In February 2020, Mayor John Cooper established a Sustainability Advisory Committee(SAC), and I was asked to serve. Eric Kapstain and Linda Breggin were selected as co-chairs and served admirably in that capacity. Part of our work was passing the resolution to reduce Nashville’s carbon footprint by 50% in 2030 and by 80% in 2050, which was achieved.

We chose to break into sub-committees, and I joined the Mobility Committee. I chose this sub-committee because of my passion for greenways and my interest in promoting our greenway system as an important component of our transportation system, which is essentially carbon-free. And I have an interest in improving our transit system in general, particularly a move to electric buses, including our Metro Nashville Public School bus system. Our school buses, with a fleet of nearly 700 vehicles, currently run on diesel and only get 5-6 miles per dirty gallon. These buses have a 10-15 year cycle, and the current plan is to move from diesel to natural gas or propane. The Mobility Committee has recommended that they make a full pivot to electric. 

The Latest on the Sustainability Advisory Committee

Recommendations for all of the sub-committee within the SAC have been made to the Mayor’s Office, and you can view the full list of recommendations here. The goal now is to put these important goals into practice, and the next step is to be actionable. We have now reconvened into four new groups:

  1. Organizing and Executing Quarterly Educational Offerings for the General Public
  2. Organizing and Executing Educational Offerings for Youth and Families
  3. Advisory Panel for Environmental Justice
  4. Organizing and Executing Business Community Convenings 

I have been asked to co-chair the fourth group, along with Katie Poss and David Ter Kuile, and we have now had our first convening with a group of 15 large businesses that operate in our region. This poses the question:

What Will Nashville Corporations Do to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint, and How Can We Help?

Every corporation needs to be thinking about reducing their carbon footprint in their current buildings, including office, industrial, institutional, etc., as the energy output from buildings comprises about 50% of all the carbon used in our city.

Corporations must also consider how their employees get to and from work, or even if they should continue to allow employees to work remotely because transportation is the #2 carbon emitter in our city. Companies like Amazon have announced that they intend for greater than 50% of their workforce will get to work without a car. Will they use public transportation? Use our greenways?

The corporations that we convened are keenly interested in moving more quickly to electric vehicles and want to focus on enhancing electric vehicle charging systems at the workplace and in the city.

We hope that these corporations can learn from each other, as we have already learned that some robust sustainability initiatives are in place while others do not. We will ask all corporations to pledge to reduce their carbon footprint.

What do you think about this initiative? What is your company doing? Let me know by contacting me today. You can also visit my website here or learn more about the Sustainability Advisory Committee at this website today.