Our mission: 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; and
  • 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.

Meet the SCI Staff

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Cooper Martin
Director, Sustainability

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Anna Marandi
Senior Associate

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Nick Kasza
Principal Associate


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.

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

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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 inspires and empowers local climate leadership in America’s cities, towns, and counties. Through Path to Positive Communities, ecoAmerica helps cities and counties:

  • Demonstrate Visible Climate Leadership
  • Create Climate Literate Local Leaders
  • Engage their Communities and Citizens
  • Accelerate Collective Action

One of the most important skills for local elected officials is leading their community in productive and civil debate, particularly in today’s political environment. You need to communicate with your residents using messages that are clear, positive, inclusive, and relevant to their concerns. Nowhere is this more challenging than on issues related to climate and environmental policy.

A key step is to ensure that mayors are well equipped to communicate local climate solutions to leaders and residents.

This partnership provides that support. Featuring research-proven practices for successful climate communication, we can help every community leader sharpen their climate communications skills. From talking points to counterpoints, “dos” and “don’ts,” proven steps to create your own custom message, and a model speech, the partnership helps you to successfully integrate climate into conversations, speaking engagements, and other communications.

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Cities Harnessing the Sun: Solar Designation and Consulting Services through SolSmart

The Sustainable Cities Institute is proud to be part of the SolSmart team, helping cities throughout the United States capitalize on a booming solar energy market and providing citizens the option of more affordable and accessible renewable energy. SolSmart, funded by U.S. Department of Energy, is designed to nationally recognize local solar achievements. Additionally, SolSmart will empower new communities to become solar leaders and achieve national designation through no-cost technical assistance provided by the Sustainable Cities Institute and a team of national solar experts. Our team will work with elected officials, city staff, and community members to help cities update their solar processes using established best practices. 

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Community Resilience

Leadership in Community Resilience

The Leadership in Community Resilience program brings together a cohort of cities to share their experiences and advance local resilience efforts. Now in its second year, the program promotes peer learning and offers a network of technical assistance partners to strengthen public engagement, train staff, improve resource management practices and more.

NLC’s Leadership in Community Resilience program selects a cohort of small and medium-sized cities from across the United States whose elected officials and staff demonstrate a commitment to building equitable climate resilience in their respective communities. Now in its third year, the program offers customized technical assistance, peer-learning opportunities, and the potential for city projects to serve as a model for other cities facing climate impacts. NLC’s goal is to support cities as they grow and enhance their community engagement efforts, relevant staff trainings, resource management practices, emergency preparedness efforts and other resilience-building plans and programs.