Our Story

Building solutions in the South.

Our Story

The Southeastern U.S. is no different than the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with the problems associated with climate change. Extreme heat, rising seas, strengthening storms, flooding, drought, and crop loss are just some of the challenges we face.

The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) addresses these problems through sustainability efforts — work that creates a healthy, clean, and more stable environment for current and future generations.

We connect local government sustainability professionals throughout the region to accelerate, scale, and implement sustainable best practices so that communities are equipped to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Strategic Plan


In 2018, we embarked on a strategic planning process to guide our work for the next three to five years. This plan, launched in 2019, uses our lessons learned, recent growth, and expanded partnerships to maximize opportunity for further impact in the Southeast. This work is guided by our vision, mission, theory of change, and our core values.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Full Plan (PDF)

Our Numbers


City & County Members

Total States


Actively Learning & Sharing With Fellow Members


SSDN conducts a Network Impact Survey each year to assess the value our regional network provides its members in the Southeast. You can review the results of our 2018 survey here.

Our Goals


Our vision is to motivate local governments to continually integrate and institutionalize sustainability best practices throughout every town, city, and county in the Southeast.


We exist to accelerate and scale implementation of local government sustainability best practices through a member-driven network of professionals who collaborate to solve problems, innovate to create equitable solutions, and influence decision-makers.


When networks of professionals are equipped with knowledge and skills, and supported to collaboratively learn and experiment, they can accelerate the field of practice toward scaled implementation and integration of sustainability in all communities across the Southeast.


Grow the Field

More communities commit to implementing sustainable solutions for all.

Outcome: Municipal leaders have a pathway for advancing sustainability with access to support and resources. 

Build Capacity

Sustainability leaders have the capacity to implement sustainability best practices in their communities.

Outcome: We recognize local needs and customize capacity building tracks for members at all levels of their sustainability journey.

Align Practitioners

Members collaborate to develop solutions to scale sustainability best practices.

Outcome: Sustainability practitioners build trusting relationships with one another and have access to shared best practices and regional implementation examples.

Build a Strong Organization

We are a vehicle of change through building and maintaining a thriving organization rooted in the network model.

Outcome: Our foundational structure is built on our core values and will build sustainability solutions for all in the Southeast.

Our Desired Impact

We want the Southeast to be a more sustainable region, and we believe that we will be successful when:


More communities have increased knowledge of and access to sustainability best practices

There is widespread adoption of sustainability policies

Practitioners implement and adapt sustainability best practices with greater consistency and ease

The field of sustainability evolves and matures across the entire region

Our network is recognized as a national leader in sustainability field building through exemplary management, operations, and financial health

Core Values

Collaboration is the way we operate and fosters integration of core values into our work. It allows us to strengthen the network and our communities.

We value authentic relationships that are predicated on shared experiences that develop trust, honesty, and integrity.

We support innovative efforts to enable transformation of the region into one that is sustainable and equitable.

We value diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and knowledge as they strengthen our network and the field.

We put equity at the forefront of our work, and align our policies, practices, and resources so that all people have genuine opportunities to thrive. 

We create an inclusive environment in which everyone feels valued and respected and is invited to participate.

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