providing access to community gardens and mobile food markets, GCAP improves food security, food justice, health, and citizens’ well-being.

About Vancouver

Vancouver is a coastal seaport city in Canada. As the most populous city in the province, the 2016 census recorded 631,486 people in the city. Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada with over 5,400 people per square kilometre. Vancouver is classed as a Beta global city. Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top-ten of the world’s most well-living cities for five consecutive years. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban centre surrounded by nature, making tourism its second-largest industry.

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