Measuring sustainability

Learn how council measures and tracks its sustainability performance.

Measuring sustainability

One of the best ways to track performance is by using a set of indicators. Indicators are a useful tool to convey complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way and can provide insights into how we're progressing against our vision and targets. Indicators also help us to understand, discuss and inform decision making, identify efficiencies and help us to better target resources and investment.

Improvements in our sustainability performance also enhances the health, prosperity and liveability of our region, providing an important evidence base for our sustainability credentials.

Environmental sustainability benchmark report

The Organisational Environmental Sustainability Benchmarking Report provides an annual snapshot of council's environmental sustainability performance over time and is one of the ways council demonstrates its commitment to achieving its vision to be Australia's most sustainable region.

This report sets the baseline against which council can measure its progress and forms the basis to develop other initiatives and future plans, such as an organisational zero net emissions plan.

The benchmarking covers the following areas:

  • carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions
  • waste
  • energy (electricity and renewables)
  • fuel
  • transport
  • water
  • environmental sustainability programs
  • environmental sustainability embedded into systems and processes.

Zero net emissions

The Environment and Liveability Strategy sets a clear target for council to be a zero net emissions (ZNE) organisation and for the community to be low carbon by 2041. Being zero net emissions (or carbon neutral) means the net greenhouse gas emissions associated with an organisation's (or local government's) activities are equal to zero.

In addition to understanding our own emissions, council has also commenced the process to measure community greenhouse gas emissions to similarly provide a benchmark and detailed inventory to support future action.

Measuring our Sunshine Coast Biosphere

Region wide sustainability monitoring

As part of our commitment as a biosphere reserve, we need to measure our sustainability progress. These measurements are to inform a periodic review after 10 years which is required by UNESCO, with a five-year interim assessment report proposed.   

The performance measurement framework was designed with consideration of the Sunshine Coast Biosphere aim and objectives and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).