A woman plugs in her electric vehicles for charging in clean greenest city Vancouver

Greenest City

A pioneer city for clean working and living – Vancouver's favourite colour is green

Vancouver businesses and residents are naturally inclined towards maintaining a clean city – after all, the coastal destination is renowned for its natural assets, including over 230 parks, nine beaches and 22 kilometres of walkable waterfront. This passion for clean living and working has inspired initiatives such as the Renewable City Strategy, which promises to derive 100 percent energy use from renewable sources by 2050, and Zero Waste 2040, which outlines a plan to achieve zero waste by 2040. With businesses, individuals and government uniting to build a cleaner, more sustainably minded city, it’s no wonder Vancouver’s clean industries (and clean jobs) are rapidly expanding.

In Vancouver, our close connection to the outdoors provides a unique competitive advantage in a world struggling to deal with environmental issues. Building on the City of Vancouver’s greenest city goals of 2010-2020, the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) seeks to cut carbon pollution from two major sources: vehicles and buildings. Following CEAP’s finalization, Vancouver Economic Commission introduced the Zero Emissions Economic Transition Plan (ZEETAP), a three-year strategy to help workers and businesses navigate the transition to a net-zero economy.

Clean city technology

Vancouver is at the forefront of cleantech innovation, housing one of the world’s top cleantech clusters. Seventy-five percent of the 230+ cleantech companies in BC are based in Metro Vancouver, employing more than 4,750 people. The city is also home to the world’s largest hydrogen and fuel cell industry, with 16 percent global market share.

Concern for the environment motivates Vancouver’s entrepreneurs to produce clean technology with worldwide demand. Homegrown companies such as Westport Fuel Systems (clean-burning alternative fuels), Ballard (hydrogen fuel cells) and Saltworks (advanced water treatment solutions) are leaders in their field. Companies with big commercial potential include Portable Electric (portable renewable energy systems), Nano-lit (lighting systems that replicate the benefits of sunlight) and Enterra (sustainable animal feed and fertilizer). There are also programs like Project Greenlight, which forges partnerships between major enterprises – including transit authorities, energy providers and municipalities – and innovators whose clean solutions support decarbonization, optimize asset performance, and accelerate smart and sustainable transformation.


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Vancouver has the world’s only convention centre to receive the top-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for environmental sustainability.
Vancouver has the world’s only convention centre to receive the top-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for environmental sustainability.

Clean, greenest city construction

Green buildings and construction is the number one employer in Vancouver’s green economy – and the sector promises to expand with the City of Vancouver pledging to transition to zero emission buildings in all new construction by 2030. Vancouver’s expertise in green building design, architecture, planning and engineering is guiding major global developments as international cities replicate the “Vancouver model.” Today, in the world of architecture and urban planning, “Vancouverism” is shorthand for “sustainable urban development.”

Zero-emissions infrastructure can be seen across the city. Notable examples are Vancouver International Airport (YVR), which is already carbon-neutral and plans to achieve net zero operations by 2030; the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is double LEED Platinum Certified and the first convention centre in the world to earn the LEED Platinum honour; and Brock Commons Tallwood House at the University of the British Columbia, a shining example of mass timber construction – an eco-friendly alternative to steel and reinforced concrete.

Clean city food

Clean living and working also extends to local food. Vancouver’s food businesses have long embraced the benefits of buying locally and supporting nearby growers and producers. The next step: working to resolve the interrelated systemic issues of food waste and food insecurity. Vancouver Economic Commission and City of Vancouver are actively engaging in a transition towards a just circular economy of food, which is outlined in the report “A ‘Right to Food’ Framework for Tackling Food Waste and Achieving a Just Circular Economy of Food in Vancouver, British Columbia”.