City of Sydney Climate Actions 2007-2019

Summary of City of Sydney climate actions:

  • Committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity in 2020, meaning we will meet our 2030 target of reducing emissions by 70 per cent in 2024.
  • Became the first carbon neutral council in Australia in 2007.
  • Reduced emissions by 25 per cent in our own operations and – working with the business community – reduced city-wide emissions by 20 per cent.
  • Divested 36 per cent of the City’s portfolio – equivalent to $223 million – investments in fossil fuels. The City is exploring ways to increase this, but are restricted by NSW Government investment rules.
  • Became the first Australian city to install energy-efficient LED street lights on a large scale as part of a $7 million project. The City replaced 6,000 city-owned street and park lights, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,000 tonnes a year and saving nearly $800,000 a year in electricity and maintenance costs. In 2018, the City paid Ausgrid to fast-track replacement of the remaining 9,500 street lights owned by Ausgrid. When this project is complete it will save over $1 million in energy and maintenance costs, and 3,400 tonnes of carbon, a year.
  • Retrofitted 45 City properties to reduce electricity and water use, slashing carbon emissions and generating savings of more than $1 million a year.
  • Installed 4,261 solar panels across 38 City-owned buildings, one of the largest rooftop solar programs in Australia.
  • Installed the largest Tesla battery in Greater Sydney at our Alexandra Canal Depot, avoiding 600 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.
  • Installed tri-generation at Town Hall House to supply the office building and Town Hall itself.
  • Built one of Australia’s largest urban stormwater recycling facilities at Green Square, which can treat up to 900,000 litres of stormwater every day – 320 million litres per year – for use in washing machines, to flush toilets, and water parks and gardens.
  • Invested in 19 electric vehicles for the City’s fleet, as well as 40 hybrid cars and 70 hybrid trucks – one of Australia’s largest fleets of electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Built 12.8 kilometres of separated cycleways, 60 kilometres of shared paths and 40 kilometres of other infrastructure so that people leave their cars behind and reduce transport emissions in the city.
  • Contributed $220 million to support the extension of light rail project along George Street to reduce transport emissions in the city.
  • Introduced car-sharing to Australia, with a ground-breaking policy that is being used in other jurisdictions. In December 2018, 52,832 city resident and businesses were members of a car share scheme – 31 per cent of all licenced drivers in the local government area.
  • Trialling food scraps recycling in apartments, introducing kerbside e-waste pick-up and phasing out single use plastics in our own operations.

Summary of the City of Sydney’s flagship sustainability programs:

  • Established the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) with major building owners providing more than half the commercial office space in the city centre. Members have reduced their emissions by 52 per cent since 2006, over halfway to its target of 70 per cent by 2030. They have also reduced their water use by 31 per cent since 2006 and saved businesses over $30 million a year.
  • Inspired by the success of this program, established the Sustainable Destination Partnership, with more than 40 local and international organisations from the accommodation and entertainment sectors signing up to reduce emissions and water use, increase use of renewable energy, and improve waste management.
  • Co-founded the CitySwitch Green Office program the City of Sydney in 2005 that now represents 16 per cent of all Australian office space. In 2018, these businesses reduced their carbon emissions by 711,000 tonnes and saved nearly $23 million a year.
  • Many members of the City of Sydney’s flagship sustainability programs – Sustainable Destination Partnership, Better Buildings Partnership and CitySwitch – have signed the Sydney Single Use Pledge to drastically reduce single-use plastics across their businesses.



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