The Institute for Local Government (ILG) has released the 2013 edition of the Sustainability Best Practices Framework. This is the first update since 2008 and offers options for local action in ten distinct areas. The suggestions are drawn from practical experiences of cities and counties throughout California. They vary in complexity and are adaptable to fit the unique needs and circumstances of individual communities.


Local officials and staff may use the framework in a variety of ways, including to:

  • Generate ideas about programs and policies to pursue;
  • Inform a comprehensive climate action planning process; or
  • Integrate sustainability into general plan policies.

For information related to greenhouse gas inventories, climate action planning and adapting to climate change, visit Planning for Climate Change.

The updates reflect activities cities and counties participating in the Beacon recognition program have undertaken, technological advancements and policy changes at the state level. Like the original Best Practices Framework, updates have been peer-reviewed and reflect input from local and state officials, technical experts and others.

How to Access

Download the entire Best Practices Framework or use the navigation on the ILG’s site to access best practices, case stories and resources by best practice area.

Feedback Welcome

The Sustainability Best Practices Framework highlights the ongoing good work at the local level to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   It is an evolving resource and new ideas are welcome, along with any materials or background information that may benefit local agencies.  Please email us at

ILG is the nonprofit research and education affiliate of the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities.