on Oct 09, 2012
Trenton, NJ – Sustainable Jersey representatives announced today that twenty-four towns have achieved Sustainable Jersey certification, bringing the total up to 125 municipalities that have been certified since the program was launched in 2009. The certified communities are leading the way as many more New Jersey towns are actively working on becoming certified. Sustainable Jersey's 378 participating communities represent over half of the state's municipalities and nearly 75 percent of its population.
Sustainable Jersey helps municipalities address their challenges regardless of where they fall on the spectrum of urban to rural. Included in the most recent list of certified towns are Woodbridge Township in Middlesex County, the City of Camden in Camden County and their smaller counterpart Mount Arlington Borough in Morris County (see full list below).
“Woodbridge Township is pleased to accept the Sustainable Jersey silver-level certification for the fourth consecutive year,” said Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac. “Sustainable Jersey serves as a benchmark for our sustainable initiatives, while providing the Township with additional resources needed to plan for our green future. As a result, Woodbridge has implemented many sustainable initiatives and programs that serve to better manage the ways we use energy and other natural resources at work and home. The Sustainable Jersey program is an important vehicle by which our Township will continue to move into the future as a sustainable and environmentally-conscious community.”
The Borough of Mount Arlington achieved the bronze-level certification. Mount Arlington’s Mayor Art Ondish said, “I couldn't be prouder of our team. Certification has been a challenge, but due to the efforts of our team we have reached this milestone. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is just the beginning. Mount Arlington has always been mindful of our environment. We strive to be sustainable and we’re already in a good place to set our goals. Sustainable Jersey helped us to validate where we were and develop the plans for how to improve. I look forward to the Sustainable Jersey awards luncheon in Atlantic City during the League of Municipalities convention. It’ll be great to celebrate with the other certified towns from this year and past."
Camden was able to use Sustainable Jersey as a focal point to rally non-profit organizations to coordinate with the city and the local utilities authority to make progress on a number of fronts. "I am delighted that our efforts to Keep Camden Clean and Green have allowed the City of Camden to receive a Sustainable Jersey certification. As we continue to revitalize and move our City forward, my Administration will build upon our greening efforts to ensure our residents are able enjoy a quality of life that is second to none," said Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd.
The certification is good for three years. Of the 24 towns that were certified in this review cycle, 16 towns are being certified for the first time and eight towns have been recertified:
|Glen Rock Borough||Bergen||Certified|
|Harrington Park Borough||Bergen||Certified|
|Park Ridge Borough||Bergen||Recertified|
|Mount Holly Twp||Burlington||Certified|
|Gloucester Twp||Camden||Recertified at silver-level|
|Avalon Borough||Cape May||Certified|
|Cape May City||Cape May||Recertified at silver-level|
|Woodbridge Twp||Middlesex||Recertified at silver-level|
|Morris Plains Borough||Morris||Certified|
|Mount Arlington Borough||Morris||Certified|
|Green Brook Twp||Somerset||Certified|
The program is voluntary, but achieving certification is not easy. Each Sustainable Jersey municipality that is certified at the bronze-level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balance of the program’s sustainability actions, meeting a minimum of 150 points. Eleven towns have achieved certification at the more advanced silver-level. Silver-level certification requires that a town meet a minimum of 350 points. Typically a town will select 10-12 actions from a potential list of over 117 actions that include areas such as a commitment to environmental stewardship, community gardens, supporting local businesses, conservation of energy and water and waste reduction and recycling.
In addition to reaching the required points, each community has to create a Green Team and select at least two (for bronze-level) and at least three (for silver-level) of the seven priority actions that include energy audits for municipal buildings, a municipal carbon footprint, a sustainable land use pledge, a natural resource inventory, a water conservation ordinance, a fleet inventory, and/or Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
"Sustainable Jersey is successful," notes Donna Drewes, who co-directs the organization with Randall Solomon, "because it champions community-led decision-making and leadership, rather than mandating a top-down, one-size-fits-all plan for New Jersey." The technical content of the program’s actions are developed with the help of 23 task forces that comprise New Jersey state local officials, experts, non-profit groups, and members of the business community. Recommended best practices/actions are vetted with local government officials. “It’s quite an accomplishment to become Sustainable Jersey certified,” said Pam Mount, Chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “Our certified communities are leading the way with impressive sustainability initiatives in New Jersey while providing a model for towns across the United States.”