When Mayor Garcetti appointed me L.A.’s chief sustainability officer—the first in the City’s history—I understood that he expected me and my team to run a marathon at a sprinter’s pace. Time is a luxury we don’t have, as the planet grows warmer, carbon levels rise and Earth’s natural resources, such as life-sustaining conifer forests and coral reefs, retreat.
Three years later, I am happy to report we have not slowed down — in fact, we’re gaining speed. We released the Sustainable City pLAn on April 8, 2015, setting a vision and a road map for a cleaner environment, a stronger economy and a more equitable society. This comprehensive road map sets time-bound, measurable targets. While we set long-term targets to achieve by 2025 and 2035, the first goals for 2017 come due at the end of this year, and the news is good: we have completed ahead of schedule, or are on track to complete over 90% (56 out of 61) of our outcomes for 2017. And we even have achieved 2 of our 2025 outcomes early.
The implementation of pLAn has helped grow and build an unwavering commitment to sustainability, sparking a culture of collaboration across the City’s departments and bureaus. For example, our pLAn target to require 50% of all vehicles we procure annually to be pure battery electric vehicles (EV). This helped unlock innovation between our L.A. Police Department, Bureau of Engineering, and L.A. Department of Water and Power to put in place the necessary power infrastructure, install 104 EV chargers in one parking structure, and procure 100 battery EVs — all in eight months. This is not only record speed, it shows the women and men that work for our great city want to help unlock innovation, reduce emissions, and save up to 61% on the total cost of vehicle ownership (versus conventional gasoline vehicles).