How we’re using tech to help customers reduce emissions and meet Australia’s climate goals

Australia faces a major challenge to achieve its 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels. While many businesses have committed to reduce their emissions, only a quarter of large businesses are on a trajectory to meet these targets[1].

To reduce our carbon footprint, we’ve been changing the way we do business. From piloting experimental tech at our carbon farm, to leveraging smart solutions across our operations, we believe digital technologies have a crucial role to play in helping businesses reduce their emissions.

As Australia’s largest telecommunications provider, we see a significant opportunity to help our customers and society transition to a lower carbon future by accelerating the adoption of innovative emissions-avoiding technologies.

Technology has the potential to propel our collective action to address climate change. For example, travel-related emissions can be avoided thanks to connectivity-enabled working from home. The adoption of smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been used to reduce energy consumption in buildings. Cloud computing can be more energy efficient and reduce emissions. Internet of things (IoT) technologies are being applied in farms, mines, factories, and utility plants to improve operations, use resources more efficiently and reduce the impact on the natural environment.

So, to uncover the extent that digital technologies supported by Telstra can contribute to Australia’s 2030 carbon goals, we commissioned Deloitte to find out just how much our technology and connectivity can help our customers and Australia decarbonise.

Calculating our emissions enablement factor

The Enabling Positive Climate Action Report by Deloitte[2] analyzes the impact of Telstra’s products and services by looking at our enablement potential. This quantifies the emissions avoided by our customers through the use of our products and services when compared to our own emissions. The calculations reveal the overall contribution Telstra can make towards a lower carbon future.

The results

In 2021, we enabled our customers to avoid 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions, comparable to taking 820,000 cars off Australian roads each year. Deloitte’s findings estimate that by 2030, our enablement factor will be 6.9. That means for every tonne of CO2e we emit, we would help our customers avoid 6.9 tonnes of CO2e emissions through the use of our products and services* – the equivalent of reducing the number of cars on Australian roads by 1.3 million each year[2]. By 2030, it is estimated we can cumulatively help customers avoid over a huge 41 million tonnes of CO2e.

To put this into context, our potential contribution to avoiding emissions is nationally significant – it’s the equivalent of about 1% of the average annual reduction in emissions required to meet Australia’s reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Breaking this down further

For many businesses and government organizations, while the science on climate change is clear, the pathway to reduce emissions isn’t. Increasing the adoption of new technologies such as smart HVAC, fleet management, remote working and cloud technologies are some of the ways Australia’s offices, supply chains and warehouses can become greener.

You can access the full findings of the Telstra Enabling Positive Climate Action Report by Deloitte here and read how we’re making changes that contribute towards a lower carbon future.

Things you need to know

* The estimated improvement in our enablement factor considers both the estimated volume of avoided emissions and the committed reduction of Telstra’s scope 1 and 2 emissions (in line with our 50% emissions reduction target by 2030 from an FY19 baseline). Reducing our emissions is part of our broader climate commitments of being carbon neutral from 2020, enabling 100% renewable energy generation equivalent to our consumption by 2025 and reducing absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030 (compared to an FY19 baseline – and across our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions). Find out more about our progress to achieving these goals here.

[1] Telstra Enabling Positive Climate Action Report by Deloitte Access Economics.

[2] See the full report for further detail on key assumptions and qualifications across reported figures.

By Tom Penny

Head of Environment – Telstra

Tom is Head of Environment at Telstra and leads the team responsible for delivering on Telstra’s Environment Strategy including helping Telstra understand and reduce its environmental impact through dedicated programs targeting climate change and resource efficiency, and its carbon neutral program. Tom has worked in sustainability teams across government, corporate and consulting both within Australia and in the UK and his experience extends across climate change, energy, resource efficiency and circular economy.

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