City of Adelaide

The City of Adelaide (CoA) and is one of 68 councils in South Australia. It includes the suburbs of Adelaide and North Adelaide, is the capital of South Australia and encompasses a total land area of about 16 square kilometres, including substantial Park Lands.  

The residential population of the City of Adelaide is 25,456 and a significant number of workers travel into the City of Adelaide to work. On an average weekday, the population grows to 321,579 as people travel to the city to work, study or shop. The City of Adelaide generates 18.2% of South Australia’s Gross State Product. Adelaide was deemed the tenth most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability index for 2018 and 2019.  

“We support and encourage businesses to pursue certified carbon neutrality to minimise their impact on the climate and show leadership in their sector.”

Type of certification


How long have you been certified carbon neutral?

Since February 2021.

Why are you carbon neutral?

The City of Adelaide recognises that sub-national government and local municipalities are at the front line of dealing with climate change. We must take decisive actions to both reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to a changing climate. As part of a long-standing commitment, the CoA reaffirmed a target for Council operations to achieve carbon neutral certification as part of the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. 

What are the anticipated benefits of your carbon neutral certification?

The City of Adelaide has been measuring and reducing GHG emissions for a number of years. By measuring and reducing emissions Council has been able to find efficiencies and benefits for the corporation and ratepayers. 

These include building energy efficiencies and lighting upgrades, switching to renewable energy, low emissions vehicle policy, solar power installations, and sustainable procurement policies.

An example of a direct benefit includes the long-term electricity supply contract which came into effect on 1 July 2020 for all operations to be supplied with 100 per cent renewable electricity. This contract will eliminate around 11,000 tonnes of emissions each year, which equates to taking roughly 3,500 cars off the road. The contract is expected to deliver a reduction in electricity costs to our budget – freeing up funds to be spent on other services for our residents and ratepayers.

Between 2011 and 2019, energy saving initiatives in the City of Adelaide’s top 10 electricity consuming buildings have reduced our total energy use in these buildings by over 19%, reducing costs by around $609,000 in the 2018-19 financial year. 

What offset projects do you support?

A native forest regeneration project in Queensland, a critical habitat protection project in the Cardamom Mountains rainforest ecoregion of Cambodia – one of the most important locations for biodiversity conservation on the planet, and a wind energy project in India.  

Why did you choose these projects?

The City of Adelaide’s approach to carbon offsetting is to maintain transparency, certainty, and cost-effectiveness. We have selected a mix of Australian and international offsets that deliver multiple co-benefits to local communities, including to protect and restore natural biodiversity.

While our first preference was for a South Australian offset project, there was no availability of the required amount of offsets from accredited South Australian biodiversity plantings due to demand for these projects. We hope to be able to secure these in the future as they become available. Supporting global efforts to reduce carbon in the atmosphere reflects the global nature of the problem of climate change. 

How can the community support you?

All city users can reduce carbon emissions, whether directly within their household, organisations, supply chains, advocacy and professional life. These include: 

  • make your home or building more energy efficient
  • make your travel to, from and around the city greener and more active or consider an electric vehicle
  • choose renewable energy
  • reduce waste and water use
  • reduce carbon emissions and offset those that are unavoidable
  • go to to take a quick survey about what you can do to reduce emissions in your own life, and pledge your support to Adelaide’s community-wide goals. 

The City of Adelaide provides a number of incentives, in the form of money back on sustainable technologies installed by households and businesses.  Visit the Sustainability Incentive Scheme web page for more information.

Residents can visit to: 

  • take a quick survey about what you can do to reduce emissions in your own life
  • pledge their support to Adelaide’s community–wide goals
  • find solutions and services using the Partner Director
  • find information to help with taking action
  • sign up to receive news from the Carbon Neutral Adelaide program.

City-based businesses and those who provide services to the City can join the growing Carbon Neutral Adelaide Partner Program for access to information, cross-sector networking and recognition.   

What else are you doing to reduce emissions?

Council has been working towards carbon neutrality for decades, improving efficiencies and utilising smart technology as part of our on-going journey, including LED streetlights, solar power on buildings, zero emissions transport and 100% renewable electricity. 

What has been the impact of your action?

Between 2011 and 2019, we reduced our total energy use by our top 10 electricity consuming buildings by over 19%, reducing costs by around $609,000 in 2018-19 financial year.

Between our base year (FY18/19) and certification year (FY19/20) of Climate Active Certification, carbon emissions have reduced 11%. 

The main reasons for this decrease were:

  • commissioning of several large solar power systems, now generating clean energy on our facilities, and
  • temporary closure of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre in response to Covid-19 restrictions between April and June 2020.

What advice would you give to a business considering certification?

We support and encourage businesses to pursue carbon emissions reduction and carbon neutrality certification to minimise their impact on the climate and show leadership in their sector.

The City of Adelaide provides rebates to residents and businesses for a range of sustainable actions and technologies. This includes solar power installations, electric vehicle charging, and innovation in electricity demand management, which all reduce carbon emissions in the community.  The City of Adelaide also offers a rebate on the up-front costs of pursuing certified carbon neutrality including carbon inventory set up, auditing and an emissions reduction plan.

Together with the Government of South Australia, the City of Adelaide hosts the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Partnership, an engagement program to support city businesses to reduce their emissions.

Through the Partnership program a group of active and collaborative organisations are promoted as service providers in pursuing carbon reductions.  

Find out more…

Public Disclosure Statement