Communicating The Message Telstra & The Environmentpdf
This TelecommunicaTions gianT is Taking a broad mulTi-faceTed
approach To climaTe change, and is looking aT real reducTions
raTher Than jusT offseTs, wriTes Tim mendham
“Telstra’s environmental footprint is wide but shallow,” ReduCing CaRbon emissions
says Dr Turlough Guerin, Telstra’s group manager environment. The company commissioned consultants Climate Risk, to
“Our footprint is wide in that our operations extend investigate and report about how telecommunications networks,
nationally across all Australian communities, and it is products and services could enable business enterprises,
shallow because our impact in any one of those locations households and governments to reduce carbon emissions.
is minor.” The peer-reviewed report titled Towards a High-Bandwidth,
But if the shallowness of the organisation’s impact suggests Low-Carbon Future: Telecommunications-based Opportunities
a superficial response to environmental and climate issues, to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions [www.telstra.com.au/
then that could not be further from the truth. abouttelstra/csr/docs/climate_full_report.pdf.pdf], launched
Telstra has formed a permanent Climate Change Review in October 2007, outlines carbon abatement options proposed
Group to ensure that it adopts a coordinated approach to to build on existing and next-generation telecommunications
managing climate change issues. The purpose of this group networks. The realisation of opportunities outlined in the
is to: report (see box) could result in telecommunications providers
• Identify the areas within Telstra’s business and the individual assisting Australian businesses and households achieving
performers who are, through their day-to-day responsibilities, total greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to approximately
already making important decisions 4.9 per cent of Australia’s total national emissions by 2015.
about the conservation of resources (such as water, Telstra has also been a member of the Greenhouse Challenge
paper, electricity and fuel). Plus program since August 2001. This program is a voluntary
• Monitor the resource conservation programs, projects partnership between industry and government to measure and
and activities already underway in Telstra. reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Guerin says this early action
• Give more visibility to Telstra employees who are by Telstra means that: “We now have robust data management
achieving resource savings by recognising their achievements and reporting systems, energy and greenhouse gas emission
more widely. reduction action plans and staff awareness programs. These
• Consider opportunities and proposals to enhance systems provide a solid foundation for future long-term
resource conservation, and assess them in terms of management of our greenhouse gas emissions.”
overall corporate conservation and climate change The company’s approach to reporting its carbon emissions is
policies and programs. highlighted by its participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project
• Engage experts to conduct formal risk assessments and/or Report 2006 – Australia and New Zealand. In this project,
cost benefit analysis of relevant proposals. Telstra was included in the Climate Leadership Index, which
• Ensure alignment between the business initiatives in includes those companies whose responses most adequately
climate change and Telstra’s policies. address the key areas of climate change for their business.
Telstra also participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project in
“Telstra is committed to managing and reducing the 2007 and again achieved Climate Leader status.
environmental impacts of our extensive infrastructure Apart from the part it plays in the strategy development and
and operations,” says Guerin. “We recognise the immense reporting on environmental impacts, on the ground Telstra’s
opportunities we have to improve our resource efficiencies activities are wide. As Guerin says, this includes activities
and drive costs out of the business through the effective devoted to energy efficiency, removal of ozone depleting
environmental management of our supply chain, products and substances, use of solar energy, transport efficiency, resource
services. Through this we will provide value to our customers, use efficiency and waste management, recycling, land use, fuel
our shareholders and society – and this is why the environment storage, assessment of the environmental impacts of products
matters to us.” and services, support of teleworking and compliance with
Telstra’s approach is for real world impacts: “carbon regulation and best practice.
abatement and conservation, not just offsetting schemes,” Results in these areas have been impressive, Guerin says,
he says. including a total saving of 174,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide
equivalent during 2006-07. Telstra is the largest private sector video and data) and other services as the business requires.
operator of solar power in the country with 10,693 solar- • Continue water-saving initiatives by continuing the rollout
powered sites including exchanges, radio terminals, small of waterless urinals across relevant commercial sites;
repeater stations and payphones. conducting water audits at three Victorian network sites; and
Telstra manages the nation’s largest private vehicle fleet investigating condensate reuse and rainwater harvesting.
with 14,960 trucks, cars, excavators and trailers – conversion • Review the National Waste Management System to improve
to liquid petroleum gas (LPG), use of smaller pool cars, more its efficiency.
fuel-efficient vehicles and the use of global positioning systems • Begin the nationwide adoption of updated pit water
(GPS) to improve route planning has given major savings and handling processes for all field employees and contractors.
positive environmental impacts. Telstra has established a single • Review the effectiveness of its Green Office Program and
point of contact – the National Waste Management System – to implement identified improvements.
arrange the collection and disposal of waste and recyclable • Roll out the learnings to the rest of the company from a
products, which allowed the company to recycle 65 per cent of global fuel economy trial which it has recently conducted 2
all solid and liquid waste during 2006-07 (up from 47 per cent in conjunction with one of Telstra Fleet’s major suppliers.
in the previous year). • Support and review business unit plans and submissions
for the Commonwealth Energy Efficiency legislation.
Continuing assessment • Conduct a review of Telstra’s corporate environmental
But as impressive and beneficial as those and other results management system.
might be, Guerin insists the company will not be resting on • Continue to maintain Telstra Advanced Services and
its laurels. certification to ISO 14001 environmental management
“We’re proud of our achievements in corporate environmental standard; this is the business unit within Telstra which
responsibility during 2006-07, but we acknowledge that more designs and builds the network.
can be done.” • Through the recently formed National Packaging Covenant
To this end, Telstra says it will take the following steps to Innovation Group, identify and drive initiatives for
make 2007-08 an even better year: improving the environmental performance of Telstra’s
• Perform a preliminary assessment of the greenhouse product packaging.
gas emissions footprint of its contractors and suppliers, In other words Telstra plans to continue the activities that
beginning with Telstra contractors, to understand the reduce its environmental impact to ensure that, while it will
materiality of their impact. still have a wide footprint because of the very nature of its
• Continue the Climate Change Review Group and develop a activities, those activities will have an increasingly shallow
climate change policy. impact as years go on.
• Conduct a life-cycle assessment for teleconferencing (audio,
Guerin, Telstra’s group manager environment, says that
broadband-enabled applications not only can create business
value but also greatly reduce Australia’s greenhouse
emissions (see www.telstra.com/sustainability and also
The application of a high bandwidth telecommunications
network, he says, can achieve this through:
• high definition video conferencing as a substitute for
• decentralised business districts and hubs (including
3 teleworking) to reduce the number of commuters
travelling to central business districts or other central
locations and to reduce the commute;
• personalised public transport to reduce inefficiencies in
• presence-based power versus always on or standby power
in homes and commercial buildings;
• increased renewable energy use by better management of
electricity loads through the use of intelligent controllers
and real-time communication across the electricity
supply and customer network;
• remote management of electrical appliances for more
efficient control of them including the use of wireless
telemetry to manage electricity use at home or in the
workplace and to reduce travel associated with the
management of utility networks; and
• deployment of real-time freight management to increase
the use of road and rail transport by sharing of real-
time information on vehicle and load locations between
our fooTprinT is wide in ThaT our transport carriers and freight forwarders – broadband
operaTions exTend naTionally brings together the technologies of GPS with SMS to
across all ausTralian communiTies, make this logistically possible.
and iT is shallow because our These, he says, are “seven significant opportunities, some of
impacT in any one of Those which can be implemented straight away”.
locaTions is minor.