Responding to Climate Change

Human-induced climate change is threatening human civilisation and other species.

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions from energy use from coal, transport, waste disposal and land use are causing more frequent and extreme weather events such as bushfires, sea level rise, loss of wildlife and economic impacts.

Climate and Biodiversity Emergency

In 2019, Waverley declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, acknowledging that urgent collaborative action at all levels of government is necessary to protect our environment and community for future generations.

In 2020 Council also signed the Safe Climate Declaration, committing to accelerate our greenhouse gas emission reduction plans and integrating adaptation and resilience measures to restore a safe climate and repair ecosystems.

Already committed to strong environmental targets, we continue to explore more innovative ways of achieving carbon neutrality, improving water conservation and water quality, managing our coastal environment, protecting our bushland and wildlife, both within organisational operations and in partnership with business and the community.

Progress and actions to meet Climate change commitments

  On track   More to do
Council commitments & current progressActions

70% reduction of Council emissions (2003/04 levels) by 2030:  

Action to reduce Council and community greenhouse gas emissions are a key priority for Waverley Council. By reducing our electricity use and switching to renewable energy power sources, we can all help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, individually, organisationally and as a community.

  • We are on track to achieving our Council emissions reduction target through cost-effective investments in street lighting, solar power systems, energy-saving and lighting upgrades on Council properties and facilities.
  • Since 1 July 2019, 35% of our large sites are powered by 100% renewable energy from the Moree Solar Farm through a Power Purchase Agreement (together with 18 other Sydney Councils).
70% reduction of community emissions (2003/04 levels) by 2030

We are supporting the community with award-winning programs including:

  • Building Futures – working with existing strata properties to reduce common area energy and water use.
  • Eastern Suburbs Electric Vehicle Charging Network - on-street public charging stations in key destination hotspots, from Maroubra to Double Bay to encourage low emissions mobility.
  • Solar my School - which has leveraged more than $2 million in funding to install solar on 60 of the 64 schools across the Eastern Suburbs (2MW installed by end 2019).
  • Access to free energy saving and renewable energy advice hotline for households, through the Australian Energy Foundation.
  • Piloting Suntenants, an innovative model that provides rental properties access the benefits of solar via smart investment approaches (renters make up 55% of Waverley’s population).
  • Reducing methane by keeping organic waste out of landfill with composting programs such as Compost Revolution.

Pollution in waterways is minimised by 2030

0% increase in council water use by 2030

0% increase in community water use by 2030

Water is one of the world’s most precious resources. In Waverley we manage and conserve it through a diverse Sustainable Water program, which includes:

  • Gross pollutant traps capture approximately 48 – 60 tonnes of litter, sediment and other stormwater pollutants from our streets and prevent pollutants from ending up at our beaches.
  • Stormwater harvesting at Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte, removes 212 kilograms of nitrogen from waterways each year. Council’s water recycling schemes harvest and supply around 113 million litres of treated recycled water each year. In addition, smart irrigation controllers at all our parks use automatic watering systems, minimising water use through predictive watering which adjusts watering time and volume based on the forecast weather and actual rainfall.
  • Raingardens in Bondi Junction filter pollutants from stormwater and keep Centennial Park clean removing an estimated 10 kilograms of nitrogen each year.
  • Supporting the community with tips and information on water conservation measures at home, at work and at school.

No loss of remnant vegetation

40% of remnant vegetation in good condition by 2030

Increase canopy and shrub cover to 29.9% by 2029 from 23.9% in 2016

There is 5.8 hectares of remnant vegetation in Waverley which is host to over 50 native species of animal. We are undertaking extensive Bushland Management by revegetating with native species and enhancing the condition of surrounding land, and implementing a Biodiversity Action Plan for Remnant Sites, which includes:

Plan and Respond to the impacts of climate change

Climate change presents strategic and financial risks and opportunities for our organisation and our community. We are working to assess and address climate risks and strengthen our community resilience.

  • Together with Neighbouring Councils we are preparing a Coastal Scoping Study, to inform a Coastal Management Plan for the Eastern Beaches.
  • We work with Resilient Sydney to build a connected inclusive and resilient community.
  • We are assessing Climate Risks to Assets and Operations, for example through the recent Waverley flood study.
  • The grant funded Future Proofing Residential Development to Climate Change project aims to support existing building controls with Council-led initiatives to better manage residential energy and water consumption into the future. Read how climate change will impact residential buildings in the Eastern Beaches in the Stage 1 report and read how we can enhance resilience of our dwellings in the Addendum to the Stage 1 report: Adaptations to residential building designs.
  • The grant funded Skyparks project aims to research, implement and develop cost-effective methods for cooling hot urban spaces, such as carparks, by installing vegetation.
  • We have compiled a list of species of evergreen plants for the eastern suburbs that are suitable to plant in your garden to cool your home.
  • And we are working to strengthen and build social resilience through cohesive and connected communities.

Sustainability Leadership

Our internal Embedding Sustainability program  is ensuring that we lead by example when it comes to business sustainability, while reflecting our community’s values, by:

  • Nurturing and enabling an internal culture that supports sustainability targets, and
  • Refining our procurement processes to positively influence the supply chain, including mandatory sustainability evaluation for tenders and key staff trained on ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement
  • Digitalisation of DA application processes  and Planning Certificates. Estimated savings of over $80,000 and over 40,000 pieces of paper/year.
  • Implementing behaviour change programs and new policies to reduce staff resource use and increase recycling, including at all council hosted events and meetings.
  • Use of recycled glass products included in the delivery of capital infrastructure projects
  • Training new staff trained in sustainability principles and incorporating environmental sustainability incorporated as key element in recruitment processes for key positions across council
  • Purchasing 100% recycled, Carbon Neutral, FSC certified A4 Planet Ark printing paper only and environmentally responsible tea, coffee and sugar.

More information

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