The Green Ribbon Commission provides a place where the climate conversation can take place – to develop and debate new ideas, policies, and projects – between the City of Boston and its private sector leaders.

A Structured Network

GRC and City leaders believe that by aligning the work of many sectors, Boston can create a greener, healthier and more prosperous city, inspiring other communities across the country and the world.

The GRC works through a structured network of individual Members; sector and cross-cutting Working Groups; and a flexible set of affiliated organizations and experts who form teams to work on various initiatives and projects.  GRC Members and staff consult frequently with City leaders and staff.  The guiding principle is to remain flexible and responsive, as the complexities of tacking climate change evolve in Boston.

The GRC’s approach is data-driven and action-oriented.  For example, knowing that the 50 largest commercial/industrial property accounting for more than 30 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Boston, the GRC has focused on ways to organize the region’s major property owners to exceed the City’s reduction goals.

The three sector Working Groups are Health Care, Higher Education, and Commercial Real Estate (which has an affiliated green hotels group).  With more than 20 hospitals and 100 colleges, plus some 65 million square feet of office space in the Boston area, the sector approach encourages data sharing and the development of best practices among like organizations.

The cross-cutting Working Groups tackle issues that affect multiple sectors, such as the Climate Preparedness Working Group, which addresses the long-term-planning need for reliable, localized, scientific data related to the projected impacts of climate change.

The GRC also produces reports, sponsors conferences and meetings, and helps design projects on a variety of topics in response to the needs of the City and the strategic guidance of Members.  The GRC Members meet formally two times per year, while Working Group meetings are more frequent, and other projects are ongoing.

Examples of Working Group accomplishments and ongoing efforts:

health-care-iconHealth Care: Organizing hospitals to report on their GHG emissions one year ahead of a City ordinance requirement and promoting technologies, policies, and incentives to accelerate the absolute emissions reduction trend among hospitals


Higher Education: Establishing a Renewable Energy Purchasing Network to explore strategies for clean energy procurement; organizing universities (and hospitals) to develop more energy-efficient laboratories.

commercial-real-estate-iconCommercial Real Estate:  Driving significant efficiency-based GHG reductions (16% since 2009) through the Challenge for Sustainability program; developing resiliency strategies for individual buildings and in concert infrastructure management agencies.