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Comms Day Presentation Green Telecom Stream


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Paper I gave at Comms Day Congress in Melbourne in 2009

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Comms Day Presentation Green Telecom Stream

  1. 1. T.F. Guerin (2009) "Telecommunications and the Environment: But What About the Customer?" Presentation to the CommsDay Congress, Green Telecoms Stream, Melbourne, Australia, 13-14 October 2009 "Telecommunications and the Environment: But What About the Customer?" Dr Turlough F Guerin Group Manager Environment, Telstra Corporation Limited Melbourne, Australia Summary: Telstra has shown the possibility for its business to deliver emissions reductions across the economy. We are now using our own products and services to help our customers reduce their own emissions and to adapt to the consequences of climate change. And we are using these solutions ourselves. David Thodey has been in the CEO role since May this year. Anyone who has been following Telstra during this time knows he is extremely focused on the customer. Under our previous CEO, Telstra cast a vision for how we could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy1 through the “Towards a High Bandwidth Low Carbon Future” report. Today, I will share with you what we have done to deliver on this promise. But first consider for a moment what Telstra does for its customers in the course of a day2: • Our field staff and contractors will complete 23,000 service calls. When combined with our network construction team, our vehicles will travel more than 200,000 km • Our wireless network will enable 25 million text messages to be sent and we’ll enable 30 million mobile voice minutes • Our wireless network will also enable our broadband customers to download 17 million megabytes of data • Our business will provide telecommunications services to 8 out of 10 small businesses in Australia All of this effort is directed to service our 9 million fixed line and 10.2 million mobile customers. As companies and individuals move more physical activity into virtual solutions, the amount of data being transmitted across Telstra’s networks will increase, leading to increased energy consumption across our networks. 1 Towards High Bandwidth Low Carbon Future (2007) 2 These statistics are from “Telstra – A Great Australian Company” (July 2009) and Telstra Fast Facts (
  2. 2. T.F. Guerin (2009) "Telecommunications and the Environment: But What About the Customer?" Presentation to the CommsDay Congress, Green Telecoms Stream, Melbourne, Australia, 13-14 October 2009 The challenge for Telstra is to minimise energy consumption and Telstra’s exposure to rising electricity prices, while delivering the vital services our customer need. In short, we need to reduce our environmental footprint while growing our business. There are three areas where Telstra is acting to improve the management of its energy use as well as minimising the impacts from climate change. And we are doing this with and for our customers: • We are working with customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions • We are measuring our own carbon footprint onto some of our largest customers • We are working with customers to mitigate and reduce the impacts of climate change Firstly, we are working with customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We know that high speed broadband will enable the deployment of low carbon solutions across the economy such as video conferencing, remote working, and applications of these innovations through industry verticals such as e-Health, e-Education3 and growth in sales of these solutions is increasing4. For example, for every tonne of greenhouse gas the telco and ICT sector generate, our industry sector is enabling the wider economy to reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of 5 or more. The industry, and Telstra, has made a commitment that we can deliver these benefits, and there is an expectation that we will deliver on this promise. Well, I can proudly say that in Telstra, we are delivering. The example I’ll share is in reducing transport emissions. Much of transport’s emissions come from vehicle fleets. Within Telstra, we are enabling the efficient deployment of field work forces using Trimble Geo Manager, a solution we offer our enterprise customers5, particularly those in the transport sector with large fleets and field service staff6. Let me explain. In Telstra, we have a total vehicle fleet of 14,000 and a field workforce of about 6,000. These are the staff that connect your landline or conduct repairs when there has been an outage. Trimble GeoManager relies on field staff being connected via wireless broadband. It finds the shortest distance between field jobs so work can be scheduled in the most time-effective and fuel-efficient way. It uses GPS and GIS technology with the additional feature that it sends a regular positioning signal to a satellite. It allows work schedulers to match the closest field staff, that have the needed skills, to the next nearest job. In Telstra, Trimble GeoManager, has reduced travel kilometres between field jobs, by 6.5% year on year since 2006/077. When running a large field work force and vehicle fleet, like ours, this equates to millions of litres of fuel saved each year. That’s a significant positive impact on green house gas emissions reduction. But the greatest business value in implementing Trimble has been the recovery of lost time from the field workforce. 3 Telstra’s Sustainability White Paper “Using Sustainability to Drive Your Sustainability Strategy” (2009) (http:// 4 From the Telstra Unified Communications Portfolio, Videoconferencing Hardware and Services exceeded 2008/09 budget by 47%. The video portfolio includes Cisco TelePresence and Polycom Videoconferencing sales, Hosted ISDN Videoconference Bridging, and One-Touch (Bundled Videoconferencing hardware, services and calling over IP) (Source: Telstra Products October 2009) 5 TrimbleGeoManager.aspx 6 Telstra has sold approximately 2000 units over the past 2 years to Enterprise & Government customers. 7 This is based on the 26% reduction of km/task that our national Regional Service Delivery vehicles has reported during the period financial year 2005/6 (44.5) to 2008/9 (37.4).
