The Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) was created as an executive department by ordinance in 2000. Prior to that, the City established an Environmental Management Plan in 1997, implemented by the (no longer in existence) Office of Management and Planning.
Because of the City's long history of environmental planning and implementation, environmental goals are embedded in much of the City's current work across most departments. OSE continues to serve a key role in several areas:
- Environmental Sustainability Coordination: Coordinate interdepartmental environmental sustainability programs, policies, work plan, communications, and outreach. Includes cross-departmental program implementation on electric vehicles (EV) and urban forest management (UFM). To facilitate this work, OSE staffs the Sustainability & Environment interdepartmental team (IDT) which meets monthly, as well as IDTs for EV and UFM programs and is responsible for managing the Urban Forestry Commission.
- Environmental Sustainability Innovation: Short- to mid-term development/incubation of paradigm-shifting policies and programs to be transferred to other City departments/outside entities for implementation. Includes policy research on potential district energy projects and implementing the Community Power Works program to increase energy savings in Seattle’s homes, businesses and hospitals.
- Climate Change Action Planning, Policy, and Measurement: Develop, coordinate, and monitor interdepartmental climate change and adaptation policies and programs. Includes development of carbon neutral strategy and new climate action plan outreach.