How we’re evolving our climate change commitments

We’ve taken big steps to reduce the impact our business has on the environment. But it’s time to do more: we’re ramping up our commitments to reflect the increasingly urgent challenge we’re facing when it comes to climate change.
Justine Rowe · 14 June 2024 · 7 minute read

Climate change is already impacting the way we all live and work. We’ve taken big steps to reduce our carbon footprint, in every aspect of our business – from how we use energy to how we package, sell and power our products. But as the world approaches the 1.5 degree warming threshold, it’s time to take more direct action to tackle climate change.


Long story short

If you've only got a minute, here's our news in a nutshell.

  • The biggest impact we can have on climate change – especially in the short- to medium-term – is to emit less carbon. That’s why we’re increasing our scope 1+2 carbon emission reduction target from 50% to 70% by 20301, and we’ll continue our focus on reducing scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030.
  • We’re increasing this target by re-prioritising our climate change investments to take more direct action, moving funds away from the purchase of carbon credits in favour of decarbonisation projects that will reduce our footprint overall.
  • This will also deliver additional cost savings over time as we reduce our energy bills.

What have we done so far?

In 2020, we committed to reducing our absolute emissions by 50% by 2030 from an FY19 baseline; committed to enabling 100% renewable energy generation equivalent to our consumption by 2025; and offsetting the emissions from our operations each year through the use of carbon credits.

We’ve made good progress so far.

Since FY19, we have:

  • achieved a 30% reduction in our scope 1+2 emissions (from our fuel and energy use);
  • reduced scope 3 emissions by 28% (from our suppliers, customers and other emissions sources);
  • supported new solar and wind farm projects which are worth more than $1.2 billion, to provide renewable energy into the grid. This means we are now contracted to enable renewable energy generation equivalent to 100 per cent of our consumption by 2025;
  • offset the emissions from our operations each year since 2020.

But there’s more to do.

How we’re going to take more direct action and why

In response to the urgent need for greater climate action we’re building on our existing climate program by increasing our emissions reduction targets.

What are scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions?

When companies talk about reducing their carbon emissions, they classify them in three ways, or “scopes”: scope 1, 2 and 3. Here’s what they mean.

Scope 1 emissions are the greenhouse gases released directly from things a company or organisation owns or controls, like using fuel for vehicles or power generators.

Scope 2 emissions are the greenhouse gases released indirectly from the electricity a company uses for things like heating and cooling. It's the emissions that come from the power plants that supply electricity into the grid.

Scope 3 emissions are the greenhouse gases released indirectly from activities related to the company but not directly controlled by them, such as when products are made by third-parties for us or used by a customer after we sell a product to them.

Why? As one of Australia’s largest electricity users, we believe we should prioritise activity to reduce our direct emissions from our network, which will in turn help contribute to Australia’s climate goals. We are aware of the increased public and industry interest in how corporates are using carbon credits in recent years, and that consumers are increasingly expecting organisations to take more direct and transparent climate action. That is why we believe redirecting our investments from purchasing carbon credits to taking more direct climate action here in Australia, will help consumers better understand how we are having more direct impact on climate change.

As mentioned above, these actions will see us reduce our absolute scope 1+2 emissions by 70% (up from 50%) by 2030 (from an FY19 baseline). We will continue our commitment to reduce our absolute scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2030 (from an FY19 baseline).

Until now, the use of carbon credits has formed one part of our climate change strategy and they have been used to counteract the emissions that remained after achieving emissions reduction. We sourced our credits both globally and domestically, from projects related to renewable energy development, First Nations savanna burning activities and restoring biodiversity, and we certified our carbon offsetting status via the Climate Active program. We are now looking to drive more investment in reducing the emissions of our operations rather than offsetting what remains.

This includes achieving further energy efficiency from our operations, decommissioning technology that isn’t as energy-efficient in favour of new equipment that is, and even sourcing electric vehicles for our field teams.

We’ll also explore more technology-related opportunities to reduce our carbon emissions. This includes:

  • Piloting green hydrogen cells;
  • Installing more solar and battery solutions; and
  • Using data analytics and AI to improve the efficiency of our network equipment.

You’ll see a few changes

Our decision to move away from offsetting via carbon credits in favour of direct investments to reduce our footprint means that you’ll see a few changes.

Firstly, we’ll no longer be seeking certification from Climate Active for our operations, products and for our other brands like Belong. We’ll also remove references that our plans are “carbon neutral” or “carbon offset”.

This of course doesn’t mean we’re moving away from taking action on climate change or that our products have a more harmful climate impact. With today’s news, our customers can be certain that we’re doing more within Australia to reduce the direct impact our operations have on the environment. And we’re continuing to support decarbonising Australia’s energy grid for a greener future.

We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Climate Active since achieving our carbon neutral status in 2020. With our purchases of carbon credits, we’ve invested in projects that have avoided or removed over 8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the equivalent of offsetting emissions from more than two million cars in a whole year.

Within Australia we have supported the development of a carbon farm in regional NSW where we trialled new and innovative technology applications like drone seeding, weed management and drone mapping. The carbon farm is expected to remove 150,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere through the planting of native trees which should also increase biodiversity in the region.



And we will continue to play a role in Australia’s transition to a renewable energy-dominated electricity grid, including by supporting investments in new solar and wind farms worth more than $1.2 billion. These investments now mean we are contracted to enable renewable energy equivalent to 100 per cent of its consumption by 2025. We are committed to continuing to evolve our sustainability commitments to ensure we remain at the forefront of action against climate change.

By sharing our commitments and experiences transparently, we hope to encourage collective accountability and action for a more sustainable future.

As Australia’s largest telco we have an important role to play in reducing our emissions and working with our suppliers and customers to accelerate action on climate change.

For more information on our climate progress, check out our Sustainability Hub on

Things you need to know

1. From 1 July 2024 Telstra Group will no longer be offsetting the emissions from our operations. We will continue to offset emissions associated with mobile phone plans and mobile broadband plans until 31 August 2024.

By Justine Rowe

Chief Sustainability Officer, Telstra

Justine Rowe is Telstra’s Chief Sustainability Officer.  As a transformational changemaker, Justine and her team are responsible for the delivery of policy advice, stakeholder management and community initiatives across regulatory, sustainability and regional affairs. 

Justine’s experience merges significant experience in legal and external relationship management. In her career at Telstra she has supported former CEO, Andy Penn as Chief of Staff, led the Strategic Policy and Transformation group in Sustainability, External Affairs and Legal, along with leading a global team of lawyers as Legal Executive and Business Partner for Telstra Enterprise. Justine is also proud to be on the board of the Telstra Foundation, Telstra’s purpose-led philanthropic arm. Prior to Telstra, Justine worked in-house in the electricity sector after starting her legal career in private practice. 

Born in Perth, Justine studied law at the University of Western Australia. She has a personal passion to inspire and develop diverse and engaged teams committed to positively impacting our planet, business goals and broader communities.