IHG Travel Blog

How Vancouver lives up to its “Greenest City” status

vancouver greenest city

Motivated by its reputation as the “Greenest City”, Vancouver created an extensive 2020 action plan to turn its adopted nickname into a measurable reality. While the city’s population has increased 27 percent, Vancouver has actually lowered greenhouse gas emissions by five percent. Numerous projects are underway to continue shaping Vancouver into an exemplary ideal of sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Image via Shutterstock by Chase Clausen

Renewable Energy Sources

A stunning 93 percent of Vancouver’s electricity comes from renewable sources. The city uses neighborhood-scale renewable energy systems like the Southeast False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility with greenhouse gas emissions 55 percent lower than conventional technologies. The Greenest City Fund supports projects that reduce Vancouver’s footprint even further, such as Project Green Bloc, which challenges residents of the Riley Park neighborhood to shrink their ecological footprints by 25 percent over three years.

Greener businesses

Vancouver plans to double the number of companies that are actively “greening” their operations by 2020. The city already draws many inherently green companies, such as Plastic Bank, which exchanges plastic for cash, services, and other items of value, then recycles the waste to create ethically sourced plastic. The Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre, an IHG Green Engage™ hotel, uses an online tool to track its daily impact on the environment. The system provides valuable data on the hotel’s energy, water, carbon use and waste management, plus more than 200 solutions that promote greener operations.

Access to green spaces & eco-friendly transportation

Whether touring beehives or visiting the grizzly bear habitat at the Grouse Mountain Refuge, Vancouver’s wild side is never far away. Over 92 percent of Vancouver is within a five-minute walk of a green space. In 2014, Vancouver removed a bylaw allowing property owners to cut down one healthy tree per year, and passed the Urban Forest Strategy Framework with the goal of growing the city’s canopy back to 22 percent by 2055. Green spaces in the city range from quaint city parks to stunning attractions such as the VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory.

TransLink buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and the city’s bike-friendly nature offer plenty of earth-loving transportation options. A public bike share program is in the works that will offer short-term bike use, with 125 stations located throughout the city—perfect for visitors!

Local, Sustainably Grown Food

Local food is the largest source of green jobs in Vancouver, accounting for 13 percent of green job growth in the city’s 2020 plan. The city plans to increase local food production with a growing number of community garden plots, urban orchards, urban farms. These foods are made available for consumption at community kitchens, farmers markets, and community produce stands. Many Vancouver restaurants support sustainable dining as well, with local products on the menu. The Green Table Network certifies green restaurants based on their purchasing methods, waste production, pollution prevention, and water and energy conservation

Whether you live in Vancouver, or simply enjoy the clean air, water and green spaces as an admiring visitor, this city is the place to be for anyone that appreciates green practices and believes in maintaining a small carbon footprint. Find an IHG® hotel in Vancouver and experience the city’s dedication to creating an environmentally responsible future.

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