Climate change is the biggest social, financial and environmental challenge of our time and underpins so much of the work we do at Ironbark and with our council partners. Climate change is also intrinsically linked to so many environmental sustainability issues and indeed social and economic issues. To conceptualise broad sustainability it is helpful to use tools and frameworks created for that purpose.
Ironbark uses the One Planet Councils framework which allows councils to set out a clear vision and shared goals for their sustainability strategy, policy and operations against the simple concept of One Planet Living: only consuming our share of one planet's worth of resources.
Since teaming up with One Planet Living, BioRegional and the Victorian Local Governance Association to introduce One Planet Councils within Australia in 2014, Ironbark have completed the One Planet Council gap analysis for many councils throughout Australia. These include Yarra, the City of Greater Geraldton, City of Moreland, City of Subiaco, City of Bayside, Surf Coast Shire and others.
One Planet Councils can strategically shift a council or a team’s thinking on sustainability. Most importantly, it addresses all major aspects of environmental, social and economic sustainability in an approachable, understandable and enjoyable way that is tailored for councils.
The first step to determine how your council is going in relation to broad sustainability is to complete an independent gap analysis against the One Planet Councils framework. This involves reviewing the status of actions, policies and targets to improve the sustainability of your internal operations and throughout the broader municipality. It addresses all major aspects of environmental, social and economic sustainability according to the One Planet Councils framework. As a dedicated local government organisation, this experience means we have valuable data and have developed tools that allow a council to find out how they measure up against other councils and international best-practice.
We assist councils in identifying the best ways to transform key precincts into thriving, inclusive and sustainable spaces. We help with a broad sustainability overlay into the strategic planning process via the development of opportunity scans using the One Planet Councils framework; the development of high level sustainability principles; and reporting on what council will need to do to comprehensible integrate sustainability. Completing a gap analysis report of how your precinct or plans compare with One Planet principles is a great start to dip your toe in the water. We are frequently and pleasantly surprised at how this process, coupled with a council workshop facilitated by Ironbark leads to broad sustainability improvements across areas like water, urban heat, biodiversity, food precincts, culture and community.
Good fleet management together with good fleet data is essential to monitor progress and support robust identification of emissions reduction opportunities and decision making in the fleet area. We’ve developed reports for councils around Australia – including metropolitan and rural councils – to review specific options for fleet and address broader fleet management practice. Opportunities to reduce operational costs are often a focus in rate-capping environments, so we take a business case approach. This looks at the actions councils can take, the costs, the timelines, the risks, and the return on investment. Councils understand this is not as simple as just moving to electric vehicles and installing charging stations. It becomes complicated with leasing processes and financial mechanisms that impact on the transition, and understanding how to deal with heavy vehicles, trucks and graders. Our experience working with leading councils like Moreland on the renewable hydrogen waste truck trial, and transport planning groups (such as the Western Sydney Transport Planning Group) all come to the fore here.