Over the past two years, we have worked hard at Telstra to improve the energy efficiency of our operations and reduce our carbon emissions. We know that climate change presents a physical, financial and reputation risk to our business. As one of Australia’s largest companies and as an owner of significant physical infrastructure, it is in our interest (and our shareholders’ interest) to understand and manage our climate change risks and opportunities.

Energy EfficiencyI’m pleased to say, this year, our efforts have been acknowledged by the Carbon Disclosure Project with a significant increase our rating in its annual Global 500 Climate Change Report.

The Carbon Disclosure Project is a global non-profit organisation, comprised of 655 institutional investors holding over $78 trillion in assets. Holding the largest inventory of greenhouse gas data in the world, its purpose is to provide investors with a single point of reference for understanding how the world’s companies are disclosing and managing their climate change risks and opportunities. The CDP conducts an annual assessment and company performance is judged from participation in a comprehensive annual survey. Telstra has participated since 2003. Our score this year was based on our performance in the 2011 financial year.

This year, our score improved in two ways:

  • Disclosure of information – 84 (up from 70 in 2011); and
  • Climate change risk and opportunity performance – Band B (up from C in 2011).

Our improvement this year reflects the activity that is happening across Telstra to reduce carbon emissions intensity and deliver energy efficiency improvements.  Our Energy and Greenhouse Management team implemented a wide-ranging work program, including: assessment of air conditioning system performance, implementation of fresh air cooling, depowering redundant equipment and energy efficiency building services. Every year, this work will save over 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions and remove almost $3 million from Telstra’s annual electricity bill.

In addition, work by our Property, Fleet and Chief Sustainability Office teams demonstrate how we have been working across the company to make energy efficiency and emissions reduction ‘business as usual’.

Sustainability reporting has also been incorporated into Telstra’s Annual Review this year for the first time. This reflects our ambition to bring the social and environmental into the heart of the organisation in ways that create value. The Annual Review is supported by a series of Bigger Picture sustainability reports which delve into our key sustainability issues in more detail.

The collaborative effort of teams across Telstra is a positive step forward to take us on our path to environmental leadership in Australia. Whilst our score is a great result, we know there is more to be done. We look forward to raising the bar higher next year.