Climate Change

aerial view of solar panels on building roof

Carbon Neutral Unley

The City of Unley aims to be carbon neutral for its corporate emissions by December 2030.

Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all. In our City, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with higher temperatures lasting for longer, and adverse weather events becoming more intense. 

To lessen the impacts, the most important step we can all take is to prevent greenhouse gas emissions, also referred to as 'carbon emissions', being released into the atmosphere as a result of our activities. 

The City of Unley is taking steps to actively reduce our impacts and help slow climate change. Our aim is to be carbon neutral for our corporate emissions by December 2030. Taking these measures will have a long-term positive impact on Council's operating budget by lowering the ongoing costs of fuel and electricity, reducing our vulnerability to price increases and improving our organisations resilience as we transition to a low carbon economy. 

To become carbon neutral we must measure and reduce the emissions created from activities, like using electricity and generating waste. Any remaining unavoidable emissions will be balanced through the purchase of carbon offsets. 

The City of Unley has been actively measuring and reducing our direct emission for a number of years by improving efficiencies, and utilising smart technology and renewable energy. Now, we have created a path that will guide us to be carbon neutral.

View Council's Climate and Energy Plan: Our path to carbon neutral operations by 2030(PDF, 1MB).  

Reduce your carbon footprint

Some simple actions you can take right now to reduce your carbon footprint are: 

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

On November 2020, the City of Unley committed to becoming a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), a global coalition of like-minded councils and city leaders who have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to galvanise climate and energy action across cities worldwide. In joining, we pledge to measure emissions, set targets and develop a plan to support emission reductions. 

Climate risk assessment

In March 2021, the City of Unley participated in an external audit of corporate climate change risk. The City of Unley demonstrated a good understanding of the climate risks presented as an organisation and a top score was received for Strategic Planning, Public Risk Disclosure, Asset Management and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction. View the full report(PDF, 1MB) . 

Council is taking direct action in our operations to reduce the impact on our environment.

Unley Insights - Climate Change Focus Group Results

In May 2022 Council conducted market research relating to resident views and understanding around reduction of Community Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions. A summary of these views is attached and provides useful insights into community understanding and concerns around climate change, how they want to reduce emissions and what they view could be Councils role to support those reductions. Focus Group Results(PDF, 2MB)

Annual Corporate Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Resilient East

Our City, community and businesses are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with higher temperatures and adverse weather events becoming more frequent and intense.

Resilient East is a regional climate initiative in eastern Adelaide. It is about making sure the eastern region remains a vibrant, desirable and productive place to live, work and visit, and that our businesses, communities and environments can respond positively to the challenges and opportunities presented by a changing climate.

The City of Unley, is a proud partner of Resilient East. We are working with our community to ensure our City is climate ready.


Resilient East has identified the vulnerabilities, risk and level of adaptive capacity across the eastern region and has developed a Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Action Plan with input from government, business and community organisations. 

The Adaptation Plan offers a range of regional and local adaptation pathways, which can help communities, businesses and the natural environment adapt, thrive and prosper. The Action Plan sets out our priorities for the region over the coming years. It will help implement the Adaptation Plan, and guide the actions we will take together to ensure regional benefits. 

Who is involved?

Our partnership includes Campbelltown City Council, the Cities of Adelaide, Burnside, Norwood Payneham and St Peters, Prospect, Tea Tree Gully, Unley, the Town of Walkerville, Green Adelaide and the Government of South Australia.

Resilient East regularly works with people, agencies and organisations from all levels of government, NGOs, community groups, individuals and the private sector.


Our goals  

Our goal is to improve the resilience of communities, assets and infrastructure, local economies and natural environments so our region can cope with the challenges and opportunities of climate change.

Resilient East aims to:

  • build the adaptive capacity of our community;
  • create meaningful action;
  • overcome barriers to adaptation;
  • facilitate opportunities;
  • support practical and relevant adaptation measures; and
  • improve collaborative approaches, including sharing knowledge and experience, and, reducing risks and costs associated with climate change and adaptation initiatives.

Join us!

Resilient East, with the City of Unley, is getting climate ready and we’d love you to join us!

For more information, resources, to get involved and to join our e-news, please visit  

Addressing the causes 

Known as 'mitigation', Council is focusing on three key focus areas to help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which include:


  • A total of 105kW of solar has been installed since 2016 at our Civic Centre, Unley Swimming Pool, Clarence Park and Fullarton Community Centres and our Depot. This includes a 9.8 lithium ion battery installed at the Fullarton Community Centre.
  • Replacement of existing Council-owned streetlights to efficient LED lighting in residential streets.
  • Energy-efficient upgrades, including a 70% power consumption reduction in our IT server room in 2018.
  • Business support via the CitySwitch Green Office Program.
  • Information for our community on energy efficiency tips, tools and links to other incentives.


  • Ongoing delivery of the Walking and Cycling Plan(PDF, 8MB) is helping encourage more active modes of transport which in turn reduces car use.
  • Six 'e-bikes', funded through State Government grants, are used by Council staff to reduce car trips.

Waste management

  • Reducing waste to landfill, particularly methane releasing food waste, is a key priority for Council. A range of services and education programs has been implemented by Council to help reduce our waste footprint
  • Kitchen caddy and compostable liner roll out in 2020 with grant from Green Industries SA.

Responding to the effects

Known as 'adaptation', there is a wide range of Council projects helping our City respond to the effects of a changing climate, including:




Unley takes pride in its trees and landscaped areas which add to the character of our City and help to cool and improve the urban environment.

  • Our Tree Strategy(PDF, 9MB) has a target to increase canopy cover by 20% by 2045 to keep Unley leafy for future generations.
  • We are reclaiming hard surface for more greening through Pocket Parks and Living Streets projects.
  • We have installed over 197 artificial habitat boxes(PDF, 2MB)  for birds, possums and micro-bats which are regularly assessed and maintained.
  • Our Greening Verge incentive has seen 330 newly-greened verges created since 2017, which are gardened and maintained by residents.


Council has many projects that aim to conserve, recycle and improve water quality for the City and beyond. This process is called water sensitive urban design (WSUD).

  • Ridge Park and Heywood Park combined recycle up to 90ML of stormwater every year, used for irrigating parks and reserves through Manage Aquifer Recharge.
  • There are hundreds of 'water wells' in our kerbs which direct stormwater into the nature strip to water street trees.
  • Ongoing use of the Glenelg-Adelaide Pipeline (GAP) water on reserves since 2010 in conjunction with SA Water.
  • Numerous 'rain-gardens' created, including the Orphanage Park car-park spoon drain replacement upgrade in 2019. 


  • Working with Resilient East we completed aerial flyovers of Unley to map urban heat, and these heat-maps have been made available online to the public. This information informs urban planning and smart responses to increases in temperature. 
  • Many of our greening and water projects contribute towards reducing urban temperatures. 

Preparedness programs

We have actively been part of implementation of the Brown Hill Keswick Creek Stormwater Management Plan to help reduce flooding events along the catchment. 

Council has also been working closely with the Australian Red Cross and Resilient East to provide Climate Ready Champions training and support to the community to improve resilience and cope with the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change.

City of Unley with Resilient East are undertaking more preparedness programs, see for more.