Newsletter Signup

Site Search

Tepfirah Rushdan Now Leads Detroit's Office of Sustainability: 4 Things to Know

May 9, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Tepfirah Rushdan (pictured above) has succeeded Jack Akinlosotu as Detroit's director of the Office of Sustainability. Akinlosotu exited the post in April 2024 for an outside opportunity.

Here are four things to know about Rushdan's experience and Detroit's sustainability strategy.

1. City Details, Climate Priorities & Recent Developments: Detroit, Michigan's largest city, had 620,376 residents as of 2022. Moreover, 4.3 million people live in the overall Metro Detroit area -- making it the 14th-largest area in the United States. The city's climate strategy has four focus areas:

  • Transitioning to Clean Energy
  • Increasing Sustainable Mobility
  • Accelerating Energy Efficiency and Reducing Waste
  • Prioritizing Vulnerable Residents and Adapting to Change

Among the recent milestones: Detroit now has an Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance, which requires all municipal buildings, as well as commercial and multifamily residential buildings larger than 100,000 square feet to annually report their energy and water usage by the end of 2024. Smaller buildings will be added to this requirement in 2025, the city said. 

Multiple cities across the United States are activating similar mandates. Examples include:

2. Experience: Rushdan previously was Detroit's director of Urban Agriculture since September 2023. Earlier, she was co-director of Keep Growing Detroit, an organization that helps to support urban farming through educational programs.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

3. Leadership Perspectives: In a prepared statement, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said: “Tepfirah’s life’s work has been environmental stewardship and with her outstanding leadership skills, she is the perfect person to lead our sustainability office forward. She already had become deeply engaged in our solar initiative, exploring potential agricultural uses of land within the solar arrays.” 

Added Rushdan: “Detroiters are creative and resilient, and I believe we have real potential to become a national leader in municipal sustainability. I’m humbled to have the opportunity to steward our city’s efforts at a very exciting time in this journey. Mayor Duggan has made sustainability and climate action a priority in his administration, and I appreciate the confidence he has shown in me.” 

4. Near-Term Priority: A major immediate focus for Rushdan involves the city’s solar neighborhood project, which will replace up to 250 acres of vacant, blighted land in up to six neighborhoods with solar arrays that will create enough clean energy to power all of the city’s 127 municipal buildings, according to a statement from the mayor's office. Still, Detroit residents have mixed views of the solar initiative, according to Outlier Media.

Detroit's Office of Sustainability: 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 figure will certainly be even higher for major cities -- many of which are working overtime to align sustainability goals with climate and environmental initiatives.

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.

subscribe to our newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Latest Updates

  • Most Read

  • Search Our Sustainability Databases

  • Sustainability & Green IT Predictions for 2024

    • Recent Comments
      Most Comments
  • Tab #1
    Tab #2
    Tab Content #1
    Tab Content #2
    linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram