First-of-its-kind sustainability benchmarking report given green light
  • Thursday 15 September 2016

In an unprecedented move, council today released its sustainability benchmarking report, showing it is serious about its vision to become Australia’s most sustainable region.

The Sunshine Coast Council Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Report 2015/2016 provides an annual snapshot of the organisation’s greenhouse gas footprint and sustainability performance.

One of the key findings the report reveals is that the council’s total emissions, including emissions from community waste managed at council landfills, decreased by 12.3% (20,150 tonnes of greenhouse gas) since the benchmark year of 2014/2015. This is equivalent to taking approximately 6000 vehicles off the road a year.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the sustainability benchmarking report was a first-of-its-kind in Queensland and demonstrated leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas reporting.

“Today’s endorsement of the report is central to achieving our commitment to being Australia’s most sustainable region and meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The environmental sustainability benchmarking exercise started in 2014/2015 to collect baseline data to measure and monitor our greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions, waste, energy consumption, transport use, water use, green buildings and programs, and internal systems and processes that deliver sustainability outcomes.

“Collecting information on these indicators in a consistent way that is quantifiable and measurable enables us to monitor changes over time, improve business efficiency and identify opportunities for investment and cost savings.”

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said council continues to implement a range of energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives and programs such as participation in the voluntary international Airport Carbon Accreditation Program, increasing landfill gas flaring at both landfills, staff sustainability events and programs and vehicle streamlining.

“These projects are delivering noticeable results when comparing how council is tracking on key indicators in the 2015/2016 Benchmarking Report against the baseline data collected in 2014/2015,” Cr McKay said.

Other key findings from the 2015/2016 Benchmarking Report include:

  • The rate of organisational waste council diverted away from landfill increased from 54% in 2014/2015 to 59% in 2015/2016.
  • The largest contributors to the organisation’s overall carbon footprint continues to be waste to landfill 78%, including council and community waste, and street lighting and electricity 17%.
  • Since 2014/2015, council has increased landfill gas flaring by 52% with the introduction of additional infrastructure at council landfills. This initiative is one of many that drives council’s policy outcome to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The organisation has a number of new assets which has contributed to a minor increase in electricity consumption of 0.62% (122 Megawatts) since 2014/2015.
  • Council staff participation in sustainability events and programs has increased since the previous financial year by 40% with innovative programs including the new digital business event ‘Ignite’ promoting a reduction in travel for business purposes and new campaigns for saving electricity and waste.

To view the Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Report 2015/2016 or for further information, visit council’s website.