Green economy

A strong green and circular economy creates jobs and will ensure a prosperous, liveable city for future generations.

Why we’re doing this

A strong green economy in Sydney benefits the environment, our city and its workers, the state and the country.

Creating a green economy means supporting:

  • economic growth with demand for green building materials
  • new areas of employment
  • better environmental performance and fewer emissions in our local area
  • state and national economic outcomes, including funding renewables projects in regional areas.

Activities in the green economy

Green economy activities aim to protect or restore the environment.

These activities can include producing or adapting goods and services to be more sustainable, such as providing a recycling service or changing a fleet to use electric vehicles.

They also include advocacy, education, regulation and advisory services. This is particularly important for our city economy and its emphasis on professional services and education rather than manufacturing.

There is still relatively little data available on the green economy.

The City of Sydney ran a study in 2019 on the green economy in our local area. Based on 2018 figures, the study found our local green economy:

  • had 16,000 workers (2.5% to 3% of employment) – half of these focused on managing and supporting the green economy, such as jobs in environmental law, advocacy and research and development
  • added $2.4b of gross value to the local economy
  • generated $400m economic value in the sustainable finance sector
  • provided strong connections to state and national green economies – for example, City of Sydney waste streams create around 500 processing jobs elsewhere
  • had growing demand for green skills in occupations such as law, sales and marketing
  • showed twice the increase in employment compared to overall jobs growth but lagged behind international peers.

Green economy study

Environmental protection brings opportunities for job creation and economic growth. This report assesses its potential and considers the role government can play.
Published 16 September 2020

Action areas

Our community recovery plan says that we will support businesses and organisations to innovate and adapt, so that industries can evolve and grow.

For example, we can help businesses and organisations to do this through supporting the development of new capabilities such as digitisation and e-commerce, by using our procurement power to support local business and a shift to a circular economy and by supporting the growth of the green economy as a pathway to recovery, adaptation and a sustainable future.

Specific actions include:

  • continue to support communities and businesses to accelerate their uptake of renewable energy to stimulate the green economy
  • prioritise investment in City projects that provide significant local green economy benefits 
  • advocate to federal and state governments to invest in green economy as major generator of jobs.