American Public Gardens Association

This submission reflects this organization's contribution to the climate effort, representative of their current actions and commitments as well as the ways in which they intend to step up and collaborate with others.

American Public Gardens Association's Climate Action Contribution

About American Public Gardens Association's Climate Efforts

Our Association issued a position statement against pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords in June 2017.

Our commitment to Climate and Sustainability runs deeper than that as we have an entire suite of programs dedicated to it within our Climate and Sustainability Alliance. These programs provide community health, economic, and environmental information for our members to use as well as a public gardens operational sustainability index and plant conservation and biodiversity benchmarking for our gardens to participate in, and chart their own journey. This past year, we also added a garden-garden disaster response center to help our gardens that were impacted by disasters receive the support they need from their peers.

Climate Action Commitments

Current Climate Actions American Public Gardens Association Is Taking:


Commit to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutant Emissions

Short-lived climate pollutants—such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons—are powerful climate warmers many times more potent than CO2 over their lifetimes. Because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, actions to reduce these super pollutants can have substantial, near-term climate, agricultural and health benefits and are an essential complement to CO2 reduction strategies. Policy-makers can announce regulatory or voluntary approaches to drastically reduce SLCPs, such as developing methane strategies or adopting rules on use of warming HFCs. Organizations can commit to engage with suppliers to provide training, conduct pollutant inventories, and establish systems for tracking, measuring, and monitoring these types of emissions. Analysis shows that SLCP emissions can be cost-effectively reduced by an estimated 40-50 percent by 2030.

Policymakers, companies and organizations are encouraged to accept the #SLCPChallenge of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which calls for ambitious action on SLCPs. Feel free to elaborate on your work towards reduction, along with your other efforts, in the "Other Commitments" field below.

Learn More

Commit to Remove Commodity-driven Deforestation from Supply Chains

Restoring our forest’s ability to store carbon on a global scale is a critical and cost-effective climate mitigation solution. Making a commitment to eliminate deforestation means setting targets to assure key commodities in your supply chain (like palm, soy, beef, paper and pulp) are from deforestation-free sources. An ideal target could be to establish a disclosure and reporting plan for your supply chain and/or conversion to 100% deforestation-free commodities by 2020.


Commit to Reduce Climate Impacts of Packaging and Reducing Waste

There are many ways to reduce the climate impact of packaging including reducing materials (i.e., “source reduction”); replacing virgin materials with post-consumer recycled content; replacing traditional plastics made from fossil fuels with biopolymers; re-designing packaging to be more compact and therefore efficient for transport and storage; using biodegradable packing materials; and recycling at end of the packaging’s life to name just a few practices.


Commit to Responsible Engagement in Climate Policy

While individual organization action is necessary, local and federal government action is also needed to reach global climate goals. Your organization can have a critical voice in advancing public policy. A commitment to responsible engagement in climate policy means that your organization commits to supporting public policy to: promote energy efficiency and renewable energy; increase investment in a clean energy economy; support climate change adaptation, or put a price on carbon.


Commit to Building Climate Resilience in your Community

By committing to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, companies and institutions can secure their operations and supply chains and conserve natural resources that are stressed due to climate change. While there is much a business can do within their community, primary among these options is reducing water usage. Organizations can commit to increase their own water security through a range of actions, including installing water-saving devices, capturing rainwater for onsite uses, and recycling grey water. Or just commit to get engaged with your community in resilience planning.


Commit to Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Transportation

Organizations making a commitment to reduce the climate impact of transportation should consider practices such as measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and setting reduction targets, switching fuels, optimizing the efficiency of shipping operations, and reducing transit- and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses can develop a green transportation action plan to map the movement of goods to market and identify opportunities to increase efficiency. Organizations can buy hybrid and electric vehicles within their own fleet, and can reduce the footprint of their workforce through incentivizing public transportation, installing EV charging stations, promoting telework, and locating near transit centers.


Commit to Increase Your Use of Renewable Power

Increasing your percentage of renewable energy sources is a key component of reducing overall GHG emissions. Installing onsite renewable generation, like solar panels, is a good long-term strategy if possible. But renewable energy can also be procured through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), renewable power purchasing agreements (PPAs), and in some locations from retail electricity providers or local utilities that offers a high percentage of renewable power. Also consider becoming an EPA Green Power Partner.


