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Tag: sustainability

Stepping up to meet the challenge of climate change

Telstra News

Posted on December 19, 2019

4 min read

Climate change – two words that mean so much for our future and for the generations that come after us. Here’s what we’re doing to make a difference.

As the largest telco in Australia, our network provides a critical platform to support the digital economy of the country.  And with governments, companies, communities and our customers embracing digital technology more broadly, we’re seeing more demand for capacity, faster speeds and greater coverage. Data volumes are increasing 30-50 per cent each year.  This in turn requires greater resources and power to drive our network putting pressure on our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Through the use of digital technologies utilising our network, many of our customers are reducing their emissions.  Similarly, we’re also very focused on reducing our own GHG emissions.

For example, by June this year, we’d reduced our carbon emissions intensity by 40 per cent since 2017 and we’re on track to get them down by 50 per cent in June next year. We’ve also managed modest reductions in our absolute emissions, down 6 per cent since FY17 despite the demand for data continuing to grow. You can read more about our progress in the Sustainability Report.

Earlier this year, we were recognised by CDP’s Global Climate Change Index as one of three Australian companies to receive an A rating for our actions to improve our environmental performance.

But, there’s more we can do and we are committed to continuing to challenge ourselves because climate change is one of the most significant global issues facing us today.  At Telstra we know we have a responsibility to help meet the challenges climate change presents.

Position statement

Since we released our position statement in 2015, just before the Paris Agreement, a lot has shifted in the climate change space – and so have we.  We are in the process of updating our position statement to be stronger and clearly set out our position on key issues impacting us today.  This will also include updating our GHG emissions targets before they expire mid next year.  It will also include our commitment to achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.

Solar farm - Emerald Solar Park
Courtesy of Emerald Solar Park

Belong Carbon Neutral certification

Today we are proud to announce that Belong, our challenger brand, has become the first Australian telco to be certified Carbon Neutral under the Climate Active initiative, underpinned by the Australian Government. For all GHG emissions associated with its operations and products, Belong will invest in certified carbon offset projects which will remove an equivalent volume of GHG emissions from the atmosphere.

As we look for more ways to reduce our impact on the environment, we will be able to use our experience with Belong to help our broader company consider how we can reduce our emissions.

Industry review

We have also been conducting a review of our industry and broader business associations to better understand their position on climate change and their commitments to improvement.

Through our review we have found that, in the majority of cases, our position and that of our industry associations are aligned and where they are not these differences are relatively minor.  There are also some differences in the way associations act or talk about climate change.  We are engaging with associations to address any differences in our positions and if we think any of our industry associations aren’t aligning with what the science is telling us we will consider the future of the relationship.  In the meantime, we do believe we’ll be more effective at driving change from within.

Specifically, we will engage directly with the Business Council of Australia as we found some discrepancies where they have deviated from their policy in the way they speak and act.

More free calls and data over Christmas for those in need


Posted on December 18, 2019

3 min read

Christmas is a time for connections. Too often, we take the phone in our pocket, the laptop on our desk or tablet in our bag for granted as a means to reach out to those we love. We’re driven to connect every Australian to the ones they love, especially those in need. This year, we’re not only bringing back our free payphone calls over Christmas, but we’re expanding it for anyone who needs it.

Once again, we’re opening up our payphone network to provide free local, national and standard mobile calls from Telstra payphones around the country. On top of the free calls, we’re also making selected Telstra Air Wi-Fi access points free to anyone during this time.

Free calls and data over Christmas for those in need
Jana Kotatko, Telstra, and Major Brendan Nottle, The Salvation Army

In previous years, we had opened our payphones from December 24-26, but this year we’re extending the time Aussies can take advantage of the free calls. We’ll be opening our payphone network up from December 24 – 1 January 2020 inclusive.

