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City of Sydney

Represented by Anna Robertson, Policy Advisor

Answer

How does your organisation address climate change?

The City of Sydney has been a leader in climate action for more than a decade. We have led by example in reducing our organisational environmental footprint, and we influence change in the operations of our service providers, businesses and communities to establish Sydney as a global exemplar in environmental performance. The City has been certified as a carbon-neutral organisation since 2011. At June 2020, efficiency projects and generation of renewable electricity on our properties had reduced the City’s operational emissions to 31 per cent below 2006 levels. We have also been transitioning to electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions from our fleet. From July 2020, we began using 100 per cent renewable electricity, and our emissions dropped to 76 per cent below 2006 levels in June 2021. We have been strengthening water resilience by establishing a precinct-scale recycled water scheme at urban renewal site Green Square, incorporating water reuse schemes in 20 of our parks to keep them cool and green during drought, and laying a recycled water pipeline along George Street – the CBD’s central boulevard. The canopy cover in the local area increased from 15.5 per cent in 2008 to 19.2 per cent in 2020, and we created 11.5 hectares of new green space since 2009.

The City works closely with the sectors that have the greatest environmental impact in our local area: commercial offices, the accommodation and entertainment sector and residential apartment buildings. Through programs like Smart Green Apartments, the Better Building Partnership, CitySwitch Green Office and the Sustainable Destination Partnership, we partner with owners and operators to reduce these impacts. The City has been working with developers, the NSW Government, and other local councils to establish net-zero performance standards for new buildings, including multi-unit residential and commercial buildings, shopping centres, and hotels. We have been working with Ausgrid to install LED street lights, which improve lighting quality and reduce energy consumption and bills. Over 9,500 street lights have been converted to LEDs since 2012, and Ausgrid is now rolling out a replacement program of over 112, 000 LEDs in 28 other councils. Since 2010, the City has installed 24.6 kilometres of separated cycleways, as part of our commitment to encouraging our community to use active transport and reduce car use in our city. The City reports annually through the CDP Cities program, part of our C40 Cities membership; as well as publishing a comprehensive annual Green Report and an annual Climate Active report to demonstrate carbon neutrality.

What is your organisation doing to create a better future?

The City’s Environmental Strategy 2021 – 2025 sets out the City’s targets and actions for its own operations and for the local area. Targets include:

  • 80% reduction in operational emissions generation by end June 2025, from 2006 baseline; while maintaining carbon neutrality
  • For the local area, net-zero emission by 2035 and d70% reduction by 2030, from a 2006 baseline.

The City will continue to deliver energy, water and resilience outcomes in our own operations, as well as looking to regenerate the environment through our carbon neutral commitment by buying high-quality, Australian carbon offsets. We will evaluate our supply chain for opportunities to reduce embodied emissions and deliver circular economy outcomes. To influence the performance of existing buildings in our local area the City will advocate for stronger requirements for mandatory disclosure of environmental performance. Through our partnerships and grants programs, we will support building owners, operators and tenants to implement efficiency measures, use renewable electricity and transition from gas to electricity. We will also support the transition to zero-emissions transport.

Read more about City of Sydney's climate commitments here.