Fort Collins’ next steps in sustainable innovations


Collegian | Reuel Indurkar

Fort Collins City Hall located on North Meldrum Street and Laporte Avenue in Fort Collins April 20.

Hania Nini, Staff Reporter

Fort Collins has made significant steps in its efforts toward sustainability. The City of Fort Collins has identified six key areas for sustainability and has set specific goals in each of these areas.

These goals are aimed at reducing waste, minimizing carbon emissions, fostering a world-class workplace, promoting resilience and sustaining the city’s public lands while using water resources efficiently.


Honore Depew, the climate program manager for the city, said the City Council adopted the Our Climate Future framework in 2021.

The framework includes a commitment to a 100% renewable electricity goal, an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a zero-waste goal all to be achieved by 2030.

Additionally, the city aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, with an interim goal of reducing carbon by 50% below baseline by 2026.

“Setting targets allows us to check whether we’re making progress in the right direction,” Depew said. “And it allows us to do an annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and check against our targets whether we’re going up or down.”

The benefits of achieving these sustainability goals extend beyond just environmental impact.

Depew said climate disruption is exacerbating major challenges across the region and the globe, such as extreme weather events, hotter temperatures, more fires and floods and unpredictable precipitation. 

“Mitigating our climate impacts as a community is really important,” Depew said.

To track progress, the city conducts an annual greenhouse gas inventory that collects data and reports from businesses, residents and industrial and commercial sources. Depew stressed there’s more to measure than just greenhouse gas emissions.

“One of the most important things of Our Climate Future framework for action is putting people at the center, putting people first,” Depew said. “To meet our goals, it’s not enough to just take an engineering approach with more renewable energy and better energy efficiency. It really has to be hand-in-hand with the work that we’re doing to make the future more equitable.”


Collaboration with other organizations is also key to achieving these sustainability goals.

Depew cited Larimer County and businesses like New Belgium Brewing Company as examples of collaborators. The city also works with organizations like Colorado Communities for Climate Action to support climate-friendly legislation at the state level.

Depew highlighted the importance of innovation and creative problem-solving. He said that in order to tackle complex issues related to sustainability, it is essential to think outside the box and explore different approaches.

“Innovation is really important,” Depew said. “We need to be thinking about different ways to approach these problems.”

By establishing clear objectives for waste reduction, carbon emissions reduction, and sustainable land management, Fort Collins is taking steps toward a more sustainable future.

“When it comes to trying to center equity and people more in our climate work, we’re just about to launch a couple of really interesting programs, including a small grants program for leadership capacity building,” Depew said.

By adopting the Our Climate Future framework, partnering with many organizations and putting an emphasis on community, the city has demonstrated its dedication to accomplishing a number of sustainability objectives.

Reach Hania Nini at or on Twitter @csucollegian.