Birmingham receives achievement in sustainability

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 17, 2024


BIRMINGHAM — The city of Birmingham earned a gold seal of achievement in the Michigan Green Communities Challenge, a program promoted as providing best practices and recognition for sustainability efforts.

“We did our first one two years ago, and we hope to do it every year moving forward, because it’s such a great program,” Birmingham Planning Director Nicholas Dupuis said.

Birmingham previously has earned the silver seal of achievement.

Dupuis said they were likely able to make the jump from silver to gold this year due to the sustainability and climate action plan that the city is writing.

The Michigan Green Communities Challenge is a statewide program that encourages communities to track their efforts towards sustainability. The success of participating communities is measured by the completion of action items set by the program.

Action items cover progress in energy efficiency, climate adaptation and resilience, recycling, environmental justice, and more.

Michigan Green Communities Coordinator Danielle Beard said they worked with subject matter experts, local governments and state agencies to create a list of action items that “encompass a full spectrum of activities that a local government in Michigan, including cities, villages, townships and counties, might come across.”

This year, 43 cities, 11 townships, seven counties and two villages participated in the challenge. Available seals of achievement include bronze, silver, gold or platinum. Platinum was recently added, but no communities reached this status this year.

Of the participants, 36 communities achieved gold seals, 20 achieved silver seals and seven achieved bronze seals. Other local communities that received gold status include Berkley, Ferndale, Oakland County, Macomb County, Royal Oak, Southfield and many more.

“​​The thing that we hear most often from our participants is that it really simplifies sustainability planning for them,” Beard said.

Not only do the action items provide a framework for recognition, but they can act as a roadmap for governments looking for best practices to implement in their communities, participants said.

The Michigan Green Communities Challenge is a free program for all Michigan local governments. The program is supported by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; the Michigan Department of Transportation; the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; the Michigan Association of Counties; the Michigan Municipal League; and the Michigan Townships Association. EGLE and MEDC fund the Michigan Green Communities challenge through in-kind staffing support from the MML.

Dupuis said he hopes the city’s earning of a gold seal of achievement shows the community that they are committed to continuously improving sustainability in Birmingham.

For more information on the Michigan Green Communities Challenge, visit