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.
Our approach to managing both our organisational and city environmental performance is driven by our eco- city goal (Council Plan Goal 5) and the city-wide strategies which support it including Zero Net Emissions by 2020, Total Watermark – City as a Catchment, Urban Forest Strategy – Making a great city greener 2012–32, and the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. To lead and inspire action throughout the community we continually work on improving our own operations.
We have identified four key impact areas in which to improve our environmental performance: greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and water and waste management.
Energy and emissions
Our Zero Net Emissions by 2020 Strategy sets clear, ambitious objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the municipality and maintain carbon neutrality. The City of Melbourne has been a carbon neutral organisation since 2011–12 and we continue to focus on reducing the emissions impact of our organisation. We maintain carbon-neutrality in our own operations by measuring, auditing, reporting and offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions through the National Carbon Offset Standard Carbon Neutral Program.
A key focus of our efforts over the past year has been the development of an Emissions Reduction Plan for Council Operations, which summarises the actions that the City of Melbourne will take to reduce emissions from our operations between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2021. We are committed to reporting annually to the community on our progress in delivering these actions.
Improving the energy efficiency of our operations and increasing our uptake of renewable energy sources is critical to achieving our ambitious emissions reductions targets. Over the past year we have added a total of 355 kW of generation to the electricity network through solar installation at the North Melbourne Recreation Centre (200 kW), Fitzroy Gardens Visitors Centre and Park Depot (75 kW), Carlton Baths and Family Resources Centre (45 kW), and Community Hub at the Dock (35 kW). These projects save Melbourne the equivalent of 588 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, or electricity consumption of 120 houses for a year.
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 2015–16 includes estimations and is subject to change. Final 2015–16 data will be published online within the sustainability section of our website following recertification of our carbon neutral status.
We aim to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 10 per cent by 2018 against our baseline year 2010–11. You can see how we are tracking against this target under our Goal 5 performance section.
Total electricity consumption from non-renewable sources
Total electricity consumption from renewable sources
Total energy consumption
Gross greenhouse gas emissions (tCO2e) Refer Note 2
2015-16 Refer Note 1
Scope 3 Refer Note 3
29,925 Refer Note 4
Note 1: All 2015-16 figures include estimations and are subject to change.
Note 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.
Note 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 City of Melbourne control)
Subsidiaries (Queen Victoria Market services, City of Melbourne Citywide contracts)
Services (ageing and inclusion 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).
Supply chain data has been estimated using financial data. Supply chain data will be updated in October.
Water is essential for liveability in Melbourne, helping to keep our green spaces healthy and cooling the city. Our ambition is a healthy city in a healthy catchment. To achieve this, we are working to create a sustainable and resilient approach to water use, which will support liveability into the future. We want the whole of Melbourne’s community – residents, workers and businesses alike – to think about water and its role in our future.
During the past year we have been working with the Victorian Government, upstream municipalities, Melbourne Water and others to develop our water planning, flood management and water sensitive urban design responses in the city. This has included the development of catchment and flood management plans to inform our long-term goals in areas like Southbank, Arden Macaulay and Fishermans Bend, as well as ongoing studies into how we could supply more non-potable sources of water to our parks for irrigation.
We extended our approach to managing the city as a catchment by beginning works on the Lincoln Square stormwater harvesting system. The stormwater tank will keep the nearby parks healthy while contributing to flood mitigation in Elizabeth Street. Long-term planning for additional stormwater harvesting projects is underway so that we can maximise our ability to capture stormwater and minimise flooding and nutrient run off into waterways. We have also started discussions with major infrastructure project proponents about building water sensitive urban design into the legacies their projects leave for the city.
Our total surface water withdrawal and the amount of rainwater we collected and stored has reduced over the past year due to the below average rainfall. The water level in Royal Park wetland depleted to below the sustainable level during the peak of the irrigation season, and the stormwater tanks in Fitzroy, Queen Victoria, and Darling Gardens ran out of water several times during the irrigation season.
The total irrigated area has significantly increased this year due to the irrigation of new sites including Fawkner Park North, Flemington Oval and Ron Barassi Senior Park. Due to the dry summer, we have also increased our irrigation service level at many sites, and used potable water top ups for areas normally irrigated by the Royal Park wetland. Despite this, the total municipal water use in open spaces has reduced over the past year by about two per cent.
We will keep improving our irrigation water use efficiency in order to achieve optimum water use and a healthy, functional landscape.
Visit Urban Water1 for more information on our water management approach.
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)
Rainwater collected directly and stored by the organisation (From stormwater harvesting systems, manual and automatic (IRRInet) water meters readings)
Wastewater from another organisation
Municipal water supplies or other water utilities (Total municipal water used in open spaces (parks, gardens and water features)).
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 needing 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.
Over the past year we engaged with the community to produce an Integrated Waste Management Plan to ensure continual improvement of our waste management approach. The Future Melbourne Committee approved the final Waste and Resource Recovery Plan 2015–18 on Tuesday 8 September 2015.
Total weight of waste by type and disposal method for council operations:
Recycling – 155 tonnes
Landfill – 617 tonnes
This includes waste collection for an expanded list of City of Melbourne buildings from previous years.
We also aim to reduce our total municipal waste-to-landfill ratio. You can see how we are tracking against this target under our Goal 5 performance section. We also measure diversion rates through the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework.