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Telstra committed to innovation for sustainability and performance

Telstra committed to innovation for sustainability and performance

During Prysmian Group Sustainability Week (20-24 June 2022), Telstra and Prysmian discussed sustainability aspects of fibre and telecoms.

Telstra’s mobile network reaches 99.5 percent of Australia’s population, providing around 20.8 million retail mobile services and 3.5 million retail bundle and data services. The company uses technology to help address environmental challenges and helps others do the same. This includes helping to mitigate climate change impacts, using resources efficiently and minimising environmental impacts across the value chain.


“As one of Australia’s leading Telecommunications companies, and a large user of energy, Telstra has an important role to play in addressing climate change,” explains Kathryn Jones, Fibre Executive, Telstra InfraCo. “Our sustainability strategy focuses on using technology to solve environmental challenges while helping suppliers, customers and communities we serve to do the same.”

“Our climate and energy goals include reducing absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030, and enabling renewable energy generation equivalent to our own consumption by 2025. We were certified by the Australian Government’s Climate Active program as carbon neutral in 2020,” added Ms Jones. Telstra Infraco is auditing and optimizing 300 facilities, upgrading building services assets, developing energy efficient frameworks for new assets, and closely monitoring these.

Resource efficiency is realised through programs to re-use and recycle devices and the packaging they come in, reducing waste going to landfill and creating innovative solutions to reduce our environmental impact. 100% of Telstra branded packaging is made of renewable or recycled materials and the company aims to increase its network waste recycling rate to 85% by 2025. Furthermore, Telstra is on track to reuse or recycle 500,000 mobile phones, modems and other devices each year to 2025.

“For us, sustainability performance and commitment are vital to vendor selection,” Kathryn explains. “We have a code of conduct for suppliers and include sustainability commitments in commercial agreements. The Carbon Discloure Project (CDP) is one way in which we manage and measure our supply chain’s environmental impact.”

Kathryn Jones

Fibre Executive, Telstra InfraCo

This year, Telstra decided to broaden its emissions reduction target to include the indirect emissions occurring as a result of its activities, from sources not owned or controlled by the company itself. Furthermore, the company has set up digital inclusion programs. This ensures affordable products and services are available and supports a range of programs to build digital skills, particularly for people aged over 65 who are among the least digitally included Australians.

The Telstra Board is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of our Responsible Business Strategy and has oversight of processes to manage and integrate sustainable development considerations into the company’s operations.

“The choice of technology is vital to performance as well as sustainability,” says Miled Abdulnour, Principal, Asset Management, InfraCo Fibre, Telstra Infraco. “The InterCapital project we’re working on with Prysmian involves construction of an express network and a foundation network on the same path, at the same time. This helps to minimize the environmental disturbance and enables significant efficiencies in mobilization transport and construction. All of this will help reduce CO2 emissions and waste” he added

The small form factor cable that Telstra infraCo and Prysmian have custom designed for the project requires just half the fossil-based polymers traditional cables use. It is significantly lighter, halving the number of cable deliveries during construction. As deliveries take place throughout Australia, across vast distances, this saves a significant amount of fuel.

“The custom cables are designed to last as long as possible, so we can extend the life of the fibre network, which means further savings on rollouts and materials. When you’re rolling out at such a vast scale, the benefits really add up. Of course, the bandwidth enabled by this new fibre technology could also contribute to the societal shift towards flexible working and help reduce commuting,” said Mr Abdulnour.

“The fibre optic industry has a significant role to play in ensuring climate change doesn’t become more severe. For a greener, better future we need to make sustainability a key consideration in the design and production of fibre cables using our global know-how. Listening and engaging with partners, who know all about requirements in the market, shows what we can do better and drives innovation.”

Erkan Aydogu

CEO, Pysmian OSEA