Sustainable Jersey representatives have announced Upper Township has met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification for this year.
The Upper T is one of 83 towns that have attained certification in 2019 and was honored at the Sustainable Jersey awards luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Atlantic City, during the annual New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference.
At the Township Committee meeting Monday, Dec. 16, Ralph Cooper, the township Sustainable Jersey Green Team chairperson, reported that after additional reviews were completed this month, the township received its final 2019 re-certification notice for a total of 24 actions in nine categories with a total of 240 points.
This is the fourth time the township has received Sustainable Jersey certification. Cooper said this annual review process has enabled a more engaged level of involvement for both the municipal staff as well as the community’s residents and businesses.
The certification is really the township’s and not the Green Team's, Cooper said. He said the Sustainable Jersey branding that has been achieved is for the Township Committee and demonstrates its ongoing level of sustainability and resiliency.
Upper Township did three of the 12 priority actions for the bronze level by:
• Completing a Green Business Recognition Program
• Maintaining a Natural Resource Inventory
• Maintaining and enhanced a Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal Program in the municipality.
The township baseline certification categories in 2019 included: Animals in Community; Community Partnership & Outreach; Emergency Management & Resiliency; Health & Wellness; Land Use & Transportation; Local Economics; Natural Resources; Public Information and Engagement; and Sustainability & Climate Planning.
Along with action areas for the environment, health and wellness and local economics, Cooper said this year’s review included many elements in the category of “civic engagement and information.” The township’s enhanced website now has plenty of information for the community and these digital resources enabled successful reviews of five actions, he said.
Cooper said there are a number of additional SJ Action areas that have on-going activities at both the municipality and community-based levels. While some of them did not attain approval this year, he is confident that developments in the coming year will enable additional qualification points for the 2020 certification.
On a related matter, Cooper told the committee he had visited the township school board meeting earlier in the evening, Dec. 16, and, on behalf of the Green Team, had congratulated the board for attaining Sustainable Schools Certification for the elementary school. He also said the school district itself had been recognized with a special Sustainability Makes $ense Award for 2019 for exemplary progress in sustainability resulting in cost savings to the school district.
Cooper said there is opportunity to showcase these achievements in the schools, as well as with the township, to demonstrate sustainable practices for our community.
“Congratulations to all of the municipalities that have achieved certification this year,” said Randy Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “Earning certification involves more than just implementing sustainable actions. It takes extraordinary leadership and a real commitment to making our communities better. As New Jersey tops the list as one of the fastest-warming states in the nation, the next ten years will be a critical period for making progress. Sustainable Jersey certified towns are a force for change as they create a path forward to advance sustainability.” Certified towns excelled in areas such as improving energy efficiency, health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies, protecting natural resources and advancing the arts.