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Green Broadband Broadband World Australia 2008


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Green Broadband Broadband World Australia 2008

  1. 1. T.F. Guerin (2008) “Our Future, Our Legacy, Our Way” Presentation to the Green Broadband Stream at Broadband World Australia Conference, 5-7 November, Sydney. “OUR FUTURE, OUR LEGACY, OUR WAY” Broadband World Australia1, Sydney, 5-7 November 2008. by Dr. Turlough Guerin2 Group Manager Environment, Telstra Corporation Limited To ensure our future is low carbon, as a nation we need to alter our current legacy which is reliance on fossil fuels. An important contribution to getting there is to build a high-speed, ubiquitous broadband network. This will enable flexible working, efficient deployment of field staff and fleets, and video conferencing, all of which will help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Currently, per person, per annum we contribute 28 tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Our challenge as a nation is clear. We have 40 years to reduce this to 3 tonnes per person, per annum. Climate change and global warming are not just environmental issues, but forces that will shape how we will do business. In this paper, I will address how Telstra is using broadband to reduce its own carbon footprint and why broadband will enable our customers and the nation to do the same. The effects of climate change are not going away. Why? In the past 12 months climate scientists have confirmed our worst fears – early modelling vastly underestimated the impacts. There is now a greater than 60% chance that the world will experience a 2°C increase in temperature by mid this century, which will lead to more severe droughts, heatwaves, storm events and sea level rise. But there is one thing we can be 100% sure of. Our future will be carbon-constrained. That also means there will be a cost on carbon. A colleague from the banking industry told me last month that their courier company has already passed on a fuel surcharge of 15%. Across the bank’s entire operations, courier costs have increased by a million dollars. And this is only one of their suppliers. Businesses and governments must act to reduce their exposure to this crisis. Let me paint a picture of the working lives of many of us in corporations and governments that illustrates our dependence on fossil fuels. We typically drive or use public transport to get to work 5 days or more a week. During an average week, it’s not uncommon for us to spend 10-15 hours in transit or in traffic. We fly interstate at least every 1 to 2 months. When flying, for example the Sydney – Melbourne route, we lose 6-8 hrs through travel and waiting. And that is assuming our flights are on time. 1 Keynote address for the Green Broadband Stream. 2 Contactable by email at
  2. 2. T.F. Guerin (2008) “Our Future, Our Legacy, Our Way” Presentation to the Green Broadband Stream at Broadband World Australia Conference, 5-7 November, Sydney. We may also do some international travel which multiples these losses further. And we typically do our work in dedicated offices that have air conditioning, heating and lighting regardless of whether we’re there or not. Imagine a different working life. Where work was something we did, not somewhere we went. Where video conferencing was the norm, not the exception. Where we didn’t consider the office as the normal place or only place to do business. Where we collaborate with team members or customers over the internet in real time. How can this kind of future be possible? High-speed, wide-reaching broadband is how and is one of the keys to unlocking a low carbon economy. Here’s an example of how Telstra is using its Next GTM network to remove carbon from our own business. Trimble GeoManager3 is a product offered to our enterprise and government customers to improve the efficiency of their field work forces and fleets. This product relies on field staff being connected via broadband. It finds the shortest distance between jobs so work can be scheduled in the most time-effective and spatially-efficient way. It leverages GPS 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, with the needed skills, to the next nearest job. When I recently spoke with Telstra’s Executive Director of Network Enterprise Services, the role responsible for rolling out Trimble, he acknowledged that the fuel savings are significant. Trimble is now reducing travel kilometres between field jobs by 6%. When running a large field work force and vehicle fleet, like ours, this equates to millions of litres of fuel saved each year. But the greatest value in implementing Trimble has been the recovery of lost time from the field workforce. Telstra has seen an increase of more than 20 percent productivity in the field work force since installing Trimble. This is transformational change: Increased productivity and reduced carbon footprint. A study released by our CEO last October, “Towards a High-Bandwidth, Low Carbon Future”, quantified the emissions that could be avoided across the national economy through the application of just seven broadband-enabled opportunities, estimating a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 20154. Organisations including the Climate Group and the Australian Computer Society, have since independently reached similar conclusions to those of Telstra5. These studies point to the leveraging power of the telecommunications and ICT industry. These studies show that this leverage could be as great as 9 times6. This means that for each tonne of greenhouse gas the telecommunications and ICT industry emits from operating its own networks and equipment, it can enable the avoidance of up to 9 tonnes across the economy. This leverage or multiplier effect is a major strategic advantage for any industry, particularly for operating in a carbon-constrained economy. 