Surf Coast Shire Council’s corporate operations are now certified as carbon neutral, in line with the national Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.
The 2021-22 financial year has qualified as Council’s first full year of carbon neutrality, delivering on a key objective in its Climate Emergency Corporate Response Plan.
“We are proud and excited to have reached this threshold formally achieving carbon neutrality for our corporate operations,” Mayor Libby Stapleton said.
“We hope that our leadership in this area inspires organisations and individuals across the shire to act on the Climate Emergency by switching to renewables and seeking sustainable alternatives – many small steps can combine to make a big difference.
“But while we are pleased to be at this point we remain focussed on actively cutting our emissions, with our target of reducing Council’s greenhouse gas emissions from all operations, excluding Anglesea landfill, to zero by 30 June 2030.”
Since declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019 Council has reduced corporate greenhouse gas emissions as a priority.
Steps have included installation of extensive rooftop solar systems with battery storage at Council facilities, the purchasing of 100 per cent renewable electricity for all Council facilities and streetlights, and now also includes the offsetting of all remaining corporate emissions.
Further Council actions on emissions reductions include replacing gas hot water and heating at Council facilities with electric systems powered by renewables and transitioning its fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles.
All of Council’s light vehicles are scheduled to be electric by 2028 and remaining vehicles including trucks and excavators are targeted for transition by 2030.
Council’s Climate Emergency Corporate Response Plan roadmap commits to reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2300 tonnes a year by 2030.
Council’s carbon footprint for 2021-22 was approximately 19,151 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, with 15,720 tonnes produced by its only landfill, at Anglesea.
While emissions from sources like electricity, gas and fuel use can be cut through electrification and switching to renewables, the emissions associated with gas from waste at the landfill needs to be offset.
The landfill will continue to be an emissions liability for decades but Council is committed to take all feasible measures to reduce emissions from the site including flaring methane and diverting organic material for composting.
Council’s purchase of carbon offset units has supported several domestic and international projects including bush regeneration in Queensland, forest and habitat protection in Tasmania and Peru and wind power projects in India and China.
Council is collaborating with regional partners including the Barwon South West Climate Alliance investigating establishment of local offset projects within Surf Coast Shire.
Climate Active is a partnership between the Australian Government and Australian businesses, driving voluntary climate action.