Annual Report 2014–15

Our environmental performance

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Our environmental performance

The City of Melbourne plays a key role in managing and improving environmental outcomes across the city. We set ambitious targets, support innovation and new technologies, and work with the community to support city-scale change.

We also monitor our environmental actions as part of Council Plan Goal 5

One of our key goals is to become an eco-city. To support this goal, we have developed a number of key city-wide strategies such as Zero Net Emissions by 2020, Total Watermark – City as a Catchment, and the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

To lead and inspire action throughout the community we ensure we continually improve our own operations. The City of Melbourne has been a carbon neutral organisation since 2011–12 and we focus on reducing the impact of our organisation. This year we measured the footprint of the Moomba Festival as part of a plan to reduce the environmental impacts of our major events. We also have implemented a new online environmental data management system to keep track of how we are going, and highlight further improvements.

Our four key focus areas for the organisation and the city are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting renewable energy, and improved water and waste management.

In the upcoming year, we are developing a new Five-Year Emissions Reduction Plan for the organisation and installing $800,000 of solar on our facilities.

Water management

Our ambition is a healthy city in a healthy catchment. We want the whole of Melbourne’s community – residents, workers and businesses alike – to think about water and its role in our future.

As one of the biggest water users in the municipality, we have a leadership role to play in continuing to implement integrated water cycle management. This year we extended our approach to managing the city as a catchment with the installation of the Fitzroy Gardens stormwater harvesting system. The stormwater tank, twice the size of an Olympic swimming pool, will keep the heritage landscape healthy while future-proofing the gardens from the effects of climate change. It will save about 70 million litres of potable water each year, reducing our water use in the garden by 60 per cent.

Another stormwater harvesting system was completed at Alexandra and Queen Victoria Gardens. This system uses the existing ornamental ponds in Queen Victoria Gardens as stormwater storage, with the aquatic plants helping to clean the water. Providing 20 million litres of water for irrigation every year, the system reduces our water use in these gardens by 55 per cent and increases our resilience to climate change impacts. To share information about these systems and other sustainable water management initiatives undertaken by the Council, the Urban Water website1 was completed this year. The website is an education tool that helps the community to understand how we are managing water for the future and creates a culture of knowledge sharing among organisations in the water industry.

Total water withdrawal by source


Volume of water withdrawn

Surface water, including water from wetlands, rivers, lakes and oceans
(Surface water is total water withdrawn from Royal Park wetland)

97,247 KL


Not applicable

Rainwater collected directly and stored by the organization
(From stormwater harvesting systems; manual and automatic (IRRInet) water meters readings)

73,467 KL

Wastewater from another organisation

Not applicable

Municipal water supplies or other water utilities
(Municipal water supplies or other water utilities have been taken directly from CoM’s new environmental data management system and includes all mains water used by the organization)

1,020,061 KL

Energy emissions

The City of Melbourne measures its greenhouse gas emissions footprint every year, which helps us to understand our biggest impacts, and identify potential reduction areas. Our largest impact is our electricity consumption, more than half of which is used in public lighting. Our remaining electricity is used in our administration buildings, and community buildings such as childcare centres, libraries and recreation centres.

In addition to electricity, our greenhouse gas inventory includes all natural gas and refrigerants used in our buildings, and all fuel used by our fleet. We also measure and include the impact of our supply chain, which includes air travel, paper use, employee commuting, the use of taxis and hire cars, street cleaning, tourist shuttle buses, waste disposal and postage.

We became certified as a carbon neutral organisation in 2011–12 under the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS), and submit our application to become re-certified every year.

All of our emissions and energy reporting is guided by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 and NCOS Carbon Neutral Program. Due to the timing of the Annual Report and our reporting obligations within these frameworks, the data for 2014–15 include estimations and are subject to change. Final 2014–15 data will be published online within the sustainability section of our website following re-certification of our carbon neutral status.

We measure our progress against our baseline year 2010–11, which was the year we created our corporate inventory. We aim to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 10 per cent by 2018 on 2010–11 levels. You can see how we are tracking against this target under our Goal 5 performance section.

Energy consumption within the organisation (GJ)







(see note 1)

Total fuel consumption from non-renewable sources






Total fuel consumption from renewable sources






Total electricity consumption from non-renewable sources






Total electricity consumption from renewable sources






Total energy consumption






Gross greenhouse gas emissions (tC02-E) (see note 2)







(see note 1)

Scope 1






Scope 2






Scope 3





(see Note 4)





(see Note 5)


  1. All 2014-15 figures include estimations and are subject to change.

  2. Previous figures have been revised as accounts were reconciled during the implementation of a new environmental data management system. Accounts now also include GreenPower.

  3. Updated annually in October as part of the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). Categories and activities in Scope 3 include:

    • Transport (flights, hire car, taxis, employee commuting, public transport)

    • Energy (emissions associated with production and transmission of electricity, natural gas and fuel; street lighting not under CoM control)

    • Subsidiaries (Queen Victoria Market services, CoM Citywide contracts)

    • Services (civil design and traffic engineering, courier and postage, Parks contractors, street cleaning, tourist shuttle bus, vehicle towing, coin collection, security, waste, recreation services, building and property maintenance, asphalt production)

    • Goods (paper, water, oils, solvents, lubricants)

  1. Previous year’s supply chain data used. Supply chain data will be updated in October.

  2. Change in total reported for NCOS (51,030) due to correction of errors when importing data into new system.

Waste management

We play a key role in waste management, working hard to help our city increase recycling and recovery of valuable resources, decrease the amount of waste sent to landfill and improve amenity so our streets are kept clean for everyone to enjoy.

One of our key priorities is to reduce landfill, which will reduce greenhouses gas emissions from the breakdown of waste and reduce the amount of contaminants that leak into our soil and water. Increasing recycling not only reduces landfill, it also reduces the amount of new resources required to be mined and manufactured. Another key priority is to improve the collection and storage of waste to increase amenity by managing noise, odour, vermin, and reducing dumped rubbish.

This year saw the successful continuation of the High Rise recycling program that improves recycling in apartment buildings and the Green Money program that rewards residents for recycling. We also installed compactors and recycling hubs that consolidate bins and apply a precinct approach to waste management, such as operating the Degraves Street Recycling Facility to divert organics and recycling from businesses.

We have been working on a new Integrated Waste Management Plan, which has been open for public comment on our Participate Melbourne website, and will be submitted to the Council in September 2015.

Total weight of waste by type and disposal method for council operations

  • Recycling – 191.57 tonnes

  • Landfill – 339.63 tonnes

This includes waste collection for Council buildings only. A waste audit for Council’s three main administration buildings was undertaken in February 2015. This audit is being used to develop proposals to improve recycling rates and quality across the organisation.

Knowledge, skills and systems – getting it right for a sustainable city

To achieve our ambition to be a world-leading sustainable organisation, we are continually striving to improve our performance and strengthen the culture of sustainability within our organisation.

We built upon the success of our existing staff training and engagement program Sustainability Basics, by launching the more advanced Beyond Sustainability Basics program. This new course offers additional practical assistance to enable staff to embed sustainability into their work areas. Beyond Sustainability Basics has trained around 50 staff since its launch in October 2014 and the original Sustainability Basics is still in demand, having trained more than 350 staff since its development.

We also have implemented a new online environmental data management system called CCAP, which provides an accessible and up-to-date snap shot of our utility consumption for every building, park and sports ground Council operates. This provides a great opportunity to measure, manage and report on our environmental performance and identify where savings can be made.

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