Commit to Increase Energy Efficiency

Most companies begin by assessing energy usage or performing an energy audit to identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency throughout their facilities and operations. Energy reduction targets can be framed as either absolute reductions or reductions that are normalized per unit of production, such as per tons shipped, per dollars of revenue produced, or other relevant business metric. Some examples of commitments that can be taken include:

  • Conducting an energy audit or request a meeting with your building owner to explore scheduling an audit
  • Upgrading HVAC system to a more efficient model
  • Upgrading lights in your office/facility to LEDs
  • Upgrading insulation and windows
  • Replacing appliances in your office with Energy Star-rated models
  • Instituting a company policy of turning off lights other electronics when not in use.

Commit to Understand and Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Understanding your GHG emissions is the first step to making measurable reductions in those emissions. The EPA provides an overview report and CoolClimate Network provides a simple tool for “low emitters” to better understand sources of emissions, as well as how to use that information to set reduction targets. For this commitment, it is as simple as committing to complete a greenhouse gas inventory for your business or oganization, but in the future your inventory can be used to make a commitment to set a specific goal, such as “reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2025.


Integrate Climate Change into Portfolio Analyses and Decision-Making

Commit to integrate climate change-related risks and opportunities in portfolio analysis and decision-making processes through one or more of the following:

  • Analyzing and assessing climate change-related risks and opportunities (e.g. through carbon footprinting, scenario analysis).
  • Making commitments and setting targets (e.g. to carbon footprint reduction, to enhanced portfolio resilience, to decarbonization, including via the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition).
  • Investing in low carbon investment funds and other products (e.g. low carbon indices, climate-aligned bonds).

Areas For Collaboration

We are interested in collaborating on the following:

Efficient Buildings
  • Supporting building thermal decarbonization and electrification

Electric Vehicles
  • Promoting increased charging infrastructure

Natural Lands
  • Developing in measurement and monitoring systems to target efforts and track progress
  • Encouraging states to adopt incentive programs for forest management, tree cover expansion, and soil health
  • Promoting science-based targets for GHG emissions and removals in agricultural supply chains
Other collaborations
We have several partners, but of course are open to collaborations for any of the work we do. In particular, programs that result in healthier ecosystems through the use and conservation of more sustainable plant materials on facilities/campuses, and in all aspects of carbon reduction. Plants, gardens, and our members are a huge part of climate adaption and mitigation efforts.

Organization details

Mission Statement
American Public Gardens Association serves public gardens and advances them as leaders, advocates, and innovators.

Vision Statement
A world where public gardens are indispensable.

Who we are:
The American Public Gardens Association is the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. We advance the field by encouraging best practices, offering educational and networking opportunities, and advocating on behalf of our members, our programs and public gardens worldwide. We work together with our members and others to strengthen and shape public horticulture, providing the tools and support industry professionals need to better serve the public while preserving and celebrating plants creatively and sustainably.

Since 1940, we have been committed to increasing cooperation and awareness among gardens. Our members include more than 600 institutions, spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and 24 countries. Our members include, but are not limited to, botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and universities, display gardens, and research facilities.

What we do:
American Public Gardens Association connects the field of public horticulture to strengthen collaboration and to enhance its impact.

We have a 75+-year track record of convening and educating the public horticulture community.

We provide a peer group for all types and sizes of public horticulture organizations and professionals. Members value the learning that enables them to thrive.

Our members value the way that the American Public Gardens Association connects them to peers to form a powerful national and international network.

We are proactive in providing best practices and resources for professional growth. It organizes subject-specific peer groups and provides frequent updates on trends and job opportunities.

We spark insight and improvement across the field of public horticulture by providing a variety of in-person and online networking forums.

American Public Gardens Association protects our natural heritage and ensures the future of public horticulture through pioneering programs and advocacy.

Our singular programs protect and recognize plant collections (Plant Collections Network; formerly NAPCC), respond to the threats posed by invasive species (Plant Protection Program) and address the challenges of limited natural resources and climate change (Climate & Sustainability Alliance).

We recognize the power and responsibility of its collective membership – stewards of the botanical treasures of so much of the world -- and what could be lost if they do not have the tools and resources to remain strong.

We provide resources that enable members to build strong futures for their institutions by making the case for public gardens.

American Public Gardens Association champions the role of public horticulture in improving the quality of life for all.

We offer a unified voice for public horticulture. We publicize the work of its members in addressing issues from the role of public gardens in the nation’s economy to their role in conservation.

Our board members are knowledgeable, engaged leaders in the field.

Executive Director Casey Sclar is a seasoned and trusted leader in public horticulture who has served the field in many ways. He speaks on behalf of the field of public horticulture on its roles in strengthening the economy, education, and conservation.
Cultural Institution
Kennett Square, PA