Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt

The City of Fremantle has joined the elite of sustainable councils – one of only two in Australia, and four in the world – to be officially certified as a One Planet Living council.

Last week City of Yarra in Melbourne announced it had achieved the hotly contested and demanding status. The news was that it was the first Australian council to do so, however it turns out both councils were officially certified on 15 August with a signature by BioRegional managing director Ed Cotter, counter signed by a director of BioRegional in London a few days later. So it was actually a joint first, but a technical hitch prevented a joint announcement last week.

Both councils now plan to work in a “sister city” style of relationship to assist each other with creative sustainability ideas, and to meet the demands of the certification and retain the status. Geelong is also understood to be on the same path with Fremantle sustainability (strategic) officer Melanie Bainbridge soon be meeting with both councils during a personal trip to Melbourne.

The two Australian councils join English cities Brighton and Hove, and the Burrough of Sutton in this honour. But maintaining the certification requires significant commitment and recertification each year, and one city previously awarded the honour, Middlesborough, has dropped off the list.

The One Planet Council certification provides a framework and action plan for councils to empower “one planet living” – living within Earth’s finite resources.

“The City of Fremantle has shown great leadership and vision on how local government can actually head the charge on sustainability through their diverse actions and strong targets, and by assessing themselves against the only metric that really matters – one planet living,” Mr Cotter said.

Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt said the city’s certification was a significant achievement, and vital to ongoing sustainability efforts.

“We’ve been working steadily towards best practice and leadership in sustainability at all levels and have had some significant achievements over the years, including becoming WA’s first carbon neutral council in WA in 2009.,” Dr Pettitt said.

“The One Planet accreditation is another signal to the community that our efforts are not token gestures or small talk, but worthwhile, effective and measurable.

“We intend to forge ahead towards international certification and to continue to build on our strategy to hit the One Planet targets we’ve set by 2020.”

Fremantle initiatives that assisted One Planet Living certification

Zero carbon

All buildings and structures (including street lighting and stationary energy sources) within the operational control of the City of Fremantle will be net zero carbon by 2020; powered and heated by a combination of on and off site renewable energy and/or fully carbon offset.

Targets include:

  • All new commercial, mixed use and multi-residential developments to be designed and constructed in such a manner so as to achieve a rating of not less than 4 Star Green Star using a relevant sustainability rating tool
  • Maintain and sustain carbon neutral status
  • Sign 20 commercial businesses to the CitySwitch program by 2017
  • Implement real time energy monitoring on all renewable energy installations by 2017
  • Expand renewable energy program to include all feasible buildings and facilities by 2020

Zero waste

The City of Fremantle will reduce its waste generation by 25 per cent by 2015 against an agreed baseline. At least 50 per cent of City waste will be recycled or reused by 2020

Targets include:

  • Reduce organic waste going to landfill from City of Fremantle Buildings and facilities by 70 per cent by Dec 2015
  • Waste Not program to be expanded to 20 Fremantle businesses by Dec 2015
  • Deliver Plastic Bag Local Law and marketing program by May 2015

Sustainable materials

The City of Fremantle will have a robust policy and process in place for assessing suppliers against local, ethical, social, economic and environmental criteria by 2015. All product suppliers and service providers will meet best practice for sustainable and ethical sourcing by 2020

Targets include:

  • Develop residential sustainable design guideline by Dec 2014
  • Review purchasing policy and develop procurement action plan by Dec 2014
  • Develop online sustainable procurement toolkit by June 2015
  • Ensure 5 Star Green Star compliance for Kings Square development

Sustainable transport

The City will reduce emissions from travel and haulage by at least 30 per cent by 2020 in line with the sustainable carbon footprint target

Targets include:

  • Develop car share policy and facilitate at least one car share scheme setting up in Fremantle by Dec 2014
  • Increase community participation in active transport events by 20 per cent by June 2015
  • Increase sustainable transport use for City of Fremantle staff by 30 per cent by June 2016

Local and sustainable food

The City will ensure that 50 per cent of food by value purchased by the council is compliant with the local and sustainable food policy by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2020 and will support community actions to increase local and sustainable food purchase and achieve better nutrition

Targets include:

  • Maintain status as a Fair Trade Council
  • Ensure all internal catering meets local, ethical or fair trade standards by Dec 2014
  • Deliver One Planet Community seminar on local and sustainable food by June 2015
  • Develop and deliver Community Garden Policy and Guideline by June 2015

Sustainable water

The City will measure its annual water use and set targets for absolute reduction in line with best practice benchmarks or at least 25 per cent by 2015 against a recent baseline year and 50 per cent by 2020.

Targets include:

  • Develop assessment of all public open space (active and passive recreation) and assess for on-site water storage or grey water re-use feasibility by Dec 2015
  • Install real time water metering readers on top 10 water usage sites by Dec 2015
  • Meet all Waterwise Councils obligations by June 2016

Land use and wildlife

The City will contribute to increasing levels of biodiversity and space for wildlife through their own strategies, guidelines and practices, as well as measures carried out on local government owned properties or through time or financial support to an appropriate wildlife charity or initiative.

Targets include:

  • Grow community engagement in wildlife protection and biodiversity management through programs and support of local not-for-profit groups by Dec 2015
  • Assess and redevelop Green Plan to encompass any newly acquired green space / natural vegetation areas by June 2016
  • Map all biodiversity assets and catalogue to identify areas for improvement and infill Dec 2016
  • Develop Carbon Neutral regional linkages project and identify areas for carbon sinks and biodiversity offset Dec 2016

Culture and heritage

The City will promote an understanding of the One Planet Council program with its staff and commit to supporting community projects and targets based on increasing the number of community and / or sustainability projects and / or the level of support (financial or staff time) made by 2015 and increasing further by 2020

Targets include:

  • Develop a policy for assessment and protection of heritage areas in reference to climate change impacts by Dec 2014.
  • Develop and deliver sustainable events course and policy to arts, culture and festival providers planning to produce events in Fremantle by Dec 2015
  • Increase arts/culture based visitation to the City of Fremantle by 30 per cent by 2020

Equity and local economy

The City will provide a robust range of support mechanisms to foster new and existing local business by 2015 and to support the community in its drive towards economic, environmental and social sustainability. It will provide a full package of support, training and engagement mechanisms by 2020.

Targets include:

  • Develop full divestment strategy for City of Fremantle post reform by Dec 2015
  • Continue involvement with range of business advisory and development organisations and foster collaborative relationships

Health & happiness

The City will promote and support health and wellbeing in the workplace by providing increased access to opportunities for staff and community to participate in programs relevant to their needs. Survey of health and well-being needs within the organisation complete by 2015. Development of full program of health and well-being opportunities by 2020.

Targets include:

  • Increase community participation in active transport events by 20 per cent by June 2015
  • Develop a community One Planet Champions group working against all One Planet Principles on behalf of the community by Dec 2015

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  1. Well done Fremantle – shame on the State Government for perverting the use of the word ‘sustainability’ and working towards amalgamating those Councils who are striving for it with large ones who are not.

  2. Sincere congratulations to the City of Fremantle for their contribution to the global environment through committed Leadership by acting locally and being awarded this exemplary Global Environmental Award and becoming a One Planet living Council.

    Peter F McKenzie
    Climate Presenter
    The Climate Reality Project