Becoming A Star-Certified Community
Led by the Office of Sustainability, the City of St. Petersburg has begun a year-long robust sustainability assessment that will look at a wide range of sustainability objectives, So far, Office of Sustainability has engaged over 50 folks in nearly every city department, held a public City Council workshop, and worked with STAR technical experts to begin data gathering…and we are only about 10% complete as of January 2016. The goal is to be STAR-certified no later than October 2016.
Stay tuned as the Office of Sustainability provides updates on progress and works with additional city staff, elected officials, stakeholders, community organizations, and county, state, and national organizations to become certified.
What Is The Star Community Rating System?
The STAR Community Rating System is the nation’s first comprehensive framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, encompassing economic, environmental and social performance measures. STAR was developed for local governments by local governments. Nearly 200 volunteers representing 50 cities and counties, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, national associations, universities, utilities and private corporations contributed thousands of hours and diverse expertise to the development of the STAR Community Rating System. Local leaders use the rating system’s evaluation measures to assess their current level of sustainability, set targets for moving ahead, and measure progress along the way.
Why Is Star Communities Needed?
Sustainability means different things to different people, so STAR provides a clear, data-driven approach to assessing communities’ sustainability efforts. The STAR framework helps communities assess their efforts in seven key areas and define sustainability for themselves. This robust framework is necessary for communities to credibly track their progress toward overall sustainability objectives and to allow communities to compare progress with each other.
What Is In The Rating System?
The STAR Community Rating System is organized around 7 thematic Goal Areas + an Innovation and Process Opportunity:
- See the STAR Goal Areas and Objectives Chart.
How Does It Work?
Communities sign up as a Member STAR Community as they work to assess and certify their sustainability efforts. For communities that pursue certification, the rating system encompasses economic, environmental and social performance measures for both local governments and the broader community. Communities must fill out an online application detailing their achievements across 44 sustainability objectives, with a total of 526 different measurable indicators. STAR Communities’ verification team then reviews the community’s application as an independent third-party and awards a rating based upon a total cumulative score of points achieved.
What Are The Benefits of Star?
STAR will provide an excellent foundation for a broader assessment of our community. It also serves as an opportunity to communicate our strategic objectives and outcomes with our community partners.
The stated benefits of being identified as a Leadership STAR Community are:
- Demonstrate commitment to local sustainability
- Receive national recognition for leadership and achievements
- Gain competitive advantage for attracting economic development and funding
- Improve transparency and accountability and showcase results
- Communicate long-term resiliency and risk management to municipal bond agencies
- Build and strengthen partnerships within government and the community
Which Communities Are Involved?
The list of STAR communities is always growing. As of September 2015, more than 100 communities are currently engaged with STAR in some way, representing more than 40 million people. See an updated map of communities at reporting.starcommunities.org.