Becoming Sustainable Montréal through action and leadership

The Ville de Montréal is making sustainability a reality. From electrifying transport to promoting urban agriculture, Montréal is enacting policies and initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help create a safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable city.

As host of the ICLEI World Congress 2018, Montréal’s initiative on climate and sustainability will be on display when local and regional leaders from around the world come together to show how they are advancing sustainable urban development worldwide.

Through its Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020 plan, the city is taking on four key priorities:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuel
  • Strengthen biodiversity, increase green space, protect and ensure the efficient use of natural resources
  • Plan on the human scale, ensuring access to healthy, sustainable neighborhoods
  • Transition to a green, circular and responsible economy

Reducing emissions

Prioritizing climate action, Montréal has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. In order to achieve this, the city tracks and reports its emissions as part of Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. This reporting allows the city to identify sectors that are the largest emitters and prioritize mitigation strategies accordingly.

For example, one of Montréal’s main emissions sources is the transport sector.  Montréal has invested in improving public transport, specifically by replacing the city bus fleet with hybrid buses. The public bicycle sharing scheme, BIXI, is also reshaping the transportation culture in the city, offering an active mode of transport that contributes to the health and well-being of the city while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. BIXI offers more than 6250 bicycles available at 540 stations that can be used to travel the approximately 800 kilometers of bike lanes, more than half of which remain accessible throughout the winter months.

Last year alone, BIXI saw an increase in trips by 18 percent, showing how the transportation fabric of the city is becoming more sustainable.

City greening

Montréal is also creating and improving active, accessible green spaces to improve quality of life for residents, and relying on natural measures to reduce vulnerability to heat waves and heavy rainfall.

A biodiversity champion and host of the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat since 1996, Montréal is driving an ambitious city greening agenda. The city is involving the community in initiatives to protect land-based habitat areas and increase the canopy cover from 20 to 25 percent by 2025. The city plans to restore natural areas and promote sustainable forestry and agro-environmental practices across the island. Additionally, the new parc Frédéric-Back is located at the heart of the Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel. This new public space where a landfill was once located will be one of the largest green spaces in the city. By incorporating nature-based solutions into sustainable urban development, cities can increase resource efficiency, resilience and quality of life for residents.

Healthy, sustainable neighborhoods for all

Creating healthy, sustainable neighborhoods demands not only integrated sustainable urban development plans, but also community engagement to support the transition.

Montréal is working directly with residents and communities through Faire Montréal, a collaborative platform to discover and bring together projects that support the city’s sustainability agendas. This participatory platform is a concrete way for organizations of all kinds to make a commitment and contribute to the four key priorities of the Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020 Plan, while taking ownership of the transition in their own neighborhoods and communities. This platform allows the city to capitalize on the energy and innovation of diverse urban stakeholders and communities.

A green, circular economy

As a prosperous city committed to a sustainable future, Montréal is accelerating its transition to a responsible, green, circular economy. The city is taking steps to design waste out of the production process and increase reuse and recycling systems.

For example, the Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel is an ambitious development that now houses a sorting center, composting facilities and an associated biogas power.

In 2016, Montréal also joined the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, a group of 14 cities committed to drive a transition to sustainable consumption and production by implementing sustainable and innovation procurement. The city aims to make use of its economic force to minimize environmental impacts and maximize the socioeconomic benefits of its procurement practices.

These priorities highlight an integrated approach to sustainable urban development – an approach that will be seen in action in June 2018 at the ICLEI World Congress. Many of the specific actions outlined by the city are already underway.  Implementation can be seen through the transformation of the transport system, the greening of municipal buildings as well as public spaces and the mobilization of residents, communities and key stakeholders. Through its actions and leadership, Montreal is setting the standard for urban sustainability and sharing key strategies with local and regional leaders around the world.

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