  3. 3. T.F. Guerin (2009) "Telecommunications and the Environment: But What About the Customer?" Presentation to the CommsDay Congress, Green Telecoms Stream, Melbourne, Australia, 13-14 October 2009 Telstra has seen an increase of more than 10 percent productivity in our own field work force since installing Trimble in the past year alone. This is transformational change: Increased productivity and reduced carbon footprint. Imagine that impact multiplied across a national broadband network. Secondly, we are measuring our own carbon footprint onto some of our largest customers. For those of you who may be wondering if the current uncertainty about carbon regulation is a reason to put your supply chain impacts of your products and services to the side, let me share with you the actions taken by one of our largest customers which show just how seriously some customers are concerned about costs of carbon in their business. In 2008, Telstra was approached by an enterprise customer asking us to measure our carbon footprint onto their operations8. Telstra calculated the energy use and greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions resulting from provision of its products and services to that customer. The study determined the impact for both Telstra and the customer, allowing both organisations to better understand and manage the energy and emissions impacts of the telecommunications products and services provided to the customer9. Here are the results. Twenty percent (20%) of the energy and greenhouse gas emissions impact was attributable to Telstra and 80% attributable to the customer10. The impact of the customer-premises equipment (CPE), which was predominantly routers, was significant and higher compared with all other impacts from our footprint such as fixed line and mobile calls. In fact, the emissions from the CPE represented 8% of the customer’s total carbon footprint. This collaboration between Telstra and a major customer has provided a focus for both organisations to reduce the carbon emissions impact from equipment needed to be deployed by our customers to use Telstra’s services. This has included seeking alternative solutions to replace or upgrade legacy routers to models and configurations that are more energy efficient. It has enabled both Telstra and the customer to look at energy use and greenhouse gas emissions management in a new light. For Telstra, we have learnt about new opportunities to further understand the contributions of our individual products and services to our own greenhouse gas emissions footprint. Undertaking a carbon footprint onto our customers is also consistent with our philosophy of working transparently with our stakeholders and disclosing our environmental liabilities11. Finally, it is the way we are working with our customers to build resilience to climate change is what I will present now. Last month, Telstra began work on building the infrastructure for a new national telephony-based warning system that will alert Australians in the event of a life- threatening emergency. The new fixed and mobile national emergency warning system will be completed by the end of this month, with comprehensive testing to take place throughout November. 8 This request became a catalyst for Telstra to better understand the carbon impact of its products and services, building on the company-level carbon footprint (from emissions sources eg electricity, fuel & waste to landfill) and business unit level carbon footprint already conducted. 9 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was used in the study and it was limited to operational energy consumption due to the complexity of products and services used by the customer. Embodied energy or other material environmental impacts were not considered. Allocation rules were developed to apportion Telstra’s network energy use to specific Telstra products and services. Although a partial LCA was completed, ISO Guidelines were used as guidance for this study (AS/NZS ISO 14040:2006(E), AS/NZS ISO 14044:2006). 10 The total carbon emissions impact for both Telstra and the customer was 22,237 tonnes CO2e or the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from approximately 1,600 average Australian households ( 11 Refer to Telstra’s submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) at Telstra has participated in this initiative since its inception in 2003 and for the past 4 years we have been represented on the Climate Leaders Index demonstrating our commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and resilience to impacts of extreme weather events.
  4. 4. T.F. Guerin (2009) "Telecommunications and the Environment: But What About the Customer?" Presentation to the CommsDay Congress, Green Telecoms Stream, Melbourne, Australia, 13-14 October 2009 This system12, utilising Telstra’s extensive fixed and mobile network, will provide emergency service authorities with an additional way to warn communities in the event of an emergency and will complement the actions our government is taking to better protect us from bushfires. This system has been developed with one of Telstra Enterprise & Government’s major customers, the Victorian Government, and is part of a wider project to connect all Australians to an early warning system during emergencies. And this only one of the contributions Telstra makes to helping customers and the wider community adapt to extreme weather events and natural disasters13. So in closing, good environmental management is important for our business but it goes beyond us. It is also important for our customer’s business. Telstra must meet its customer’s needs for coverage, speed and bandwidth but customers are also a priority in our approach to managing the environment. 12 For details of the products and services Telstra provides to the public safety & emergency services community refer to: 13 For further details of Telstra contribution to disaster relief go to: