Overview of SCCED Activities

The Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED - pronounced "succeed") works toward building a sustainable future for Southern California by bringing together people from government agencies, environmental and community groups, universities, and businesses in the Greater Los Angeles Area. In facilitated task forces, forums, and conferences, we work to build consensus on programs and policies to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and ensure equity for the region's 16 million residents.

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The Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED) came into being in 1993 as a local continuation of the process begun at the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit in Rio, where people from government, business and organizations began a dialogue to determine how to ensure a sustainable future for the earth. Through facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue and consensus on programs to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and ensure equity, SCCED supports the creation of sustainable programs, policies, and plans for the region.


Major environmental problems face this region, including the second worst air quality in the nation, unsustainable transportation, decreasing open space, closing landfills, and excessive, expensive water imports. These problems will escalate with the 40% expected population growth by 2020. Sustainability--meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs--requires a collaborative, comprehensive decision-making process that goes beyond the traditional compartmentalized, confrontational approach.



SCCED facilitates municipalities and businesses in the sharing of ideas and information about sustainable waste management.

On February 29, 2000, SCCED convened a government track for the Pacific Rim Take it Back! Conference, bringing information from Europe on programs to encourage producer responsibility to minimize waste and increase recycling of products and packaging. The conference focused on plastics and electronics take back. In SCCED's public policy track, manufacturers, government and environmental groups reviewed what's been done in other countries, discussed public policy recommendations that can be taken to state legislators, and programs that can be developed in California.

On May 11, 2000, SCCED and the City of Santa Monica convened a conference on Building Sustainable Cities, which included important information on Environmentally Preferable Purchasing and other topics.

During 1999-2001, SCCED produced a series of forums about Getting to 50%. These were in follow up to the Getting to 50% Diversion Conference held in June 1998, to educate recycling coordinators on successful programs. A list of the forum reports is shown in Hot Issues.

Forum topics were:
Commercial Sector Diversion, April 20, 1999 This session covered business audits and partnerships, working with public and private haulers, and more.

Southern California Solid Waste Issues and Solutions Regarding CIWMB's 21st Century Policy Project, May 18, 1999 The discussion encompassed issues to raise to the CIWMB as well as issues to be dealt with on a local and regional level. A report of objectives and strategies was sent to the Board as recommendations from Southern California.

Increasing Diversion in Multi-Family Residences, June 15, 1999, highlighted successful programs with presentations and discussion. Topics included: public education, reports from local municipalities, and working with building managers and haulers.

"Construction and Demolition Recycling", September 28, 1999 covered incentives to separate recyclables, diversion verses reclamation, C&D facilities, roadbase from C&D, along with a presentation and tour of the L.A. County Sanitation Districts’ C&D pilot project.

"Increasing Diversion of Organic Wastes," December 1, 1999, covered restaurant and grocery store waste, getting excess to food banks, grasscycling, and composting.

"Latest Developments in Best Practices for Waste Management: Getting the Biggest Bang for the Buck," September 27, 2000, presented some of the most cost-effective ways to increase diversion.

"Sharing Successes in Waste Reduction," March 29, 2001. This report features a speech by CIWMB Board Member David Roberti on how to demonstrate a "good faith effort," which can help municipalities qualify for an extension in reaching 50%.

In November 1998, SCCED produced "Closing the Loop: Buy Recycled," a conference for municipal procurement officers and maintenance managers to promote purchase and use of recycled materials and other environmentally preferable products. Discussion of this topic continued at a special conference session at the National Marketplace for the Environment conference that SCCED produced May 3-4, 1999 in Anaheim.

During 1997-1998, SCCED's Solid Waste Task Force met jointly with SCAG's Solid Waste Task Force for the purpose of information sharing and educating local elected officials on how they can successfully meet the state mandate of reducing 50% of waste to landfills by the year 2000. SCCED is working with SCAG to develop a procurement policy for cities in the 6-county SCAG region to buy recycled paper, beginning with a survey of cities' current procurement practices.