3 For details of Trimble GeoManager refer to Telstra Enterprise and Government’s homepage: TrimbleGeoManager.aspx 4 Commissioned by Telstra and prepared by Climate Risk P/L and published at: in October 2007. 5 See and the Smart 2020 study at 6 Assumes 3 Mt emitted by the telecommunications sector in Australia (Telstra contributes to 50% emitting 1.5Mt) and reported by Turlough Guerin in “Smarter, greener, together: Towards a High- bandwidth Low-carbon Future”, presentation to the 2nd Annual Climate Change Summit, 23-24 July 2008, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
  3. 3. T.F. Guerin (2008) “Our Future, Our Legacy, Our Way” Presentation to the Green Broadband Stream at Broadband World Australia Conference, 5-7 November, Sydney. With increasing consumer concerns about green washing and expectations from shareholders and customers that companies demonstrate good governance, the science underpinning the environmental benefits of broadband is paramount. It is for this reason that my team, Telstra’s Corporate Environment Group, are deploying life cycle analyses7 which use the scientific method to measure the end-to-end impacts of our services on the environment. Already we have measured the impacts of online billing compared with conventional billing, and compared the environmental impacts of teleworking with office-based working8. This financial year, we are determining Telstra’s carbon footprint at the business unit level and measuring our carbon footprint onto our largest customers8. Our way, Telstra’s way, is to enable the reduction and avoidance of emissions across the economy and not just our own9. Consider for a moment what we are enabling our customers to do now: • Enabling the more efficient deployment of field work forces, linking field staff to jobs in the shortest possible time with least travel distance using Trimble mentioned earlier. • Enabling flexible working, with knowledge workers working from home more than they do in a business office and collaborating with team members from across the city or across the globe in real time. This is saving our customers in travel but more importantly enabling a reduction in office space, which is a large contributor to running costs and to a business’ carbon footprint10. • Enabling replacement of business air travel with high definition in person, video conferencing11. Our strategy is straight forward. We build and operate high-speed, wide-reaching broadband networks. As a nation, we will need to reduce our emissions more dramatically than previously thought if we are to avoid the impacts of dangerous climate change. Even through the few examples mentioned, imagine what we can achieve together as a nation. Our current legacy of high greenhouse gas emissions per capita is based on growth coupled to use of fossil fuels. This will no longer serve our needs as an economy, as a society, or that of the environment. Australia now needs to invest in infrastructure that will enable a change in the way we work, the way we live and how we use energy. High speed, wide-reaching broadband will be an important part of our way to get there. 7 Based on the ISO standard 14040 series and peer reviewed by international experts in life cycle assessment. 8 Telstra’s Corporate Responsibility Report 2008 (November). 9 Telstra is reducing its own emissions and savings from this past year are more than 25,000 tonnes. Cumulative energy savings actions over the past 8 years are now resulting in financial savings of 14 million dollars (AUD) for the last financial year alone (Telstra’s submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project 2007 10 Telstra’s life cycle assessment of teleworking has demonstrated the majority of greenhouse gas savings come from office consolidation. 11 Several large global companies have publically reported commitments to reducing business air travel by up to 20% made possible by high definition video conferencing.
  4. 4. T.F. Guerin (2008) “Our Future, Our Legacy, Our Way” Presentation to the Green Broadband Stream at Broadband World Australia Conference, 5-7 November, Sydney. Turlough Guerin – Biography Dr Turlough Guerin is an environmental professional who has worked in corporate environmental management roles in Rio Tinto, Shell and is currently Group Manager Environment for Telstra. Telstra has been voluntarily reporting its carbon emissions for 8 years. Through its cumulative energy efficiency initiatives over this time, the company has delivered $14 million in avoided energy costs in the past financial year. In 2008, Telstra was awarded the Environmental Responsibility category winner in the Communications Alliance and CommsDay Awards. In 2007, Telstra was a finalist in two categories at the 2007 Banksia Environmental Awards.