Thirteen years ago, Santa Monica adopted the Sustainable City Plan (SCP), a set of goals to ensure the long term sustainability of the local economy, environment and quality of life.

In order to track the progress in meeting the goals and to guide future actions, the city has developed two tools — the Progress Report and the Report Card.

The Progress Report is a regularly updated on-line database that provides a comprehensive evaluation of the community’s progress toward these goals. The Report Card summarizes the data in easy-to-understand grades.

Santa Monica’s 2007 Sustainable City Report Card, released this month, highlights improvements and challenges in these goal areas, as well as successes over the past year.

Some of these achievements include:

Success with Solar: Solar Santa Monica was launched to deploy energy efficiency and solar energy into the community, creating the potential to become a net zero energy city. Twenty solar projects were installed last year.

Collecting Compostables: The city’s food waste composting program kept more than three million pounds of food waste from Santa Monica restaurants out of the landfill last year.

Helping Households: The Household Hazardous Waste Facility has kept more than 133,000 pounds of hazardous materials out of the landfills. This year, satellite battery collection sites were launched throughout the community.

Better Business: More than 20 Santa Monica businesses were recognized for their commitment to sustainable practices through the Green Business Certification Program and the Sustainable Quality Awards. An additional 20 received comprehensive green business consultations as part of the Sustainable Works Business Greening Program.

Beautiful Beaches: Santa Monica voters approved the Clean Beaches and Ocean parcel tax which will fund a comprehensive 20-year plan to improve water quality in Santa Monica Bay, increasing recreational options and controlling local flooding by enhancing investment in storm water infrastructure and pollution control.

Places to Play: Airport Park and Euclid Park both opened this year. Together, they represent more than eight acres of new and renovated park space. Airport Park is the first new city-built park in Santa Monica since 1983.

The newly renovated Euclid Park is a “backyard” park in a densely-populated neighborhood, containing shade trees, a trellis, seating, a swing set and a climber for children, and a gardening area with ten plots.

Biking is Big: This year the city’s innovative free bike valet program parked 16,310 bikes at events around the city, the “BIKE Santa Monica Map” was released and the community began giving input into the design of Exposition Bike Way.

“The Report Card shows that we are making progress toward becoming a sustainable city,” said Craig Perkins, director of the city’s Department of Environmental and Public Works Management. “We are seeing that many key groups in the city, including some businesses, institutions, elected officials, and city staff now use the term ‘sustainability’ to describe their mission and that of the community. However, if we are to fully achieve our goals, all members of the community need to become more involved in the process.”

Santa Monica’s sustainability efforts were among the first of their kind in the nation and have served as a model for a growing number of communities, academic institutions and businesses, according to city officials.

Now, the adoption of aggressive goals for sustainability and the tracking of progress is practiced throughout the country, city officials say.

“We’re using the Report Card and Progress Report to guide our decision making,” said Dean Kubani, Santa Monica’s Environmental Programs manager. “The success highlighted in the Report Card shows that Santa Monica is not resting on its laurels, but that it is actively addressing the remaining challenges to becoming a sustainable city.”