picture of runner jogging on paved trail alongside Grand River


We develop and implement the City's Sustainability Plan through various initiatives. 

We're committed to sustainability. This means we work to provide the most effective and efficient services possible. We consider how our policies, programs and plans impact:
  • People
  • The environment
  • The business community

When you think about sustainability, your first thoughts are probably about environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability refers to how decisions impact land, air and water, but sustainability reaches beyond just that.

Another common impression about sustainability is that it refers to Corporate Social Responsibility. This focuses on a businesses' philanthropic giving or social equity. Many companies adopt Triple Bottom Line (TBL) practices. They use the TBL to measure how their decisions affect not only their profits, but people and the planet, too. A TBL approach assesses impacts on financial, social and environmental areas.

Business, non-profit, government and individual decisions have impacts on each of these three areas. Developing a TBL approach doesn't attempt to make the impacts on each of these equal. Rather, it ensures that impacts on these three guide decision making.

Quadruple Bottom Line

In 2016, we expanded our TBL approach to the Quadruple Bottom Line (QBL). This means we now measure sustainability using these pillars:

To do this we consider how our policies, plans and programs impact:

  • People
  • Planet
  • Prosperity

We're striving to be the best city government you could hope for. We work to be as responsive, transparent, accessible and fiscally resilient as possible.

Sustainability Plan 

We assess Grand Rapids' economic, social, environmental and governance goals and outcomes. Our Sustainability Plan is the five year strategic plan for the City. The Sustainability Plan focuses on making City operations more sustainable. Take a look at our most recent plan to check out how Grand Rapids has become more resilient, healthier and a better place to live.

Sustainability Plan Progress Report Presentation - November 21, 2017(PDF, 9MB)

Sustainability Plan FY17 - FY21(PDF, 1MB)

5th Year Progress Report Sustainability Plan FY11 - FY15(PDF, 8MB)

Community Triple Bottom Line Indicator Report 2008(PDF, 2MB)

Sustainability Plan 2006(PDF, 288KB)

We're sharing our sustainability story! Check out the links below to see what we're up to.










Over the years we've been publicly recognized for our sustainable practices. Below are articles citing our permanent rankings.


Energy Services Coalition, Michigan Chapter, 2017 Leadership in Energy Efficiency Award for energy improvements at our Lake Michigan Filtration Plant



City of Grand Rapids accepted into first ever Racial Equity Here Cohort with Government Alliance for Race and Equity (GARE)

GRFD becomes accredited agency



Emerging 2030 District Designation

Battle of The Buildings 2nd Place Public Buildings

World's 1st Habitat for Humanity Home

Expanding Excellence Award for Innovation in Customer Service (Water System partnership with 311)



Lonley Planet top 10 US travel desitnation for 2014



DDA Wins Excellence Award



#1 in number of LEED certified buildings per capita - for mid-sized cities - in the U.S

#5 in the number of LEED certified buildings per capita overall in the U.S.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Most Sustainable Mid-Sized City



1st LEED platinum multi-family facility in Michigan



1st LEED Public Art Museum



1st U.S. city to be recognized as a Regional Centre of Expertise

1st Inland City to Join the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

1st LEED certified YMCA



1st LEED Public Transit Station



1st LEED municipal building: Water & Environmental Services

World's 1st LEED-certified school