In 1996, SCCED's Solid Waste Task Force convened a focus group of eleven recycling coordinators to learn how we could best meet their needs of meeting the state mandate of 50% waste diversion by 2000, and created a questionnaire for recycling coordinators to learn their successes and needs for additional information. From the results of these communications, we produced the "Getting to 50% Conference."

Recognizing that green waste comprises a significant percentage of our waste stream that could instead be a valuable, cost-effective resource, the Task Force produced a Think Tank on Green Materials in July, 1995, which brought together an unprecedented group of high level players in the field from throughout California. All fourteen invitees attended and committed time and resources to our efforts. Resulting from this, members of the Task Force are in discussions with landowners of local oil fields about the potential of developing urban composting facilities on unused portions of their lands, in order to have local sites to handle the pick-up of organic wastes and the transformation of these resources into usable compost for local cities.


Recognizing the need to ensure that our local transportation meets the needs of the citizens of the region, SCCED has sought methods to increase public participation in regional transportation planning. Over the last four years, SCCED has worked closely with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) on outreach to involve the public in the development of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). SCAG is the Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for the preparation of the RTP for the six-county Southern California region, which includes 16 million people.

With Kathleen Gildred, Director of SCCED as member of the RAC, and Dr. Jim Stewart, Associate Director of SCCED, as an influential member of the SCAG RTP Technical Advisory Committee, Finance Committee and the Livable Communities Subcommittee, SCCED is well positioned to impact the development of the next RTP, scheduled for adoption in April 2004.

SCCED staff developed a proposal for inclusion in the 2001 RTP for increased bicycle and pedestrian trips. We began by convening the first-ever regional meeting of bicycle planners and advocates from all six SCAG counties. SCCED is also focusing on Livable Communities and Sustainability, developing a scientifically-based method for including "livability" factors in the RTP model performance standards for the first time.

In 1999-2000, SCCED worked with several other local groups to form the Southern California Transportation and Land Use Coalition, an advocacy organization that promotes joint transportation and decision-making at all levels of government.

In 1999, SCCED planned and co-convened two forums to educate the public and get their input into plans being developed, on California's High Speed Rail and on the RTP. Each meeting had over 50 representatives from environmental organizations, community groups and government agencies in attendance. Summaries of these forums are available, April 19 Forum on California High Speed Rail Plans and June 14 Briefing on the Southern California Regional Transportation Plan.

In 1997 and 1998, together with SCAG's Regional Advisory Council (RAC), SCCED developed seven forums for public comments on the RTP. SCCED also produced 30,000 brochures that were distributed through MTA and the Gas Company, to inform people of the issues at stake, the relevance to their lives, and opportunities to participate in regional transportation planning. The Task Force developed a questionnaire as a means of obtaining additional public input for SCAG on the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), and SCCED staff did a review and analysis of the RTP. From this analysis, SCCED submitted a four page list of recommendations for the RTP to the members of the RAC for their review and prioritization. The report was then submitted to SCAG, as recommendations for the RTP.

During 1996, SCCED's Transportation Task Force envisioned and helped to create a local office, staff, and funding for the Surface Transportation Planning Project (STPP) to involve sectors of the public usually not included in the transportation planning process, and to ensure that their concerns were represented in transportation planning.

To request a copy of the Regional Transportation Plan, or get more information on it, go to our page on "Hot Issues."


SCCED worked to bring together groups that have previously not worked together in Los Angeles County to present a united voice in Washington, DC and Sacramento in support of open space preservation. We identified key groups, defined the rationale for preserving land and developed strategies and priorities for preservation. We coordinated events and were in constant email communication with a few hundred groups and individuals to update and activate them to assist the passage of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the California Park and Water Bonds.

