Council has a vision to develop a healthy and liveable City and bioregion with the smallest possible ecological footprint that is vibrant, viable and nourishes the living aspects we love and depend on. These are the policies, strategies and action plans that are being used to work towards this vision.

General sustainability

Toward Zero, the City of Port Phillip's Sustainable Environment Strategy, was developed to define Council's environmental vision.  This strategy is Council’s overarching framework of vision and intent on developing a sustainable environment, city, community and future.  It forms the umbrella strategy to Council’s other environment policies, strategies and actions. It governs their broad direction, actions and progress. In turn, these environment policies and strategies link to and influence the SES with regard to effective action, new directions and innovation. 

Toward Zero provides a clear, directional and continuously improving enunciation of our sustainability agenda to gain significant progress by 2020. 

You can read about Council's progress towards these goals in the annual progress reports.

Annual Progress Report 2011/12 and 2012/13

Annual Progress Report 2010/11

Annual Progress Report 2009/10

Greenhouse gas emissions

The City of Port Phillip is committed to achieving and sustaining zero greenhouse gas emissions in Council operations and services, and a 50% reduction in per capita community carbon emissions by 2020.

Council has developed the Greenhouse Plan to achieve this goal.

Potable water use

The City of Port Phillip is committed to minimising water use to achieve and sustain a 70% reduction in Council's potable water use by 2020 (based on 2000 levels of water use). The Water Plan (adopted 2010) aims to create a city that embraces the sustainable management of all water sources, through water efficiency, stormwater management, and water harvesting and reuse. 

The City of Port Phillip Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Guidelines informs Council staff, developers and residents on how to apply water sensitive urban design (WSUD) principles to urban developments or local water reuse and treatment projects.

The Open Space Water Management Plan aims to help council better manage existing water sources, find and use alternative water sources, and adapt our open spaces to a drier and hotter climate.

Climate change 

The City of Port Phillip recognises the need for climate change adaptation in the future design and development of the municipality. To this end, the City will work with all sectors of the community, regional, state and federal stakeholders to deliver good planning policy and urban design; and the development of infrastructure and public spaces that are climate-adept.

The Climate Adaptation Plan  (adopted 2010) is the City of Port Phillip's plan for adapting to climate change. 

Natural heritage

The City of Port Phillip recognises that while our municipality has a highly altered natural environment, we value our coastline, significant sites, reserves, visiting native fauna, heritage parks and trees. The City is committed to maintaining and enhancing its natural heritage values, significant sites, and regional biodiversity and habitats (accepting that our environment does not end at our municipal boundaries).

Greening Port Phillip (adopted in 2010) is Council's strategy for creating an urban forest in the City of Port Phillip.

Greening Port Phillip Street Planting Guide (2010-2015) sets priorities for street tree planting in the City of Port Phillip for 2010-2015.

City of Port Phillip Open Space Strategy   (reviewed in 2009) is Council's strategy for offering open space that is diverse and can accommodate the future needs of a growing population in an established urban environment and in a sustainable way.

Sustainable transport

The City of Port Phillip is committed to ensuring that it achieves a low-emissions or no-emissions fleet and standards of council practice by 2020.

Council has endorsed the Sustainable Transport Strategy, Bike Plan and Walk Plan to work toward this commitment.

Safer Streets Strategy - steps out how Council will improve safety in Port Phillip for all road users, based on Council’s hierarchy of road users with walking, bike riding and public transport at the top and single occupancy as the lowest priority.

The City of Port Phillip Public Transport Advocacy Statement outlines the public transport measures that the City of Port Phillip advocates for.


The City of Port Phillip's ultimate aim is to permanently reduce the percentage of municipal waste in all streams.

Council is committed to minimising Council's waste to achieve and sustain an 80% reduction in council waste to landfill by 2020 (based on 1999 levels of waste).

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Plan (2009 - 2014) establishes a framework for the delivery of the City of Port Phillip's waste management services and achieving effective resource recovery over the next five years.

Sustainable urban design and development

The City of Port Phillip is committed to ensuring that all council buildings and facilities minimise their environmental impact and maintain measurable environmental performance standards. The City will progressively retrofit and/or redevelop its assets, buildings and facilities to achieve the above aims.

The City of Port Phillip's Sustainable Design Strategy and Policy and associated Sustainable Design Strategy represent the cornerstone of our commitment to achieving a sustainable built environment that is culturally relevant, socially cohesive, economically viable and environmentally friendly.

Contamination and pollution

The City of Port Phillip recognises that it is a densely populated, inner urban municipality, with an industrial and early settlement heritage, and degraded environments. The City is nevertheless committed to maintaining and increasing the health and quality of its natural assets, on which the well being of its community lies.

Council implements actions based on the Lower Yarra Litter Strategy, including No Cuts, No Butts.

More information on Council's actions to reduce contamination and pollution can be found in the Garbage and Environmental Services section.

Sustainable purchasing and procurement

The City of Port Phillip is committed to ensuring the sustainability of what Council buys and procures for its operations and services, to achieve and maintain a 70% reduction in the use of unsustainable products by 2020 (based on 2007 levels). Council has an internal Purchasing Working Group that implements actions to achieve this goal.