Over the last 12 months or so there has been increasing stakeholder and community interest in the role of industry associations, particularly their contributions to public policy development and the setting of industry regulations and standards.
Why we value membership in industry associations
Telstra maintains memberships with a number of industry and broader business associations that we believe provide value to our business, industry and the wider economy.
The value and scope of the services provided varies across associations, but in general they have an important role to play through activities like sharing of global best practice and contributing to the development of effective policy, regulation and industry standards, all things that ultimately benefit our industry, the economy, and society as a whole.
Depending on the circumstances, association memberships can also bring access to the latest industry thinking and insights around important issues like health and safety, the environment, indigenous reconciliation, regional communities and community engagement.
They also provide the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with other members, including those who may hold views different to ours. That diversity of thought is something we see as a positive; an opportunity for different attitudes and positions to contribute to open debate, discussion and hopefully consensus on complex issues.
Our principles for engaging with key industry associations
We have developed a set of principles to guide and inform how we engage with industry associations. While the scope of different industry associations varies, in general, we seek to be part of organisations which:
- Create value for Telstra and our industry
- Create opportunities to better understand issues affecting our industry and contribute to the development of effective and efficient policy, regulation and industry standards
- Create professional development and training opportunities
- Facilitate the sharing of industry best practice and insights
- Assist us to better understand the diverse views held on important issues affecting industry.
In maintaining our membership with industry associations we know that all members will not share the same position on all issues, which means there will be times when other members will have views not aligned with Telstra’s position. Where this occurs, we engage with the association leadership and ensure our position is publicly disclosed. We believe industry associations should refrain from advocacy in areas where no broad industry consensus exists – in these areas individual members are best placed to advocate their views independently.
In addition we also regularly review our memberships of industry associations to ensure our participation remains constructive and in line with our broader interests and positions on key issues. We also expect industry associations to have clear and transparent governance and advocacy and lobbying arrangements.
All of these principles can be found on our website.
Industry associations and climate change
We recognise there is community interest in the role of industry associations in relation to policy advocacy on climate change.
In line with our positioning and principles, we have commenced an alignment review of our key industry memberships in relation to climate change. The basis for this review – which we will complete in 2019 – will be our Climate Change Position Statement.
Where we identify material differences between Telstra’s position on climate change policy and the advocacy positions of our industry associations, we will engage directly with them.
We will provide an update on the outcomes of this process in our Sustainability disclosures.
An important role to play
Business has an important role to play in addressing climate change and it is critical we work in partnership with governments and the wider community to minimise the environmental, economic and social impacts.
At Telstra we certainly accept our responsibility to help facilitate low-carbon growth, to minimise our emissions as a large user of power and to help other businesses reduce their own emissions through the adoption of new technologies and communication tools. More broadly we see value in connecting with other businesses – the like-minded and those who have other positions – through industry associations to find the best path forward.