Sustainability Policy

Sustainability Policy Version: 1
Approval Date:  2 February 2021 
Approved by:   Council 
Review date:  2 February 2025 
Responsible Officer:  Manager – Strategy and Performance 
Authorising Officer:   CEO – City of Greater Geelong 

Introduction

Purpose

“Sustainability” refers to a continual way of thinking that focusses on the best outcomes for people, environment and the economy both now and in the future.

This policy explains what the City will do to make sustainability part of its culture, so it can deliver better outcomes for the community and succeed in its vision to ensure that, by 2047, the City is internationally recognised as a clever and creative city-region that is forward looking, enterprising and adaptive, and cares for its people and environment.

The City is committed to integrating sustainable thinking as a key principle that is considered in every form of business, when making decisions, writing strategies, plans and policies, managing risks and allocating resources. This assists in finding long-term solutions to the many challenges it faces including climate change, population growth, infrastructure development and social equity.

This policy supports the delivery of the Sustainability Framework and Action Plan, two documents which outline the key areas for the City to focus on and explains what actions will be taken under each of those areas.


Scope

This policy applies to the Council, all City Employees, Consultants and Volunteers.


Definitions

City - The City of Greater Geelong organisation led by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Council - The City of Greater Geelong Council comprised of elected councillors and led by the Mayor.

ELT - The Executive Leadership Team of the City, as constituted from time to time, and led by the CEO.


Policy

The City has existing commitments to sustainability in many policies, plans and strategies. To coordinate its approach and make it consistent, the Sustainability Framework and Action Plan map out current commitments and the future areas of focus. The City will invest in achieving the commitments and will report clearly to the community on progress.

The Sustainability Framework identifies three key areas to make sustainability easier to understand and implement.

To protect our environment, the City will:

  • Enhance, protect and restore our biodiversity and natural environments, including the plants and animals that inhabit them. We need to maintain the long-term health of these systems for future generations to enjoy.
  • When making land use planning decisions, consider the impacts on our environment and our community now and in the future, avoiding decisions that cause irreparable and/or significant damage.
  • Support a circular economy which minimises waste creation and supports long-term waste solutions, within our organisation and in our services.
  • Create cleaner, greener community spaces which enhance our rich and diverse environment and provide equitable opportunities for improved health and wellbeing.


To support community wellbeing and social equity, the City will:

  • Recognise, respect and value the connection of Traditional Owners to Country and ensure preservation of cultural heritage and a healthy country.
  • Build partnerships with key community groups and organisational stakeholders to generate awareness of sustainable thinking and implement actions together.
  • Engage our community and provide opportunities for open discussion to share knowledge, build a common understanding of sustainability and promote collective responsibility.
  • Make equitable budget and service decisions that are based on community needs, both now and into the future.
  • Improve food security in our region by encouraging and supporting local, sustainable food production.


To be a responsible and transparent business, the City will:

  • Embed sustainability as a principle into the organisation so all employees have a clear and shared understanding about what it means and how they can apply it.
  • Commit to learning more about sustainability and keep our approach current so we can play our role as a leader for our community.
  • Acknowledge that sustainability is a complex and multifaceted challenge, and not simply the effective management of environmental resources.
  • Ensure our decisions have equal consideration of social, economic and environmental issues and are informed by the best available evidence and understanding of global, national, state and regional issues
  • When making budget and investment decisions, ensure that short and long-term impacts are assessed and that a ‘best-value’ approach is achieved.
  • Commit to using deliberative engagement to understand community needs and expectations and use this to inform what we do and how we do it.
  • Commit to ambitious targets for emissions and waste reduction, biodiversity protection and green spaces in our relevant strategic documents.
  • Show our commitment to sustainable thinking by reporting regularly to our community on our sustainability performance, the status of our actions and the progress toward our targets.

Monitoring and reporting

The Strategy and Performance team are responsible for the implementation and reporting on the Sustainability Framework and the associated supporting documents outlined in the Records section below. The Strategy and Performance team monitor strategic document development across the organisation and can provide support in developing and managing sustainability strategies and plans and ensuring that sustainability is represented in all strategic documents.


Advice and assistance

The Strategy and Performance team and the Responsible Officer for this Policy manage the provision of advice to the organisation regarding this Policy.


Records

The City must retain records associated with this policy and its implementation for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention / Disposal Authority Retention Period Location
Sustainability Framework Manager, Strategy and Performance Document Management to advise ReX location
Sustainability Action Plan Manager, Strategy and Performance Document Management to advise ReX location
Strategic Documents Policy Manager, Strategy and Performance Document Management to advise ReX location
Strategic Planning Framework Manager, Strategy and Performance Document Management to advise ReX location

Review

The City should review and, if necessary, amend this policy within four years of the approval date.


References

  • Sustainability Framework
  • Sustainability Action Plan 2020-2022
  • Council Plan 2018-2022
  • Local Government Act 2020

Appendix 1: Sustainability Framework

Sustainability Framework 2020

To us, sustainability refers to a continual way of thinking that focuses on the best outcomes for people, environment and the economy both now and in the future.

Sustainability Policy
The sustainability policy will embed sustainability within the City, so it is considered in everything we do.
Key priority area Objectives 
Protecting the environment
  • Acknowledge the changing climate is a global emergency and take appropriate local action
  • Support the Community and the City to reduce carbon emissions and promote active transport
  • Support the Community and the City to reduce waste
  • Protect our biodiversity and ecosystems through effective natural resource management
  • Create cleaner, greener community spaces
  • Ensure our land use planning and built environment reflects sustainable practice
Community wellbeing and social equity
  • Lead and support education for business and community to encourage sustainable practice
  • Encourage and support local, sustainable food production
  • Ensure equitable access and inclusion to City services and facilities
  • Work with others to achieve better health outcomes for our community
  • Harness community knowledge to drive sustainable change
Responsible and transparent business
  • Position the organisation to better achieve our sustainability objectives
  • Embed sustainability into our decision-making and look for innovative solutions
  • Understand and be guided by the needs and expectations of our community
  • Pursue ambitious sustainability targets and report our progress publicly
MEASUREMENT PROGRAM

The City will report annually against the Global Reporting Initiative Standards and align its activities with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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Page last updated: Monday, 5 July 2021

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