Last year, over 120,000 calls were placed during the period. Meanwhile, over 23,000 users connected to our Telstra Air hotspots over the period, with 3.55 terabytes transferred in total. We’re proud to expand the window this year to ensure more people can connect than ever before.

We’re driven to ensure that those who are separated from their families by circumstance, or even those who want to reconnect for the first time in a long time are given every opportunity on our network. Christmas is a time where feelings of isolation and loneliness can be at their peak, so we want to bring families closer together with a simple phone call, text or video call.

Image: Herald Sun

“We know it’s some of the most vulnerable members of our community who’ll benefit most and we hope they can take this opportunity to reach out and reconnect with their loved ones over Christmas,” said Major Brendan Nottle, The Salvation Army.

“A simple phone call could make all the difference this Christmas and help reconnect Australians doing it tough with their loved ones or long-lost family or friends.”

We’ll be spreading the word about this offer far and wide in the lead-up to Christmas so we can be sure those in need know that a friendly voice is just one free call away.

Nothing beats the sound of hearing a loved one’s voice, especially at a time like Christmas when a focus on families coming together is really heightened. It’s an important opportunity for those in the community who might be feeling isolated at this time, and we hope that even more Australians take up the opportunity to connect with their loved ones this year.

Things you need to know:

Free calls around Australia to local, national and standard mobiles from Telstra payphones from 24 December 2019 – 1 January 2020 inclusive. Free calls exclude international calls and premium services (19x), Mobile Satellite, and 1234, 12456 directory services. Excludes Telstra rented payphones. Free Wi-Fi data at select Telstra Air payphones and Telstra Stores, in Australia only. Telstra Air available for Wi-Fi enabled devices only.

Images: Herald Sun

A connected future is an accessible future

Inspiration Business and Enterprise

Posted on December 3, 2019

4 min read

Tuesday 3 December is International Day of People With Disability. The TelstrAbility Employee Representative Group hosted a panel on accessibility in Sydney and Melbourne to hear about how we can build a connected future so everyone can thrive. The event was live-streamed to audiences around the country.

One of the key takeaways was recognising that becoming an accessible employer and an accessible company doesn’t just happen overnight. At our collaborative panel event, our people who live with disabilities discussed the long journey towards becoming an accessible business.

They each identified areas where there have been improvements, while highlighting shortcomings that we’re well on our way to addressing.

Chris Riley, one of our Ways of Working coaches, offered an interesting insight on the journey of accessibility and how we all have a role to play.

“Is technology perfect for accessibility yet? Heavens no. But is it getting better? Absolutely.

“But accessibility is not just about building better technology, it’s about people. It’s about mindset. As a coach I train people on mindset as the powerhouse behind everything.

“By making small changes of mindset, you can have a big impact towards creating more accessible working environments,” Chris said on the panel.

Adem Cifcioglu, Founder and Director of Accessible Technologies at Intopia, told the audience that “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and that people “never set out to make something inaccessible”. Inaccessibility happens when teams building products and services don’t seek diverse perspectives from someone who may use that product or service with a specific requirement.

He added that accessibility is more than just a checkbox: it’s about designing something to be accessible in every step of the development process.

One of our key values is “better together”. It’s about understanding that we benefit from what we have in common and strengthen our internal culture by leveraging our differences to build things collaboratively. Amy Whalley, Deputy CEO of Australian Network on Disability, recognised that as part of our “better together” practices, we need to recognise that accessibility is everyone’s job.

“There isn’t one person responsible for driving accessible culture and accessibility,” Amy says. “Everyone is responsible for disrupting biases to make sure that we’re creating an accessible workplace. If you see something that isn’t accessible, make sure you call it out within the organisation,” she added.

Amy said that the most effective way to ensure you’re being open and accessible is to remember the acronym “ATP”. That stands for “Ask The Person”.

“By thinking about the humans who interact with the technology, we get the best results. Asking the person what they need is the biggest leap forward we can take for accessibility,” Amy said.

