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On January 31, 2012, dignitaries from more than 50 embassies met with Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Dutch Ambassador Renee Jones Bos, and US State Department Under-Secretary Patrick Kennedy at the Royal Netherlands Embassy to sign the District of Columbia Diplomatic Mission and International Institutions Environmental Performance, Climate and Sustainability Pledge.
Working with the United States State Department’s Greening Embassies Forum, the District Department of the Environment launched this initial commitment. Of the 170 embassies in the District, 50 have signed on to the pledge. Over time, DDOE hopes to add additional embassy signatories.
Embassies agreed to pursue sustainability in their design, construction, operations and communications. Examples of their efforts include encouraging their local workforce to use mass transit or other eco-friendly transportation modes; striving to attain environmental building standards (e.g. Energy Star, LEED) in major renovations or new construction; and educating the District’s youth in environmental sustainability.
By pledging to make these efforts, the embassies are proving, as a group, the international sector is a leading player in making the District the most sustainable city in the country. By example, they demonstrate that the solutions to global problems such as energy efficiency and water pollution must find roots in local actions.