David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Melbourne City Council has adopted the theme of environmental sustainability as a central theme in its governance.

TARGET DATE: June 2001 PROGRESS: Achieved, but further progress is possible.

DESCRIPTION: Governance of and by The City of Melbourne is imbued with the principle that environmental sustainability is central to good governance.

An article taken from 'Waste management and Environment' described the emergence of environmental sustainability at the City of Melbourne, highlighting the Queen Victoria Market Solar Installation and Development of the Triple Bottom Line toolkit in conjunction with ICLEI as examples. The article is called Southern trailblazer - Melbourne City Council is in the forefront of the push towards the sustainable city.

This principle was furthered endorsed in 2002 when the Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities were adopted by the Local Government Session of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and adopted as part of a communiqué delivered to the Main Plenary on behalf of Local Authorities worldwide. The Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities were developed at an International Charette held in Melbourne, Australia 3-5 April 2002, organised by UNEP IETC and Environment Protection Authority Victoria, and sponsored by and hosted at the Melbourne Town Hall. Further details of the Melbourne Principles are available on my website at: Melbourne Principles.

This information below taken from the MCC website demonstrates the integration of sustainability into Melbourne City Council's governance.

City of Melbourne's Approach

Sustainable development can be defined many ways. Essentially it is about enhancing or at least maintaining the economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality experienced by our community now and in the future.

The City of Melbourne’s approach to sustainability involves integrating these objectives so that there are no major trade-offs between the three goals. In other words, the aim is to ensure that increasing economic prosperity results in an increase in the quality of the natural environment or social equity and does not detract from them in a way that undermines our overall progress toward sustainability.

The City of Melbourne adopts the following definition of sustainability for both the management of the City and the management of our corporate operations:

'Sustainability is the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality. The objective of the City of Melbourne is to manage the municipality and its own operations in a way which maximises all three of these goals and ensures the long term viability of all three systems by increasing the city’s natural, social and economic capital.' By adopting this definition, the City of Melbourne also adopts the following principles:

* Integrating economic, environmental and social goals in all policies and activities
* Ensuring that environmental assets are appropriately valued
* Providing for equity within and between generations
* Dealing cautiously with risk and irreversibility
* Recognising the global impacts of local actions

The City of Melbourne is applying a triple bottom line approach to the management of our core business in order to create a more sustainable organisation and facilitate the development of a thriving and sustainable City. To this end we have developed a suite of triple bottom line "tools" which we are applying to our planning, decision making, governance and reporting processes. Using a triple bottom line framework involves a re-thinking of a number of issues. John Elkington describes these issues as the "seven revolutions for sustainability". These revolutions affect:

Good Governance - The exercise of corporate governance needs to become more inclusive and greater attention given to prioritising, monitoring and understanding sustainability issues.

Markets – Many of the objectives of sustainability will need to be delivered by business and be seen by business as an opportunity for competitive advantage. Energy consumption and waste generation, for example, are costs to business that also impact on the environment. By reducing such costs, businesses can become more competitive and improve their environmental performance. More fundamental, however, is the question of what a truly sustainable business might look like and what mechanisms might be needed to facilitate such change occurring.

Values – There needs to be a shift from the 'hard' commercial values of market control and growth at all costs to 'softer', more holistic values which pay greater attention to integrity, trust, respect for people and the environment.

Transparency - Greater transparency in stakeholder communication will need to replace businesses traditional "closed shop" approach. One way communication should be replaced by multi-stakeholder two way dialogue.

Life cycle – Business needs to take responsibility for their products from cradle to grave. In other words, they should address sustainability issues associated with raw materials, production processes, the consumption or use of the product and its ultimate disposal. Additionally, thinking needs to shift from concern about supplying "products" to fulfilling the "function" people expect.

Partnerships - New partnerships will be needed to achieve sustainable outcomes. Symbiotic partnerships between businesses, communities and government will be required and traditional enemies should become complementors.

Time – Planning and thinking will need to be long term and well beyond a single financial year.

Sustainability-related programs and policies from the City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne is committed to improving the sustainability of both our internal operations and the municipality as a whole. In striving to be a sustainable corporation, the City of Melbourne was the first to gain accreditation from EcoRecycle Victoria as a Waste Wise organisation. Melbourne was also the first Australian council to achieve all five milestones as part of the Cities for Climate Protection, working with ICLEI to contribute to the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the City of Melbourne’s key sustainability programs and achievements include:
First council in Victoria to gain accreditation as a Waste Wise organisation
Waste wise 2002-2005
Triple Bottom Line Management
TBL incorporated into corporate planning, reporting, governance and decision making processes.
Produced TBL Toolkit for Local Government
A publicly available TBL decision making toolkit
Energy and Greenhouse
Member of Greenfleet – plant trees to offset CO2 emissions from corporate fleet
Purchase renewable energy for 10% of building needs and 30% of street lighting
First Australian Municipality to reach the final Cities for Climate Protection Milestone – 5.
Achieved target reduction in corporate greenhouse gas emissions
Melbourne’s Greenhouse Action plan 2001-2003

City of Melbourne has produced a number of resources and policies relating to internal and external sustainability and is involved in initiatives including: ICLEI Water Campaign. As one of the five initial participants, City of Melbourne is following a strategic approach to water management.

