Telstra’s commitment to operating as a responsible and sustainable business has been recognised by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) Committed to Sustainability Programme, an industry leading scheme celebrating and promoting good practice in environmental sustainability, across the media industry.
“We’re delighted that Telstra has joined an increasing number of companies that are demonstrating their fantastic commitment to building an environmentally sustainable media industry,” said DPP CEO, Mark Harrison. “And by scoring the maximum five out of five they’re leading the way, driving our industry towards continuous improvement and good practice.”
Central to this achievement is Telstra’s sustainability strategy (the Strategy), which comprises several targets across three key pillars:
- Responsible business – to be a sustainable, globally trusted company that people want to work for and with
- Digital futures – to foster strong, inclusive communities that are empowered to thrive in a digital world
- Environmental solutions – to use technology to address environmental challenges and help our suppliers, customers and communities do the same
Telstra’s Sustainability, External Affairs and Legal (SEAL) team works across the business to drive progress against the Strategy and manage sustainability-related risks and opportunities. As well as that, the company’s Telstra Climate Executives Group oversees the climate change work program, and a Telstra Audit and Risk Committee oversees climate risk management and makes recommendations to the Telstra Board on targets.
In December 2019, Telstra announced its commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. It set further ambitious climate goals only a few months later in March 2020:
- Be carbon neutral in 2020
- Enable renewable energy generation equivalent to 100% of our consumption by 2025
- Reduce our absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030
Already, Telstra is Australia’s largest corporate purchaser of electricity from renewable projects connected to the grid under project-specific agreements. While the output from these projects goes into the total grid pool, rather than directly into its facilities, these agreements play a role in providing the investment certainty to enable these projects to proceed. As the grid itself increases its proportion of renewable energy due to agreements with Telstra and others, the power that flows into its facilities from the grid also becomes greener.
Projects Telstra have agreements with include the landmark sites Murra Warra Wind Farm and the Emerald Solar Park, which generate renewable energy equivalent to the energy consumption of 255,000 households. It will continue to build on this work and invest in renewable energy generation.
Effective waste management is an important component of Telstra’s overall sustainability strategy. Of 9,906 tonnes of total commercial waste last year, only 3,715 tonnes ended up in landfill, a mere 37.5% of the commercial waste total. This number is heading in the right direction too and is 15% down on the year before.
“We’re looking to improve that even more by continuing to reduce waste from our operations and increasing the reuse and recycling of materials. Resource efficiency creates an opportunity for us to innovate, and this year we have focused on redesigning our customer packaging to incorporate sustainable design principles. Noting that e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste in the world, we have also explored ways to increase e-waste recycling of both our customer devices and our network equipment,” said Carlos Farias, Head of Market Development, Telstra Broadcast Services.
Telstra provides all suppliers with a Supplier Code of Conduct, which sets out the minimum standards it expects from them and forms part of its standard purchasing terms. The Code was updated in February 2020 to include enhanced requirements in relation to climate change, responsible sourcing of minerals, and grievance procedures for employees. A supplier’s ability to meet or exceed our minimum standards set out in the Code is a key consideration for Telstra when we make purchasing decisions.
As well as the DPP Committed to Sustainability Mark, Telstra is listed on CDP’s Global Climate Change Index A-List, demonstrating its leadership on environmental transparency and performance.
Telstra continues to strive forward to make the company more sustainable and believes that sustainability as a whole will become a more central discussion in the industry. In recent years, the Telstra Broadcast Services team have seen an increase in remote production adoption, which has environmental benefits due to the reduction in travel emissions and power-use.
For more detail, download Telstra’s Bigger Picture 2020 Sustainability Report at http://exchange.telstra.com.au/sustainability-2020/