Telstra takes action on climate change and sets bold renewable targets

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is taking action on climate change and has announced bold renewable energy targets…

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Ideas to save the planet

This afternoon Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) became the latest blue chip company to act on climate change.

The telco giant has pledged to be carbon neutral from this year, enabling 100% renewable energy by 2025, and reducing absolute emissions 50% by 2030.

This follows announcements by BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) in 2019 and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) last month pledging to cut their carbon emissions materially.

In respect to Rio Tinto, it is spending US$1 billion on climate-related activities over the next five years in an effort to be carbon neutral by 2030.

What did Telstra announce?

Telstra is one of the largest consumers of power in the country. By powering networks to cover a continent in order for millions of Australians to stay connected, the company estimates that it uses around 5.9 petajoules of energy each year. Last year that resulted in nearly 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

And with the volume of data passing through its network expected to triple by 2025, these greenhouse gas emissions were only going to increase.

Telstra’s CEO Andy Penn said: “In a recent speech on responsible business I said climate change would be the defining challenge of the 2020s. I stand by that comment, conscious there will be other issues to challenge us.”

“Events including Australia’s Black Summer of bushfires have raised urgent questions in the community about what climate change means and, more importantly, what must be done. The science is clear. Climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is creating risks that impact our economy, our environment, our communities and each of us individually,” he added.

In light of this, Telstra has announced a significant acceleration in its response to reducing its impact on climate change.

It has three key goals:

  • To be carbon neutral in its operations from 2020.
  • To be renewable leaders by enabling renewable energy generation equivalent to 100% of its consumption by 2025.
  • And to reduce its absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2030.

Mr Penn acknowledged that the company doesn’t have all the answers yet, but it is determined to deliver on its targets.

The chief executive explained: “We recognise that we do not have all of the answers on how we will achieve this but our intent is clear, our ambition is set and we are committed to achieving it.”

“Our goals around climate change are ambitious but we are not starting from scratch. Telstra has already contracted significant renewable generation and, in doing so, has supported the construction of major renewable energy projects. Our sub-brand Belong also became Australia’s first carbon neutral telco last year,” he added.

Xero offsets its carbon emissions.

Elsewhere, this morning business and accounting software provider Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) revealed that it has offset 100% of its carbon emissions.

It has achieved this by investing in carbon certified environmental projects and conservation schemes across the globe. This has balanced out the carbon emissions produced by its operations and major suppliers for the FY 2019 financial year.

Pleasingly, this won’t be a one-off, with Xero committing to continue doing this in the future.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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