Sustainable Melbourne Fund
The $5 million Sustainable Melbourne Fund will support projects that can demonstrate positive benefits to the city’s economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality and allows Council to respond to such issues through the support of innovative and commercially viable options. The Fund also showcases the City of Melbourne as a Sustainable City Leader both as a Corporation and as a municipality according to triple bottom line reporting principles. The Fund will be operational from the start of 2003.

TBL Program & Toolkit
A program to establish environmental, social and economic indicators appropriate for the City of Melbourne corporation and the municipality and to develop measuring and reporting mechanisms to monitor progress. Additionally the program aims to integrate triple bottom line thinking into existing management systems, decision-making processes and reporting protocols. The City of Melbourne and ICLEI have produced a toolkit to make it easier for other councils to integrate triple bottom line into their operations. This toolkit is available on the City of Melbourne website under the topic Triple Bottom Line Toolkit

Travelling Green
The Travelling Green project is an initiative of the City of Melbourne in association with Smogbusters and corporate partners Australia Post and the Foster's Brewing Group. Transport is the most rapidly increasing source of greenhouse gas emissions. This project aims to reduce greenhouse gases produced by commuters when travelling to and from Melbourne as well as their travel during office hours. The project involves the surveying of staff to gauge their travel patterns, and the development of a Green Transport Plan of actions designed to help staff switch to modes of travel that have less impact on the environment.

Switched ON
Switched ON is an initiative of the Cities of Melbourne and Port Phillip, and the Australian Greenhouse Office. Switched ON aims to facilitate energy efficient lighting upgrades for 90 cafes/restaurants across the two municipalities, with a view to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses receive a free lighting audit (up to $2,280 excl GST) and have an energy-efficient lighting design prepared for their premises. They also receive an accreditation package to promote their involvement in the Program.
More information on many other initiatives can be seen on the City of Melbourne website.

FURTHER INFORMATION: 8 January 2004: This information was taken from the MCC website, describing progress towards sustainability.

Growing a greener Melbourne

Melbourne City Council is a leader in environmental sustainability. We are proud to be Victoria's first local government to be recognised for superior waste management performance. Our list of green initiatives is impressive and growing every year.

In 1998 we joined the Cities for Climate Protection Program to contribute to the global reduction of greenhouse gases. In March 2001 the City of Melbourne was recognised as the first Council in Australia - and one of only a handful of cities around the world - to achieve all five milestones in the program .We've already reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 10% since 1996.

Council joined the Greenhouse Challenge Program in 2000 to provide greater opportunities for partnerships with businesses within the municipality. Check out our Greenhouse Action Plan 2001-2003 at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/greenhouse. (See the Green Achievement Climate Protection by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions on this website for more information).

Greener open space

Do you have ideas on how Council can create environmentally sustainable parks, gardens, boulevards and recreational facilities in the city? If so, you're invited to comment on our Growing Green Issues Paper.

The Growing Green Issues Paper explores options to better manage the city's natural resources, waste, trees, vegetation and biodiversity.

Council manages over 500 hectares of open space, including more than 60 parks, gardens and boulevards. We have a public golf course, two skate parks, four aquatic and recreation centres and 14 sporting fields and pavilions. While Melbourne's open spaces are among the most enviable in Australia, we have to make sure that they exist in harmony with the environment.

To have your say, download a copy of the Growing Green Issues Paper from the City of Melbourne website at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/growinggreen or phone our Hotline on 9658 9658 to request your copy. (See the Green Achievement Growing Green - A 50 Year Plan For Our Parks and Gardens on this website for more information).

Turn on the sun

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Victoria has praised Council's groundbreaking guidelines on the installation of solar technology in residential homes. Special consideration is given in the guidelines to heritage homes and homes where installation requires a permit.

Solar energy has the potential to save up to 75 per cent on hot water bills and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an added bonus, the State Government offers a rebate of up to $1500 for residents using solar energy. For more information contact the Sustainable Energy Authority of Victoria on 1300 363 744 or visit www.seav.vic.gov.au.

Smart lighting for aged residents

Melbourne's aged residents who receive services through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program will each be given a free compact fluorescent lamp as part of a joint promotion by Council and the Sustainable Energy Authority to encourage people to use energy smart lighting.

The lamps use about 80 per cent less energy than conventional incandescent lights and last six times longer. The light globes emit a warm-coloured light, equivalent to a 75 watt conventional globe and retail for around $10-$16. (See the Green Achievement Compact Fluorescent Light Give-Aways on this website for more information).

Recycling for young readers

The 'magic' of recycling, such as turning steel cans into cars or plastic bottles into warm jackets, is explained to children in a creative story book titled, Can You Do Magic Too?

The book goes out to Victorian schools but is also available from the City of Melbourne at a cost of $10.00. It's never too early to learn to recycle, so call our Hotline on 9658 9658 for a copy.

Green guides

Wine and dine green-style with a new handy guide to all the greenest places to eat, play, shop and visit in the city. It's the Melbourne Green Map and is available online at www.melbournegreenmap.org. (See the Green Achievement A Green Map for Melbourne on this website for more information).

Find Melbourne businesses that promote sustainability through their products or services in the Melbourne Sustainable Business Directory , now online at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/sustainablebusiness. (See the Green Achievement Sustainable Business Directory on this website for more information).


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.