As consumers, there are many ways for us to play a part in reducing our impact on the environment, be it via powering our homes through solar power or simply recycling our milk bottles. Businesses and governments are no different – and increasingly they’re recognising the responsibility they have to reduce their environmental impact.

As we continue to learn and understand how our actions as a community impact climate change, Australia’s business community is feeling the pressure to limit and contain carbon emissions, whilst managing the pressure to also achieve both reputational and commercial benefits. In fact, Accenture’s 2013 Global Survey of 1,000 CEOs, shows that 93 per cent regard sustainability as key to their company’s success.

At Telstra, tackling this issue has been on our agenda for a long time. Today, I’m thrilled to launch our latest environment report Connecting with a low-carbon future’ to many of my peers at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne. The report itself builds on the findings from our 2007 Climate Risk report on the role of the ICT sector, as the solution to both contain cost and reduce carbon emissions.

If the ICT opportunities, highlighted in the report, are realised, they could help Australians to achieve cost savings of almost $8.1 billion per year – and more importantly, combined, would deliver approximately one fifth of the bipartisan 5 per cent emissions reduction target for 2020.

However, while existing innovations presented by the ICT sector have already recorded impressive reductions in carbon emissions and reduced expenditure in other sectors, there is still a lot more that can be done. Therefore, we hope this report stimulates further dialogue about ICT’s potential role as the ‘backbone’ of a low-carbon economy, and adds to the understanding of the ICT contribution in Australia to-date.

We believe that the ICT sector is in an ideal position to enable Australia’s government, businesses and consumers to reduce both their energy consumption and carbon emissions – which will not only lead to considerable cost savings but will also make a significant and tangible contribution to addressing climate change in the near and long-term future.

How will you make a change?

A low carbon future