Sustainability leadership

Our actions to lead a sustainable community.

Climate emergency declaration

In September 2019, the City of Port Phillip declared a climate emergency, stating climate change poses a serious risk to Australians – including those living in Port Phillip – and should be treated as an emergency. Read about the climate emergency declaration.

"The evidence shows climate change is real, it’s here, it’s happened. No country – or council – can escape the potentially disastrous cascading impacts of climate change which must be addressed now. This is a local, and global emergency, and everyone must do their bit to preserve the liveability of our planet.” - Councillor Dick Gross

Key sustainability achievements

  • We declared a climate emergency in 2019 and are calling on the state and federal governments for stronger action on climate change.
  • Council will achieve zero net emissions in 2020-2021.
  • 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources. This includes 559 kW of rooftop solar on our buildings and investment in an 80 MW wind farm as part of our Power Purchase Agreement through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.
  • We are divesting from fossil fuels. For example, in February 2020 84% of our investments were fossil fuel free.
  • We are collecting and reusing stormwater to reduce our reliance on potable (drinking) water while also keeping our gardens and parks green.  For example, at the Alma Park stormwater harvesting scheme up to 18 million litres of stormwater is captured and reused each year.
  • We are planting trees on public land and have installed over 200 raingardens to treat stormwater and reduce pollution entering Port Phillip Bay.
  • We are installing dedicated bike lanes and paths across the city.
  • We are collecting data on our biodiversity to help protect our plants and animals.
  • We are raising the standards for Environmental Sustainable Design in the planning scheme for all new developments.

How are we reaching zero net emissions?

Council’s emissions mostly come from electricity use in our buildings (town halls, children’s services, community centres, libraries etc), followed by streetlights and fleet vehicles.

Since 1996/97, we have reduced our net emissions by 71 per cent (from 16,333 tCO2e in 1996/97 to 4,736 tCO2e in 2018/19). See the path of our emissions reductions in the chart below. 

We’ve been able to achieve this reduction in emissions by:

  • reducing our energy use
  • improving energy efficiency - for example, by improving insulation and replacing streetlights with LEDs, and installing more efficient heating and cooling systems in buildings
  • installing 559 kilowatts of solar on Council buildings such as St Kilda Town Hall and South Melbourne Market
  • adding electric bikes to our fleet and transitioning fleet vehicles to zero or low emissions vehicles (electric and hybrid models)
  • sourcing 100% renewable energy through our involvement in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, an 80MW wind farm.
  • purchasing accredited offsets

Our emissions trajectory