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City of Hoboken, New Jersey Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer Gonzalez: 5 Things to Know

January 24, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

The City of Hoboken, New Jersey has created a Department of Climate Action & Innovation. To lead the department, Director of Environmental Services Jennifer Gonzalez (pictured above left) shifts to chief sustainability officer (CSO), according to Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla (above right).

Here are five things to know about Gonzalez's experience, and the city's sustainability strategy.

1. City Scope and Scale: Hoboken, located on the Hudson River, had a population of 58,690 people as of 2021. Among the areas of concern: 70% of Hoboken lies within the floodplain, the city said.

2. New Department of Climate Action & Innovation: The new department will strive to address the various climate challenges while also identifying "environmentally friendly cost-saving measures that will save taxpayer dollars," the city said. The department was established through a reorganization of City departments, approved by the Hoboken City Council by a 9-0 vote.  

Jennifer Gonzalez, chief sustainability officer, City of Hoboken, New Jersey

3. New Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer Gonzalez: Gonzalez previously spearheaded implementation of the city’s Green Infrastructure Plan, including the creation of the State’s largest resiliency park – ResilienCity Park and expansion of the Southwest Resiliency Park, the announcement said. Her team developed the city’s first Climate Action Plan, facilitated the Hoboken Renewable Energy Program, advanced efforts to electrify the City’s fleet including two new electric garbage trucks, implemented the ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam products, launched Hoboken’s Community Solar Program, transitioned the City to dual-stream recycling, and expanded residential and commercial composting programs, the city noted.

Gonzalez drove those moves while simultaneously overseeing the Department of Environmental Services comprised of the Divisions of Sanitation, Parks, Recreation, Public Property, Fleet Maintenance and Roads/Infrastructure, the city noted.

4. City of Hoboken's Next Sustainability Moves: For the new department, key initiatives will include:

  • Fleet electrification;
  • building energy efficiency;
  • open space development;
  • reduction of heat islands;
  • urban tree canopy expansion;
  • zero waste initiative implementation;
  • stormwater and coastal flood risk management; and more.

The department will also oversee several key divisions including Sustainability and Resiliency, Capital Planning, Engineering and Water Utility, Innovation and Data, and Information Systems, the city said.

Ravi Bhalla, mayor, City of Hoboken, New Jersey

5. Mayor's Perspectives: In a prepared statement about the new department, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla said: "The establishment of the Department of Climate Action & Innovation underscores our unwavering dedication to the well-being of our community and the preservation of Hoboken's future. By creating this department, headed by Director Gonzalez, we aim to make Hoboken the most prepared, adaptable, and climate-ready community in New Jersey, while setting an example for cities of similar size worldwide. Our focus on innovation and sustainable solutions will allow us to further enhance our city's resiliency, while also identifying cost-saving measures to save taxpayer dollars.  Director Gonzalez is the ideal person to lead this effort, bringing a wealth of expertise and commitment to the forefront of our efforts."

Hoboken Sustainability Officer: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO customer needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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