Grand Rapids recognized for environmental leadership

Published on May 15, 2023

Michigan Green Communities Challenge - Gold Award

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – The City of Grand Rapids has achieved gold status for its environmental leadership. The Michigan Green Communities (MGC) program recognized the City as part of its annual Michigan Green Communities Challenge.

The City achieved gold status for exemplary action in multiple categories, including planning for inclusive and lasting impacts, climate resilience and adaptation, responsibly managing materials, energy efficiency and renewable energy, clean and inclusive mobility, water conservation, and community engagement. Specifically, the MGC recognized these Grand Rapids environmental initiatives:

  • An approved citywide Strategic Plan update that features sustainability as one of six core values and health and environment as one of the plan’s six strategic priorities and focuses on carbon reductions, increasing and enhancing green space, water quality, waste minimization and diversion, and health disparities
  • Collaborating on the E.H.Zero initiative working to identify policies and programs that can reduce the energy and carbon footprint of buildings (both commercial and residential) throughout the community with a health focus and equity lens
  • Climate Action and Adaptation Plan engagement in partnership with community stakeholders

“The City of Grand Rapids has a legacy of achieving gold status recognition from the MGC Challenge dating back to 2013 and continues to use the MGC Challenge as a benchmark to further our sustainability work,” said Annabelle Wilkinson, the City’s environmental and climate justice specialist. “We are grateful the Michigan Green Communities Network provides for the opportunity to share our sustainability solutions with and learn from other communities across the state.”

The Michigan Green Communities (MGC) program is open to all local governments in Michigan, at no cost. Local governments may receive bronze, silver or gold seals of achievement reflecting community leadership in areas such as energy efficiency, climate adaptation and resilience, recycling, environmental justice and more. MGC is a sustainability networking, benchmarking, and technical assistance program. It guides and supports communities in adapting to a changing climate, protecting infrastructure, improving the quality of life for residents, and creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable future for the state of Michigan.

Michigan Green Communities is supported by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; the Michigan Department of Transportation; the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; the Michigan Association of Counties; the Michigan Municipal League; and the Michigan Townships Association.

More details about this program can be found at

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