Chris Riley added that ATP is great, and needs to be a constant feedback process: “Keep checking in on people and keep asking the questions about what they need to do their job well!”

Amy also mentioned that Telstra has recently become one of only a dozen Australian organisations to be recognised by the Australian Network on Disability as a Disability Confident Recruiter. This is significant, as it recognises us as an accessible workplace of choice for the 1 in 5 Aussies living with a disability.

We’re obsessed with attracting the best talent to help build a connected future, and by making our recruitment and employment processes more accessible we’re now able to select from a broad and diverse talent pool.

Becoming a Disability Confident Recruiter, or DCR, sends a message to skilled candidates with disabilities that they can feel confident to apply for roles with us, and that we have the flexibility, the technology and the culture that supports them to thrive.

Being certified as a DCR means we’ve worked to remove barriers to the recruitment process and build new workplace adjustments to cater for those with an accessibility requirement, while becoming an employer of choice within the disabled community to attract more talented individuals to our ranks.

Being an accessible employer unlocks huge value for a business, and in turn its shareholders. Companies that improve their accessibility are four times as likely to build greater shareholder return after doing so. That’s why we’re acceding to the requirements of being a DCR and updating our internal disability policies to ensure everything from our premises through to our products are accessible to everyone.

A connected future has to be an accessible one, and by working collaboratively to ensure we’re better together, we’ll ensure that we’re building that connected future for everyone.

Ending homelessness within a fortnight: social change maker Dignity’s story

Telstra Business Awards

Posted on November 28, 2019

4 min read


When Suzanne Hopman witnessed a young family experiencing homelessness, she was determined to address the issue in Australia one person at a time. Her not-for-profit organisation Dignity aims to do just that by helping people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness – and has gone on to be crowned Telstra’s Business of the Year 2019.

People often ask if we are a business or a charity. The answer is that we are both. In order to be the most efficient, stable, transparent charity that we can be, we need to run as an incredible business. We do not make a profit – but every dollar saved is a dollar we can spend helping someone, and every dollar wasted is a dollar we can’t use. It’s an incredible responsibility.

I’ll never forget that moment when I knew things had to change.

I was visiting a mother, and her little baby and five-year-old daughter Sophie, who were experiencing homelessness. They had just checked into a really dingy motel – it was like something out of a horror movie. There was a visible layer of grime on the floor and I was taking small breaths so I didn’t breathe in the smell of the room.

While I was talking to the mum, Sophie was just on the corner of the bed so quietly – no tears, but a look in her eyes of pure terror that I will never forget. They had nothing to eat, no nappies, no clean clothes and no idea what to do next.

Restoring dignity is a critical step in empowering people experiencing homelessness.

At Dignity, we aim to empower people to end their homelessness within 14 days. That is 14 days from the first day of homelessness to stable accommodation. Last month, we averaged less than eight days. At Dignity, our properties are beautiful, we offer delicious homecooked meals made by incredible volunteers, and have a team offering brand new clothes and well-trained support workers.

I wish that Dignity had been there for Sophie. In less than 4 years, we’ve journeyed alongside more than 50,000 people and ended their homelessness.


Homelessness does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone.

Usually, a few things have just gone terribly wrong until life has spiralled out of control. It can creep up on those who’ve always had a place to call home, and never contemplated life would be any different.

No two stories are ever the same, but one thing they often have in common is a level of trauma; trauma from whatever has caused the homelessness, and trauma from the homelessness itself.


A diverse team with one mission.

We don’t have an office.

Instead, our team works remotely to reduce our overheads and 97 per cent of every dollar we are donated goes directly to supporting people who are homeless. But this is not why we’re successful in achieving our goals. The key lies in our complete and unwavering focus on our mission to support people experiencing homelessness.

We believe we can end homelessness in Australia, and our ultimate aim is to do just that. We can’t get this result by providing aid or just helping people who are homeless; instead, we need to empower people who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of experiencing homelessness.


