Mecklenburg County just took a HUGE STEP FORWARD in committing to environmental sustainability and racial equity in all of its operations! At the March 16th Mecklenburg County Commission meeting, the Environmental Leadership Policy and Action Plan were unanimously adopted.
Earlier this year, Sustain Charlotte joined with 12 other organizations in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Climate Leaders group in writing a public comment letter on the draft policy and action plan. Read that letter here.
The adopted policy focuses on the County taking results-oriented steps to align operations in support of current
and future pollution reduction, resource conservation, and climate preparedness initiatives.
The Action Plan's framework focuses on 4 key areas:
- Facilities & Fleet (vehicles)
- Natural Environment
- Policies & Partnerships
Given Sustain Charlotte's focus on sustainable land use and transportation, we are pleased to see policy commitments (noted by an *asterisk* in the image above) including achieving net-zero carbon energy use in buildings by 2035 (includes offsets) and a 6.7% annual reduction in the amount of fuel used by the County fleet.
The policy includes a clear commitment to racial equity, which it defines as "The fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all people while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups."
Here are the 3 guiding questions that will be asked to center County decisions, policies, and programs in racial equity:
How will the racial equity focus help to advance environmental justice for all people? The first way is by supporting fair treatment, which means that all people have the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. The second way is by supporting meaningful involvement through equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment.
Many County staff and elected officials have worked hard to align this plan with nationally recognized best practices. We especially want to recognize the BOCC Environmental Stewardship Committee Chair Elaine Powell (District 1) for her tireless commitment to a healthy environment for all and for asking all the right questions to bring this policy to reality!
Read the full adopted documents: