Take a bow. According to Corporate Knights magazine, Edmonton is the No. 1 sustainable large city in Canada. I’m sure that information makes your heart beat fast.
For those of you who have other, more pressing, things to do than read the report, I’ll endeavour to put this accolade into perspective for you.
Edmonton was ranked as a large city and compared to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary. It looks good that when compared to a behemoth like Toronto, we lead the pack. Or so it would seem, until you actually look at the rankings.
The final score put Edmonton ahead of Toronto by .03 per cent. Still, a win is a win isn’t it? But let’s take a closer look at how the number was determined.
One of the five categories measured was something called environmental integrity. We were outscored by Toronto and Ottawa in that area and came pretty close to a tie with Calgary. We were also outscored by Toronto and Ottawa on governance, infrastructure and social well being.
So how on earth did we come in first? Well, that’s because in the area of economic security, we outscored Toronto by a significant margin.
Economic security refers to the health and growth of the economy in a way that balances the needs of all stakeholders, including the environment and the community. Success includes an abundance of responsible, viable businesses. Everyone who wants to work can do so, thanks to a proliferation of green-collar jobs.
I didn’t realize that everyone who wants to work in Edmonton can, and I didn’t realize there’s a proliferation of green-collar jobs.
I thought much of the growth in Edmonton was fuelled by the oilsands, and I thought the number of civil servants in Edmonton was why we have a less-volatile job market than a city like Calgary.
I also thought we had major infrastructure problems related to a distinct lapse in maintenance. But apparently I was dead wrong.
It’s because of the hard work, vision and creativity of our city council and administration that we are such a sustainable city.
– Terence Harding is a corporate communicator and has been a radio and television talk show host, newspaper columnist, and radio commentator. He’s a keen observer of all things Edmonton; firstname.lastname@example.org.