Our mission is to catalyze, support and celebrate city-led sustainability and resilience efforts.   

The Sustainability team works with communities across the country to: 

  • activate local and regional sustainability and resilience efforts 
  • provide elected leaders and their staff with convening and peer-learning opportunities, direct technical assistance and leadership training 
  • elevate their successes so that others will be inspired to lead on climate issues. 

Through active participation in our programs and partner networks, U.S. cities are deploying more equitable, sustainable, and resilient solutions. 


Starbucks: Saving Recycling in America 

Today, the recycling industry is in the midst of a global crisis precipitated by China’s latest waste import policy, National Sword. Cities throughout the U.S., as well as private haulers and operators of materials recovery facilities (MRFs), must reevaluate their operations and policies in order to adapt and maintain viable municipal materials management systems. 

NLC partnered with Starbucks to produce a guide for cities looking to pursue innovative solutions and embrace zero waste systems in response to these changes. 

The WaterNow Alliance: Jumpstart Sustainable Water Solutions in Your Community 

Cities have an obligation to maintain clean, healthy water for their citizens, and local governments construct, operate and maintain between 95-98 percent of the country’s water infrastructure networks. 

NLC has partnered with the WaterNow Alliance to build a network of local elected officials with decision-making authority over their municipal water utilities. Together, we’re promoting innovative practices that accelerate green infrastructure, encourage greater urban water efficiency and promote watershed health. 

EcoAmerica: Building Institutional Leadership, Public Support and Political Will for Climate Solutions in the United States. 

The National League of Cities and ecoAmerica are proud to collaborate on an engagement program that supports NLC members in their efforts to promote renewable energy, clean air and climate solutions. 

Our  Path to Positive Communities program helps cities and counties: 

  • Demonstrate visible climate leadership 
  • Create climate literate local leaders 
  • Engage their communities and citizens 
  • Accelerate collective action 

SolSmart: Recognizing Leading Solar Communities  

The National League of Cities (NLC) supports local solar energy leadership and is a proud partner of SolSmart, a national designation and technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. SolSmart promotes the use of best practices by local governments to ensure greater ease and affordability for residents and businesses to install and access solar energy. NLC and the SolSmart team can provide solar technical assistance and best practice guidance on a variety of topics that are important to local governments including permitting and inspection, planning and zoning, and community engagement. This assistance comes at no cost to the community! 

Leadership in Community Resilience

The Leadership in Community Resilience program brings together a cohort of small and medium-sized cities to share their experiences and advance local resilience efforts while demonstrating a commitment to building equitable climate resilience in their respective communities. 

More of our cohorts…