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GreeningUSA 12 Traits of Sustainable Communities Rating System
Assess, plan and grow!
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Take a closer look at the 12 Traits system

NEW! GreeningUSA's 12 Traits system and Nov. 2012 launch of the Green Bag Lunch Series (presentation slides; pdf, 1.7 MB)


GreeningUSA’s 12 Traits of Sustainable Communities Rating System is designed to help municipalities of any size become more sustainable and realize a variety of economic, environmental and social benefits.

Any existing city, town, village or county that becomes a GreeningUSA Member Community may use the 12 Traits program free of charge as a benefit of their annual membership. Using the 12 Traits, communities can get an accurate picture of their current level of sustainability, allowing them to celebrate successes and identify opportunities for improvement. Thus, the program provides a solid foundation for a community’s “assess, plan and grow” action plan.

The 12 Traits’ in-depth assessment tools make it the most comprehensive community rating system in the country. Community sustainability is measured within 12 distinct areas (traits) of sustainability.

The assessment gives the community a baseline snapshot of how sustainable they are overall and in each specific trait. Based on the community’s overall performance, it is then recognized as achieving one of four award levels: GreeningUSA Member Community, Sustainable Community, Highly Sustainable Community or Highly Sustainable Community of Distinction.

"It is an honor to be named a Sustainable Community by GreeningUSA. As the first community in the nation to complete the 12 Traits of Sustainability assessment, we are proud to be working with GreeningUSA on this innovative program," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. "This assessment will provide the roadmap Syracuse needs to develop a clear and ambitious action plan for making our city a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable community."
GreeningUSA Presents First 'Sustainable Community' Award (May 2011)

Using the 12 Traits’ assessment baseline, the community then creates a vision of how sustainable it wants to be and develops an action plan that will get them there.

This is the going green part. It entails implementing the action plan and monitoring the results/progress.

We hope this brief overview of GreeningUSA’s 12 Traits program, and how it can fit into a municipality’s overall sustainability or community development plan, has motivated you to take action in your own community. Taking the next step…

  • Get a more detailed look at the 12 Traits of Sustainable Communities Rating System.
  • Become a GreeningUSA Member Community and implement the 12 Traits program free of charge.
  • Contact us with your questions or to discuss your community’s particular situation.
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GreeningUSA's 12 Traits Rating System: The most comprehensive community rating system in the U.S.
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