January 22, 2022


Think Once, Think Twice, Thaink Travel.

Edmonton becomes first city in Western Canada to join global index tracking environmental sustainability as a tourism destination

4 min read

Article content

Edmonton will be the first city in Western Canada to be graded on its environmental efforts through an international index in a bid to become a more attractive tourism destination.


Article content

Through the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index, Edmonton’s energy efficiency strategies will be benchmarked and compared with cities across the globe. Explore Edmonton, the city’s visitor economy branch, is leading the initiative to learn where improvements in sustainability can be made.

Melissa Radu, director of social and environmental sustainability, said enrolling in the global index will allow the city to learn from other cities and make improvements in areas such as waste management, biodiversity protection and carbon emissions.

“We know more and more people are becoming more intentional about how they travel, where they choose to travel and how travel decisions are making an impact,” Radu said in an interview with Postmedia Tuesday. “It’s going to allow us to take an internal look at our destination compared to others, look at best practices from around the globe and start to form what the future of our destination will be on the sustainability front.”


Article content

With wildfires and heat waves having a significant impact on this Alberta summer, Radu said it is clear climate change is top of mind for many Edmontonians who want to see the city take action. A pre-pandemic survey found 74 per cent of Edmontonians are concerned about climate change and city council declared a state of climate emergency two years ago.

“When we travel, so much of what we do is actually related to carbon emissions, from how we get there, to where we stay, what we consume and maybe even what we buy as souvenirs. But what’s not as easy is navigating through all the different options in travel and tourism and choosing the one that we know is the most responsible,” Radu said. “By joining the GDS, we’ll be able to work with partners across the city to have that education more readily available to make those options accessible to visitors who are coming to our city.”


Article content

Radu said this is one step of the city’s plan to meet the Edmonton Declaration with the goal of limiting global warming to an increase of 1.5 Celsius. The Clean Energy Improvement Program is another planned initiative that will face a public hearing by city council Thursday before it can be enacted. The two-year pilot program would provide $9.7 million for energy upgrades in about 80 residential projects and 20 commercial upgrades.

Funds given out for the upgrades would be paid back through a clean energy improvement tax until it is repaid. The program is intended to be funded through an $8.4-million loan and $1.3-million grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and launch in the fall. It is expected to create between 66 and 71 jobs.

Joining the GDS program cost the city about $5,000, Radu said, and the first annual results are expected to be released publicly by the end of the year.

[email protected]




Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.