This award from Telstra is in celebration of all who have ended their homelessness and who got into stable housing – you have inspired us with your stories of how you overcame the adversity, endured humiliation, risen above embarrassment and shame.

It’s your courage and strength that is to be admired – this is for you.

From intern to full-time: how we’re helping Indigenous students find their fit

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on November 20, 2019

4 min read

We have just welcomed 16 talented and driven Indigenous university students who are joining us this summer for the CareerTrackers internship program.

Every summer and winter, we aim to onboard new interns as well as welcome back some familiar faces returning for another experience. Over the next three months, our interns will be hard at work in different areas of our business.

Since 2015, we’ve partnered with CareerTrackers – a national not-for-profit organisation that aims to create paid, multi-year internship opportunities for Indigenous university students in Australia.

This partnership is part of our 2019-21 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), in which we’ve committed to increasing our CareerTrackers intake to 20 per year for the next three years to help improve the participation of Indigenous Australians in the workforce and develop future talent.

We’re committed to continuously building a strong pipeline of diverse early career talent, and this program is a means to help Indigenous students find their career fit and gain work experience relevant to their degree – with the aim of developing them from interns into our graduate program or full-time employment once they complete their degrees.

We asked Kirstin Shaw, one of our past interns who is now a full-time employee, to share her experience on the CareerTrackers program at Telstra and her career journey since then.

Kirstin’s story

I’ve been at Telstra for almost 5 years now, and have loved every step along the way, from Customer Advisor to Intern, to Summer Vacation Student to Graduate, and then a permanent role! My career started before CareerTrackers came along – I applied for a casual role in a Telstra store, and the leads I worked with were always extremely supportive of my ambitions – this supportive culture led me to look at Telstra as a long term career choice.

I grew up in Mackay in North Queensland and began studying a double degree in Law & Accounting online at Central Queensland University while working part-time at a local tax firm. When I moved to Brisbane, I moved in with a friend whose brother worked for CareerTrackers and that’s how I found out about the program. They provided me the academic support and direction I was really lacking.

The community was like nothing I had ever experienced at home – it allowed me to learn a lot about myself and my culture and connect on a deeper level. Seeing others from backgrounds like mine succeed made me realise I could do a lot better than I was.

What area of the business did you rotate into, and what did you learn?

My first internship was in Service Delivery in Enterprise in 2016. I did 4 weeks in this team and this was enough to cement the fact that Telstra was the right fit for my early career.

I applied for the Summer Vacation program and accidentally ticked a box confirming I’d relocate to Melbourne instead of staying in Brisbane. I got a position which was in Melbourne – I had never been before, knew no one here, but was determined to make it work.

I spent those 12 weeks in a Small Business Sales team attending customer site visits, investigating customer non-payment causes and NPS. After this I was accepted to the Finance Grad program, which saw me permanently move to Melbourne – ticking that box in 2016 is the best mistake I’ve ever made! I completed three rotations in Commissions Finance, Group Compliance and Supply Chain Operations – each rotation was very different and allowed me to build different skills.

I’ve now rolled off the grad program into Group Internal Audit, which I’m loving – there are always new things to learn and different parts of the business to dive into. I’ve had fantastic support along the way from our people – namely, store leads, Grad leads and the Indigenous recruitment specialists who always supported me to follow my passions.

The highlight of CareerTrackers was earning my Gold Diary – an award for students who maintain a distinction average. Coming from a place where I didn’t know what a GPA was, this was a huge achievement for me and something I may not have been motivated to do without the community’s support.

What would you say to other Indigenous students who are looking at applying for the CareerTrackers program with Telstra?

Give it a go – what do you have to lose? It just may be the best decision you ever make. Being a part of CareerTrackers was a driving force for my success at university and into my early career. Get yourself a mentor and learn as much as possible.

Be strong about where you would like to see your career take you, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.