This month, we're going PINK to raise money for breast cancer research. Show your support by donating here.

How Australia Is Making Greener Cities: Part Two

Last updated:
Nov 15, 2019
Commercial Real Estate


Jared Kroeger
Jared Kroeger

Follow us

Share this article

This article outlines Melbourne and Brisbane’s efforts to build greener cities. Click here to read about Sydney and Perth's efforts in Part One of our Green Cities Series.

Australia is looking to commit to sustainability by building greener cities.

Australia is one of the most carbon-intensive economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is ultimately due to a combination of a heavy reliance on coal-fired electricity, emissions and waste issues. As a result, Australia is not on track to meet the 2030 emissions targets as set under the Paris agreement. Therefore, OECD’s major concern is that Australia does not have a national long-term vision for sustainable development- they have concluded that the status of Australia’s biodiversity is “poor and worsening”  and projected that emissions will increase by 2030.

Cities overall contribute 70% of the global carbon emissions. Hence, the Sustainable Cities Index by Acadis is a key tool, ranking 100 global cities according to the three pillars of sustainability: People, Planet and Profit.  In short, all Australian cities perform relatively poorly in the Planet pillar, resulting in no Australian city being ranked within the top 30 globally.


melbourne view

Melbourne takes pride in demonstrating leadership and innovation to address the challenges of climate change. The City of Melbourne is frustrated at the lack of urgent global action to avoid a climate change “emergency”. Melbourne prioritizes environmental sustainability, stressing that without immediate and substantive progress the city’s livability will ultimately be compromised. Their early declaration of an ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2020 demonstrates this commitment.

Renewable Energy

Firstly, there has been a significant investment in renewable energy through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.  Since then, Town Halls, universities and street lights all over Melbourne are now receiving energy from wind farms in regional Victoria.

Climate Change

The Climate Change Mitigation Strategy to 2050 that Melbourne developed in 2018 is especially impressive. To reduce emissions from commercial buildings, the following objectives have been set:

  • Carbon neutrality of new commercial buildings by 2030 and
  • Carbon neutrality of existing buildings by 2050

Significant work is thus needed to meet these targets. The City of Melbourne believes that “sector-wide engagement and precinct-scale development” through “long-term infrastructure, urban renewal and planning policy” will be the most effective way to ensure emission reduction in this sector. Recently, Council House 2 which is 10 storeys high with 600 employees, was classified as Australia’s first 6-Star Green Star building.

Source: City of Melbourne, Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

Smart Bins

Additionally, 2017 saw Melbourne deliver its first year of the Smart Bin Implementation Plan. These solar-powered compactor bins  address the increased amount of rubbish causing bin overflow. So far, 397 Smart Bins have replaced over 700 litter bins. The results of this project have been particularly impressive. Bin capacity has increased by four-fold, and bin collections have decreased from six times per day to once per day.


Finally, the Victorian Government wants to continue to reduce emissions from the transport sector. The government also aims to utilize solar power to power trains to reduce the use of coal.

melbourne sustainability australia

Source: City of Melbourne, Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

Melbourne's Emissions Profile

melbourne emissions profile

Source: City of Melbourne, Climate Change Mitigation Strategy



Brisbane has achieved significant sustainability targets and continues to adopt strategies to maintain its status as one of Australia’s most sustainable cities. In 2017, Brisbane City Council announced that it had become 100% carbon neutral, making it Australia’s largest carbon neutral organisation. Hence, these impressive commitments to sustainability and leadership are why Brisbane has been named 'Australia’s Most Sustainable City' twice. Brisbane. Clean, Green, Sustainable 2017-2031 demonstrates continued commitment to protecting the natural environment and ensuring Brisbane’s livability is improved for the generations to come.

Notable Brisbane City Council achievements to date include:

  • 13% decrease in domestic waste to landfill per person since 2008;
  • 50% decrease in rubbish on city streets since 2009;
  • 47% natural habitat coverage, also on track for 40% overall coverage by 2031;
  • Over 4000 hectares of bushland purchased through the Bushland Preservation Levy;
  • 50,000+ street trees planted along residential footpaths since 2006;
  • More Green Star-rated buildings than any Australian city, 30% of inner city buildings Green Star-certified;
  • 58 rehabilitated local waterway sites to enhance waterway health.

How we can help

Thinking of committing to sustainability in your business? Or considering leasing a smart building to help your business become sustainable?

Tenant CS is a commercial tenant advisory service that caters to companies across Australia (with a particular focus on Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra), Singapore and the greater Asia-Pacific region. Contact our team today for assistance with your next office relocation!

Want to learn more first? Click here to read about how Melbourne is Australia's best business city, or here to hear our ''7 Tips for a More Sustainable Office''!

You might also like

Got a project in mind?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.