Known for its deep commitment to sustainability and equity, the County of Santa Clara is positioned to lead the region towards a more sustainable future. With an annual budget of approximately $7 billion and 22,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara has the opportunity to significantly advance sustainability through its investments, operations, and organizational culture. As a regional leader it is also able to continue leveraging its influence on public and private sector partners, serving as a model for others and motivating them to act.

Goal #8: Associated Policies and Plans

How will we get there?

The ambitious goals presented in this plan can only be achieved through the coordinated efforts of County departments, other local and regional jurisdictions, the private sector, community-based organizations, and community members. By aligning resources and building off each other’s efforts, multi-sector partnerships can achieve more successes, more significant outcomes, and more rapid results across the pillars of sustainability.

The County of Santa Clara will proactively seek partnerships with government agencies, business, philanthropic, and nonprofit sector groups to develop and implement action plans and secure funding to increase resilience throughout Santa Clara County.

Strategy 8.1 Targets and Key Performance Indicator

Countywide Target:

  • Secure funding for Countywide or multi-jurisdictional collaborative proposals and projects.

  • Develop a Comprehensive Countywide Work Plan to build a food system that provides for agricultural and food sector viability, improves coordination among food system partners, and promotes communitywide food security.

Existing Partnerships:

  • County's participation in Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN) and other regional climate and hazards initiatives

  • Racial Equity through Prevention Workgroup, Juvenile Justice Systems Collaborative

  • Comprehensive Countywide Food System Workplan being led by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE)

  • Santa Clara County Partners for Health collaboration (implementing SCC CHIP)

  • Aging Services Collaborative

  • Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative (BA=$C)

  • Faith Reentry Collaborative

  • Interagency Collaboration Committee, Safety Committee, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Clara County

  • Role as a convener and funder for many coalitions, issues (e.g., Office of LGBTQ Affairs' work, Children's Health Assessment, Office of Women's Policy's work)

  • Hospital preparedness coalition

  • Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC) participation

Strategy 8.1 - Partnerships and Collaboration

Enhance communication, coordination, and collaboration between County agencies,

jurisdictions, non-profits, and public and private sector partners that provide similar

services and/or serve the same populations (especially related to strengthening resilience).

Achieving social equity requires the County, member cities, businesses, schools, and systems to do more than simply treat people equally. Historic disinvestment, cumulative harm, and intergenerational trauma all need to be addressed to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities and can reach their full potential.

The County of Santa Clara (with other local governments throughout the Bay Area, state, and nation) is focusing first on promoting racial equity, while also remaining committed to addressing other types of structural inequities (e.g., gender, socio-economic). The County will expand cross-disciplinary efforts to transform systems, structures, and policies that perpetuate inequities and structural racism. By applying these lenses to programs, services and budgeting, the County can begin to address the causes of health, housing, education and income disparities and increased exposure to climate hazards, pollution, and environmental degradation.

Strategy 8.3 Targets and Key Performance Indicators

County Operations and Facilities Target:

  • Prepare a Countywide racial equity strategy by 2025.

Existing Programs, Policies, and Activities:

  • Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE) cohorts and action plans

  • County Racial Equity and Leadership Academy and using a racial equity lens in budgeting

  • Automation and multi-language interfaces, web, self-service, phone, and signage; Restoration and digitization of public records (Clerk Recorder's Office)

  • Elimination of juvenile justice fees

  • Work led by Office of Immigrant Affairs (e.g., related to accessing disaster recovery fund supports after 2017 flooding, engaging immigrant communities in energy-efficiency rebates, etc.)

  • "Level of collectability" assesses for debts (primarily for VMC and Court) before sent to collections, have increased collections for VMC under Affordable Care Act reimbursements

  • Office of Reentry partnership with law enforcement to have pre-booking diversions and to divert people to a sobering center instead of jail

  • Reduction in costs for inmates (e.g., commissary, phone calls)

  • County Libraries "food for fines" -- forgiven late fees if bring donation for food pantry; no fines for patrons under 18

Strategy 8.3 - Governance

Transform systems, structures, and policies that perpetuate inequities and structural

racism and apply a racial equity lens to environmental programs and services.

For more than a decade, the County of Santa Clara has adopted policies to prioritize making environmentally sustainable purchases. The County is positioned to further leverage its considerable purchasing power by adopting and implementing a sustainability policy requiring that environmental, economic, and social impacts be considered for all procured goods and services.

The County will regularly review and update its Sustainable Purchasing Policy to reflect emerging opportunities and best practices. Furthermore, it will help departments embed the County’s environmental, economic, and equity goals into Requests for Proposals and Informal Competitive Procurements.

Strategy 8.2 Targets and Key Performance Indicators

Existing Programs, Policies, and Activities:

  • Incorporate green and/or environmental purchasing and trade-in, buy back or take back provisions on solicitations

  • Purchase of Energy Star compliant Information Technology (IT) devices, data center consolidation, and cloud computing

  • Field Services Vehicle use and Purchase of additional clean air Field Service Vehicles

  • Migration to paperless (e.g., DocuSign for contracts, Arriba for invoicing, Kronos for electronic payroll, Automated Clearing House (ACH) for warrants and vendor payments, property tax e-billing and payment)

  • Centralized multifunction printer Instead of local printers

  • Organic and/or low volatile organic compound (VOC) products

  • Utilization of Recycled paper

  • IT E-waste Computer Equipment disposal

  • Local Business Points in Request for Proposal (RFP) scoring

County Operations and Facilities Targets:

  • Support the development of an adopted Sustainable Purchasing Policy in partnership with the Office of Sustainability and partner in calendar year 2021 on a pilot of two to five new acquisitions for Countywide implementation.

Strategy 8.2 - Procurment and Investment

 Leverage the County's purchasing power to advance

social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

The County’s employees are a valuable resource in making the County’s practices sustainable. When employees understand the many ways in which the County can advance sustainability, they can consider how their own work fits into the bigger picture. Employees who understand the urgency of climate change and the severity of inequities will be motivated to develop and implement sustainable solutions in both their professional and personal lives.

To achieve the County’s ambitious sustainability goals, all County employees will need to play a role and become sustainability champions. It is therefore critical for County’s approximately 22,000 employees throughout all 70 departments to understand how this plan’s goals align with their department’s work and vision, and for managers in all departments to recognize the wide range of ways they and their employees can contribute to achieving these goals.

Strategy 8.4 Targets and Key Performance Indicators

Existing Programs, Policies, and Activities:

  • New Employee Orientation Sustainability Overview presentation

County Operations and Facilities Target:

  • Develop and implement a training program for County employees to become sustainability practitioners by 2023.

Strategy 8.4 - Culture of Leadership and Learning

Support County employees in becoming sustainability practitioners.​

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Leverage the County’s resources and influence to advance sustainability,

strengthen internal operations and responsiveness, and lead by example.

Goal #8. Lead by Example