Virginia Clean Cities is pleased to announce that one of our coalition stakeholders, the City of Charlottesville has officially established a new sustainability office. On November 20, 2023, the Charlottesville Office of Sustainability was established by City Manager Sam Sanders under the City Manager’s Office.
Previously under the City’s Public Works Department, this new office emphasizes the City’s commitment to integrating sustainability and climate goals throughout the whole of government. Sanders, in his report to the City Council on December 4, stated that “This change provides a designation of priority for climate action and elevates its focus to work across the entire city organization as an extension of the City Manager.” In the City’s Strategic Plan Framework, which was adopted in September 2023, Climate Action is one of the City’s strategic outcome areas.
In 2002, Charlottesville launched its formal environmental program. Throughout more than 20 years, the program’s objectives have concentrated on regulatory compliance, pollution prevention, environmental restoration and stewardship, water and energy efficiency, sustainability, and climate work. These efforts have helped support Charlottesville’s Green City vision which is to provide a pathway for a vibrant urban forest, clean air and water, healthy rivers and streams, efficient homes and buildings, and other improved environmental conditions. The city does acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis, and because of this, the City Council adopted a community Climate Action Plan in 2023. This has been formed to work toward achieving goals of significant greenhouse gas reductions. Additionally, Charlottesville has teamed with Albemarle County and the University of Virginia to collaborate on Resilient Together, which is “an initiative to make sure our community is strong, safe, and healthy in the face of a changing climate.”
The effects of strong collaboration with internal, local, and regional partners have allowed for various sustainability projects and programs to be a success. Together, Charlottesville is committed to local environmental action for the good of our community; they are focused on justice and equity, and they strive to have Charlottesville’s efforts to present positive impacts to the global initiative. Kristel Riddervold, Director of the Office of Sustainability, stated that “The Office of Sustainability is a resource for all City departments and is focused on taking a whole-of-government approach to this critical sustainability and climate work. We are also community-facing and will continue to work with residents, businesses, and other partners to achieve our community climate goals and protect the environment. We will do this work while keeping council’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the forefront.”
To learn more about the Office of Sustainability initiatives, visit Charlottesville.gov/GreenCity.