SCCED organized an Open Space Forum in March, 1999 for Sierra Club staff to report to key organizations on their Washington lobbying trip to encourage funding for the Santa Monica Mountains. SCCED also organized an Open Space Forum in June in collaboration with People for Parks, American for Our Heritage and Recreation, and the Sierra Club that covered federal and state legislation, strategy discussion, and letter writing. It was attended by over 50 representatives of activist organizations as well as individuals from cities and government agencies.

If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, please call 310-390-4366.

Other Activities


In twelve conferences to date, representatives from government agencies, environmental and community organizations, academia and private enterprise have met to learn about sustainability and share information. At SCCED's first conferences, conference attendees defined principles for sustainable communities, the major challenges to be addressed in the region, the barriers that keep us from meeting these challenges, and initial action plans. Measurable objectives have been suggested for the region with prioritized strategies to meet the objectives. Broad-based input has been given to SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) on their draft Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) and Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Recommendations on regulatory reform have been developed and sent to local government, industry, and organizations, and strategies for education on sustainability have been developed. SCCED has also produced conferences on waste management and sustainable city programs. See Reports from SCCED Conferences.

Indicator Reports of the State of the Local Environment & Economy

Reports on the State of the Local Environment and Economy have been prepared by SCCED for 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, with indicators to chart progress toward sustainability. Data on the environment, economy, equity and social trends were analyzed for the areas of air quality, transportation, water quality and use, solid waste, and open space. See Indicator Reports of the State of the Local Environment and Economy. Now, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is continuing the publication of annual State of the Region reports.


SCCED has produced a couple dozen forums on sustainability issues concerning Southern California. See Solid Waste Management for our forum series on waste issues in Southern California. There are also reports from forums on transportation, open space, water and other issues. In conjunction with the Southern California Regional Council of Organizations, SCCED produced 7 forums on UN Agencies involved in issues of sustainability. See Reports from SCCED and UN Forums.

. In addition, our website presents reports from the Environmental Leadership Roundtable and the Santa Monica Environmental Roundtable.

Other Accomplishments

Water Task Force

The Water Task Force decided it could have the most significant impact on sustainable watershed management by educating and creating dialogue between the business community, government agencies, and the general public on maximizing use of local water supplies. This goal has been worked on through papers and follow-up forums/stakeholder meetings. A paper, "Why Southern California Should Increase the Use of Recycled Water," was presented to SCAG's Regional Council along with a resolution (originally suggested and drafted by our Task Force) supporting use of recycled water. The resolution was passed by SCAG, and the Task Force then recommended the resolution to other government and business associations. A forum, Water Recycling for Business Development, was created in conjunction with the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. It gave an excellent overview of the cost-savings, benefits and safety of recycled water, state policies and current users, as well as how to shift to using recycled water. The paper on recycled water has been submitted to the California/Federal group planning for meeting future water needs in California.

Round Tables

SCCED initiated, and co-sponsored with Councilwoman Ruth Galanter's office, roundtables of environmental leaders to share information about current environmental issues and events in Southern California. Reports of the four meetings are available on the SCCED website. See Reports from L. A. Environmental Leadership Round Table Meetings. Now these discussions are continued on-line using E-mail. Put your ideas in the Comments Forum in our Hot Issues and Events.

Sustainable Communities Resolution

At SCCED's initiative, the League of California Cities passed a Resolution Relating to Sustainable Communities, to encourage the creation of sustainable community programs in California cities.

Global Cities Project in Southern California

SCCED helped introduce the Global Cities Project to Southern California which assists local governments to inventory existing environmental programs, compare them with similar programs around the country to make them more effective, and suggest new options. The Global Cities Project is now working with the Cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles and is seeking to work with other municipalities. For more information, see Global Cities Project


The Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED)
1247 Lincoln Blvd. #253, Santa Monica, CA 90401-1711
Phone: 310-455-1603
Fax: 310-455-3011
Email: sccedmail@aol.com

Director: Kathleen Gildred, 310-455-1603
Associate Director: Jim Stewart, 310-390-4366
Development Director: Kate Lutz, 310-396-8943