The nation's capital has been rated in the top 20 most "sustainable cities" in the world, beating Sydney and Melbourne on the global index.
Canberra was rated 18th on the new sustainable cities index compiled by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for design firm Arcadis and published Tuesday.
It beat Sydney (at 20th), Brisbane (30th) and Melbourne (32nd), as well as Madrid, Rome and New York.
The top five cities on the list were, from one to five: Zurich, Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna and London.
Cities were measured on three "pillars of sustainability": people, planet and profit, with Canberra rating 17th for people, 25th for planet and 20th for profit.
The report also said Canberra stood out internationally for green space (rated 99 per cent), waste management (rated 98 per cent) and income equality (rated 81 per cent).
But the index showed there were "areas of improvement" needed, including on affordability (46 per cent), tourism (10 per cent) and "connectivity" (47 per cent).
Overall, Australian cities averaged 67 per cent for work-life balance, 44 per cent for affordability, and 71 per cent for transport infrastructure.
Arcadis Australia-Pacific chief executive Greg Steele said while Australian cities were "sustainably minded", more needed to be done - particularly on public transport and development planning.
"Australian cities are characterised by 'radial' networks, meaning people need to go to the city centre to go back out to adjacent communities," he said.
"Combined with fewer, less frequent transport options, it's no wonder a significant number of the population still choose to drive."
Mr Steele said while Australia overall "tends to lag in planning for the longer term", the key to creating more sustainable cities was to work "in close consultation with all elements of a community" to ensure future demand would be met.