Munich, Germany / Aspen, USA, June 30, 2011 -
San Francisco grabbed the mantle of "greenest" major city in the
U.S. and Canada Green City Index, with New York, Seattle, Denver
and Boston rounding out the top five U.S. cities. Vancouver placed
The study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
and commissioned by Siemens, assesses and compares 27 major U.S.
and Canadian cities on environmental performance and policies
across nine categories - CO2 emissions, energy, land use,
buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental
"The Green Cities Index demonstrates that America's cities are
the driving force behind the nation's sustainability efforts," said
Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens Corp.
"Despite the fact that we do not have a federal climate policy
in the United States-and no federal carbon standard-21 of the 27
cities in the index have already set their own carbon reduction
Vancouver tops the
list of Canadian and US cities in the index for its Carbon
Footprint and Air Quality Management. It also ranks in the top 10
of all sub-indices, but trails Ottawa for Land Use, Calgary for
Water Use, Toronto for Waste management.
Cities are creating comprehensive sustainability plans,
utilizing current technology and proving everyday that we don't
have to wait to create a more sustainable future."
The study of U.S. and Canadian cities provided some important
key findings. Notably, cities that performed best in the rankings
are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that
encompass every aspect of creating a greener future including
transportation, land use, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and
And while there is a correlation between wealth and
environmental performance, it is weaker in the U.S. and Canada than
in Europe and Asia.
"City budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but mayors
are leading the charge around making their cities more sustainable
because they know they can't afford to push these decisions off
until tomorrow," said Alison Taylor, Chief Sustainability Officer
for the Americas, Siemens Corp.
"Our goal with the Green City Index is to identify best
practices, advance good ideas and provide a baseline for cities to
help them set targets for themselves so that they can serve as role
models for others with their innovative policies."
The scope of the U.S. and Canada Green City Index is unique. The
nine categories are based on 31 individual indicators - 16 of which
are quantitative (e.g. consumption of water and electricity per
capita, recycling rate, and use of public transportation) and 15
qualitative (e.g. CO2 reduction targets, efficiency standards and
incentives for buildings, and environmental governance).
A key element of the study is the comparability of the results
from each city - within the individual categories and in the
The study also includes in-depth city
portraits that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each urban
center, while also highlighting initiatives and projects from which
other cities can learn.
"Generally speaking, American cities fared well as compared to
other global regions in the areas of air and waste policies as well
as recycling and water infrastructure," said Tony Nash of the
Economist Intelligence Unit.
"While public transportation was well-supported and incentivized
in a number of cities, it was clear that take up is limited outside
of the most densely populated cities.
CO2 emissions and electricity use are also notably higher in the
U.S., but the evolving policy environment at local, state and
national levels are opening up significant areas for
A panel of global experts in urban environmental sustainability
advised the Economist Intelligence Unit in developing the
methodology for the study.
The 27 cities selected were chosen to represent a number of the
most populous metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada.
The list includes the top 20 U.S. combined statistical areas, and
the top 5 Canadian census metropolitan areas.
Expert panelists suggested the addition of Miami and Phoenix due
to population and growth rates. Portland did not make the list
based on the ranking criteria, but is highlighted in the
Announced at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival, the U.S. and Canada
Green City Index is the fifth study in the Green City Index series.
Other indices in the series cover Europe, Latin America, Asia, and
More information on the U.S. and Canada Green City Index: www.siemens.com/press/greencityindex
The full report is available