Carbon neutral

Climate change action

The City of Sydney was the first local council in Australia to be certified as carbon neutral under the national carbon offset standard.

National carbon offset standard logo

Our journey began in 2008 when we first reduced and then offset 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions. We do this to take action against climate change, meet public and staff expectations, show leadership and reduce costs through energy savings.

By measuring our greenhouse gas emissions, energy emissions, renewable energy and offsets, we monitor our progress and remain carbon neutral each year.

Our emissions

The tables below help to show our progress. Please note, the formula tC02-e refers to tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The table only shows the data for the past 5 years. For further details about previous years you can download our emissions and offsets since 2005/06.

Scope guide

Scope 1: gas, fleet fuel and so on.
Scope 2: mains electricity emissions.
Scope 3: emissions from flights, taxis, contractors’ fuel, and events.

How we do it

1. Measure

Any carbon neutral claims must be accurate and verified independently.

The City's emissions boundary and factors are based on the national carbon offset standard, national greenhouse accounts factors, national greenhouse and energy reporting guidelines, and the greenhouse gas protocol – World Resources Institute.

2. Avoid and reduce

The City has been achieving real energy and greenhouse gas emissions savings in our buildings, street lighting, and fleet operations.

3. Switch green

In previous years the City of Sydney used 100% GreenPower. We have now instead committed $2 million each year to install renewable energy onto our properties, to generate clean energy locally where and when it is required.

4. Offset

The City reduces carbon liability by avoiding and reducing emissions, as specified above. Offsets are used for emissions that can’t be avoided.

More information

For further reading, you may be interested in downloading the national carbon offset standard public disclosure below.


City of Sydney
02 9265 9333


Summary tC02-eScopes*2014/152015/162016/172017/182018/19
Electricity: Properties2,318,25116,81116,11715,47716,157
Electricity: Parks2,31,8231,6471,6331,7531,666
Electricity - Streetlighting2,311,94211,38211,10311,51510,975
Solar PV Exports - Properties    -276-513
Natural gas1,32,2182,1854,4994,8344,852
Business Travel3171744834183
On site fuel143444
Total 40,20439,56639,60039,65339,354


The table below helps to show the percentage of our emissions we offset through purchasing carbon neutral credits.

Summary tCO2 - e2014/152015/162016/172017/182018/19





Per cent of emissions




Tracking our progress to 2030

Tracking our progress to 2030. Bar chart shows the City's operations have steadily decreased greenhouse gas emissions from 2005/06 to the 2016 target of 26%.

2020 and 2030 carbon targets

2020 and 2030 carbon targets. Graph shows the steady progression of City operations to reach 44% target by 2020 and 70% by 2030.

Last updated: Tuesday, 18 February 2020