Named the highest-ranking North American city in the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, Vancouver is leading the charge across the continent in social, environmental and economic sustainability efforts. The Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index ranks 100 global cities on three dimensions of sustainability - People, Planet and Profit - to capture a snapshot of the health and wealth of cities in present and future. Vancouver took the top spot in North America (23rd globally), followed by New York (26th), Montreal (28th) and Toronto (33rd).
Vancouver scored well in a number of categories, notably air pollution – the city received the highest score worldwide in this measure. With the lowest carbon footprint of any major city in North America, Vancouver has a number of policies and programs in place to reduce emissions, stemming from the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan. The action plan has attracted global attention and took centre stage at the Paris COP21 Climate Change Summit, where Vancouver was honoured with the coveted C40 Cities Award.
Vancouver also scored well in terms of transit infrastructure. The city boasts an extensive network of bike lanes and car sharing co-ops, and a new bike share program was introduced in August 2016. An accessible transit system combined with a walkable downtown core make it easy and eco-friendly to get around.
This is the first year Vancouver has been recognized by the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, whose inaugural report was published in 2015.