Green Riverside: Riverside, Calif.
Photo Credit: City of Riverside, Calif.
The City of Riverside, Calif.’s sustainability story began in 2001, when the city decided to switch all city traffic lights to light- emitting diodes (LEDs) as a way to reduce energy costs and visibly demonstrate the city’s commitment to sustainability. Since then, Riverside has embarked on numerous, innovative projects targeted at creating a more sustainable city, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reducing waste. In 2005, Riverside created a cohesive, multifunctional marketing campaign to coordinate the numerous sustainability initiatives that the city was undertaking and inform residents of the city’s progress. Today, the city has successfully branded this campaign as Green Riverside, a program that utilizes a variety of social media tools to actively engage and keep residents informed of the city’s sustainability initiatives.
Much of Green Riverside’s success can be attributed to coordinated and creative marketing efforts to inform residents about local initiatives and keep them excited about current and future programs. The following list provides an overview of some of the main strategies used by Green Riverside:
- Create a sustainability “brand.” By branding Green Riverside with a unique logo, the city created a visible marker that residents can quickly and easily identify on websites, publications, reports and events.
- Consolidate the details. By providing a singular resource or “one-stop shop,” such as Green Riverside’s website, residents are able to go to one place and find out about the whole range of ongoing sustainability efforts in the city.
- Utilize media. Mike Bacich, the Sustainability Officer for the City of Riverside, and Ryan Bullard, the city’s Sustainability Coordinator, together host a radio show that is dedicated solely to sustainability topics. During the radio show, they market the city’s current initiatives and also have discussions about the latest sustainability topics as a way to engage residents.
- Educate and encourage through outreach. Green Riverside also shows off its progress in many of the sustainability areas using other creative methods, such as spotlighting progress on the back of residents’ utility bills, posting topical banners and distributing handouts at various community events.
- A simple, clear brand helps residents quickly and easily identify city-led sustainability initiatives. Cohesively framing and branding sustainability is also helpful in identifying opportunities for collaboration within internal city operations.
- Establishing and maintaining partnerships and coalitions between various stakeholder groups, such as faith organizations, non-profits and engaged residents, is one way to propel city sustainability initiatives forward.
- Communicating accomplishments to residents is a great way to build support, sustain momentum and increase engagement. Find creative ways to show off the progress your city is making, and recognize leadership throughout the community.
- A team or committee that holds the city accountable and oversees the implementation of a plan is important to ensure that goals and targets are met in a timely manner.
For More Information
Assistant General Manager, Sustainability Officer, City of Riverside
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Riverside