The initiative was launched as a partnership between the council and BioRegional in 2008, with many other stakeholders now engaged. It comprises plans for the council to make its internal operations sustainable, such as by sourcing sustainable supplies, and services to help the borough's 200,000 residents to achieve sustainable living. The initiative views sustainable living as "one planet living", that is: healthy, happy lifestyles living within a fair share of the Earth's resources.
A range of projects have been launched under the One Planet Sutton banner in the initiative's test bed suburb of Hackbridge, home to 8,000 people. These include local food supplied into schools, a green business network and investment into creating a sustainable high street with improved accessibility to green spaces. Hackbridge is also working to become zero carbon that is: retrofitting residential and commercial buildings to be energy efficient and supplying renewable energy. Borough-wide targets include: all council buildings becoming zero carbon by 2012 and the whole borough enabled to achieve one planet living by 2025.
The One Planet Sutton initiative aims to demonstrate that a global green economy is based on thriving, sustainable local economies.