Bayside City Council
Bayside City Council is located in the southern suburbs of Melbourne along Port Phillip Bay. Covering an area of 37 square kilometres, and home to nearly 107,000 residents, the area was originally inhabited by the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation.
Renowned for its quality of life, Bayside is characterised by unique and appealing villages, over 17 kilometres of coastline, lush parklands, quality residential areas, a vibrant arts scene and a proud, colourful history, which is reflected in our heritage buildings and sites.
Bayside provides a range of services, maintains significant infrastructure, and enforces various laws for its community. As a Council, our purpose is to work with our community to make Bayside a better place.
“Achieving carbon neutrality in 2020 demonstrated Council’s role as a sector leader in environmental citizenship.”
Type of certification
How long have you been certified carbon neutral?
Why did you choose to go carbon neutral?
In October 2008, at the request of its community, Bayside City Council committed to be carbon neutral for its operations by 2020.
Since then, this commitment has driven works to upgrade streetlights and buildings to improve energy efficiency, new buildings have been constructed with a focus on minimising energy use, installing renewable energy, and improving thermal comfort, and further opportunities to achieve carbon neutrality have been explored.
Adoption of the Climate Change Strategy in 2012 and Environmental Sustainability Framework in 2016 reinforced Council’s commitment to become carbon neutral. Our Community Plan 2017 also set the aspiration that Council will be an environmental steward, “showing leadership and upgrading its facilities to minimise environmental impact”.
What are the anticipated benefits of your carbon neutral certification?
Achieving carbon neutrality is important for Bayside City Council and the community as it:
- meets community expectations for Council to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and its contribution to climate change;
- requires Council to understand our major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, their quantities and to independently verify these figures for accuracy;
- for emissions within our control, identifies opportunities for reductions, improved efficiency and cost savings;
- ensures Council’s supply chain and procurement decisions support suppliers and contractors who actively minimise their greenhouse gas emissions; and
- provides social and environmental benefits through the purchase of appropriate carbon offsets.
Achieving carbon neutrality in 2020 demonstrated Council’s role as a sector leader in environmental citizenship.
What offset projects do you support?
A native forest regeneration project in Australia; solar and wind power projects in India; and a wind power project in Taiwan.
Why did you choose these projects?
Bayside City Council’s strategy to purchase offsets considered factors which impact the cost, social and environmental outcomes of offsetting, and have the potential to enhance or impact Council’s reputation. These factors included: the price of offsets, the location and types of offset projects; and the co-benefits derived.
The co-benefits include Native Forest regeneration, biodiversity, income for an indigenous community, and direct reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through solar and wind power projects.
The majority of the carbon offsets purchased provide direct benefits in Victoria and Australia, with the remainder providing benefits internationally. ‘Local’ benefits were important to Council and our community.
How can the community support you?
Achieving certification for carbon neutrality through the national Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard, demonstrates our leadership.
However, our greenhouse gas emissions represent a very small percentage of the emissions from the municipality.
Our community, including households, schools, businesses, and organisations can support Bayside’s efforts by understanding, reducing and minimising their environmental impact.
In the ‘Climate Emergency’, we are all obliged to do what we can to avoid the disastrous effects of climate change.
What else are you doing to reduce emissions?
Bayside committed to a Power Purchase Agreement for renewable energy, to supply our large sites and streetlighting (approximately three-quarters of Council’s electricity use) from 2020. This agreement will see electricity procured from renewable energy facilities within Victoria for the next ten years.
A number of emissions reduction initiatives have also been included as actions within our Climate Emergency Action Plan including:
- Updating the Fleet Policy to transition the Council fleet to net zero carbon.
- Reviewing and updating the Sustainable Infrastructure Policy to align with Climate Emergency principles.
- Continuing to implement a capital works program to increase energy efficiency, renewable energy, and batteries, in Council buildings and assets.
What has been the impact of your action?
Bayside is the first Council in the south east region of Melbourne to achieve certified ‘carbon neutrality’. This long-term project has provided the impetus to continue addressing climate change impacts and maintained our focus to deliver on our commitment.
This initiative has also enhanced community awareness and support of Bayside’s work in addressing climate change impacts. and increased knowledge and awareness for staff, Councillors and the community. Collaboration between Council departments has resulted in strengthened relationships and a whole-of-organisation approach.
Complementing this achievement and progressing this journey is the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Council in December 2019 and the adoption of a Climate Emergency Action Plan in September 2020. This Action Plan commits Council to maintaining certified ‘carbon neutral’ status as an organisation.
What advice would you give to a business considering certification?
Achieving the carbon neutrality goal has required considered planning and decision-making across Bayside’s various services, such as infrastructure, procurement and fleet policy.
A quantified inventory of Council’s greenhouse gas emissions had to be resourced, maintained and assessed to ensure Council met its commitment.
Bayside’s pathway to meet the ‘carbon neutral’ goal used an Avoid, Reduce, Switch and Offset approach to prioritise actions.
This approach has maximised the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, focussing on reducing emissions from sources that Council directly controls, and/or can be accurately measured.
Making carbon neutrality certification a long-term goal has introduced this strategic approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.