on Mar 05, 2013
Sustainable Jersey representatives announced today that ten towns have achieved Sustainable Jersey certification, bringing the total up to 113 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 380 participating communities represent over half of the state's municipalities and nearly 75 percent of its population.
The certification is good for three years. Of the ten towns that were certified in this review cycle, five towns are being certified for the first time and five towns have been recertified:
Municipality County Certification Points
Chatham Township Morris 160
Fort Lee Borough Bergen 170
Franklin Lakes Borough Bergen 160
Franklin Township Somerset 175
Hope Township Warren 150
Mount Olive Township Morris 230
Old Tappan Borough Bergen 150
Paramus Borough Bergen 180
River Edge Borough Bergen 185
West Orange Township Essex 170
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. 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 22 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.”