Sustainable living

9 things to know about our proposed environment strategy

We’ve sharpened our targets. Have your say by 16 June

Trees and sky - looking up

We aspire to outstanding environmental performance in our operations and local area.

We want to be a leader globally in tackling climate change with ambitious, focused and collaborative approaches.

To date, commitments by countries around the world are nowhere close to being on track to limit global heating.

That’s why we’re accelerating our action and bringing our net zero emissions target forward 5 years to 2035.

Our proposed environmental strategy 2021-2025 is now open for your feedback. Take a look and have your say by 16 June.

Here are some of the things we’re doing in the next 4 years you might like to note.

1. New recycled water sources to keep parks green

We’re investigating and developing alternative water sources to keep our parks green with non-potable water.

We need to save our precious potable - drinking - water for people.

Some parks may be connected to a city centre water recycling scheme, others will need individual solutions.

2. Phasing out natural gas from our operations

Our pools, for example, are currently heated by gas. We plan to electrify all our gas-fuelled assets.

This will take time.

In the interim we plan to buy renewable gas for all our needs by 2025.

Renewable gas can be generated from composted food, or the nutrients in wastewater, through an anaerobic digestion facility. Gas is then injected back into the gas grid to supply home and business gas needs.

3. New building performance standards

We’re introducing net-zero performance standards in our planning rules.

They’re the first of their kind for a local council in Australia.

We want to get as many buildings in our area as possible to become net zero buildings.

4. Cooling tactics

We’re increasing tree canopy and ensuring it is as evenly distributed as possible across all neighbourhoods.

We’re also using a local sensor network to get more information on what makes areas of our city heat up.

5. Electrifying our fleet

We aim to trial an electric version of most vehicle types. And we’ll expand our electric passenger fleet.

6. Composting, recycling and the circular economy

We’ll expand our food scraps collection service and investigate new services to help residents recycle more and better.

We’re also investigating how we can contribute to the growth of the circular economy.

The circular economy has 3 principles: designing out waste and pollution; keeping products and materials at their highest value for as long as possible, and regenerating natural and social systems.

We want to help decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources.

7. Caring for disadvantaged groups such as renters

Not everyone can afford - or has the power - to install solar panels and measures to protect against extreme heat, such as insulation.

Some people are at risk of sweltering in summer.

We’re looking at which groups are most adversely affected by climate change and how we can help them avoid disproportionate impacts.

8. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We’re working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and investing in knowledge and practices that restore natural equilibrium by caring for Country.

We’ll continue to work with the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation to help create carbon offset projects in NSW, like our partnership in the NT.

9. Push for national action on climate change

Through Climate Emergency Australia, we’re collaborating with other councils to push for significant national action on climate change. We’ll push hard.

Have your say

Have a read of the proposed 4-year environmental strategy and tell us what you think by 16 June.

Our new targets:

Recap on our achievements since 2016:

  • We reduced emissions from our operations by 76%.
  • We’re now purchasing only 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar farms in NSW.
  • We allocated $3.8 million in environmental grants in response to 330 applications from 198 individual organisations.
  • We established a precinct-scale recycled water scheme at Green Square and achieved 6 Green Stars – Communities rating for Green Square town centre.
  • We set-up water reuse schemes in 20 parks.
  • We laid a recycled water pipeline in George Street.
  • We composted 7 tonnes of food waste a month from our properties.
  • We started a food scraps collection service. It will be available to 21,000 households by the end of September 2021.
  • We increased recycling in our buildings from 28% (2018) to 42% (2020).
  • We made e-waste recycling collections available to all residents.
  • We introduced a grid-scale battery at our Alexandra Canal depot in 2018 in conjunction with 1665 solar panels which enable the site to generate more electricity than it consumes.
  • We converted more than 3,000 street lights to LEDs.
  • We introduced a sustainable procurement policy.
  • We established the Sustainable Destination Partnership which has 46 members.
  • 75% of our Better Buildings Partnership members committed to net zero emissions.
  • We worked with 172 apartment blocks and helped them save $4 million, reduce emissions by 20,000 tonnes and water by 697million litres.
  • We signed-up more than 30 leaders from the hospitality, events and property sectors to the Sydney single-use plastic pledge.
  • We advocated for a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) tool for apartment buildings and 89 buildings have taken part so far.
  • We worked with NSW Government to install an air quality monitoring station.

If you read all the way down here, you’re good. Thank you.

Published 8 June 2021