A NSW Government website

Environment and sustainability

Cemeteries are important places with heritage, environmental and social value. They offer green space and provide a place for both active and passive recreation, from jogging to quiet meditation.

To promote the environmental sustainability of the interment industry we have commissioned several reports to guide our work and help the public understand the environmental impacts of the sector.

Cemetery land use – contribution to environmental and heritage values

Demand for land in metropolitan Sydney is increasing. As new housing, infrastructure, employment and recreation needs compete for space, land must perform multiple functions. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s plans for Sydney’s growth and maintaining its green grid – the network of green spaces across the city – recognise this. We must maintain biodiversity, heritage and cultural landscapes, while providing for the needs of a global city.

Read our report, Cemetery Land Use – Contribution to Environmental & Heritage values (PDF, 5.5MB) and case studies (PDF, 3.1MB). They consider the place cemeteries may have in this framework and how cemetery managers are contributing.

Pathways towards sustainable burial and cremation options for NSW

This report was commissioned by Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW (CCNSW), in line with its legislative objective to promote the environmental sustainability of the interment industry, and its function to promote environmentally sustainable practices among the cemetery and crematorium operators it regulates. The report is intended to spark conversations across the sector, and among consumers and families, and promote best practice sustainability by looking at what is currently occurring both globally and in Australia. 

We acknowledge that some of the report content may be considered challenging or confronting, including raising the possibility of the ending of tenure for existing older graves. There is no current intention to change NSW Government policy in this area, but it is important that discussion around sustainability and land use continues.

The future opportunities for sustainable practice identified in the report do not represent NSW Government policy but may be taken into consideration as part of CCNSW’s future work on sustainability in line with its governing Act, the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2013. As always, CCNSW’s first priority is to recognise the right of all individuals to a dignified interment and treatment of their remains with dignity and respect.

View the report: Pathways towards sustainable burial and cremation options for NSW (PDF, 2.3MB).