Clearwater Sustainability Initiatives

In the past few years, Clearwater has decided to double down on their environmental and sustainability initiatives. The Clearwater Green Print outlines how the community is attempting to become a more green city. One of the main talking points is what exactly is a sustainable city. The report indicates that in order to become a truly sustainable city it must consider economic, social and environmental impacts. Often times individuals and companies strive for monetary success, which is great in its own regard but that tends to leave out social and environmental implications. Likewise, many strictly environmental or social groups focus on a singular green topic and have a hard time providing economic backing to make the plan feasible. Not only does the city need to blend economic, environmental and social issues together, it also must have the foresight to understand how their actions will impact current and future generations.

The Clearwater Green Print mentions eight categories that are involved in becoming sustainable such as food production, transportation, water resources, land use and green energy, etc. Under each category, there are subsections which are comprised of target objectives and indicators. The purpose of these indicators is to measure the progress that is getting done in regards to each target objective for the individual category. For example, if we look at green energy, one of the targets is to decrease the about of carbon getting emitted into the atmosphere. An indicator for this example would be to look at car usage, or the availability of alternative forms of transportation, such was walking, biking, bus and subway systems. Currently, one of Clearwater’s main focuses is to decrease the amount of carbon emissions that it generates. The report sets goals in terms of percentage decreases that it is seeks to see based on 2007’s emissions levels. The town has its sights on decreasing greenhouse emissions by at least 10% by 2020 base on the 2007 baseline. Longer term, the plan hopes to see a 25% reduction in emissions by 2035 based on the 2007 standards.

Image courtesy of

While these goals may seems a tad bit ambitious, it is not detouring other local companies from attempting similar goals. One example of a company that is going all in for improved sustainability, is the Clearwater Paper Company. The Clearwater Paper Company has decided to receive several environmental and sustainability certifications, such as the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The FSC certification focuses on supply chain transparency, so that people are able to know where the wood fibers come from and how they have been harvested. In addition, the FSC also has 10 principles that they consider prior to the start of a project. The topics from these principles range from taking a holistic look at the impacts that the project might have on local communities, equity of workers and their pay, and analysis of company practices, to name a few. While the SFI has many common interests with FSC, it is also unique in its own way. There are several guidelines that all SFI certified projects must follow such as; consideration for vulnerable species, to ensure the project has no negative impacts towards local water sources, limited use of chemical throughout the operation and that all certified companies must invest in furthering forestry science and practices. There is some real synergy when a town and a large employer are both investing in environmental awareness and sustainable practices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *