NBN Co has announced an emission reduction program Towards-Zero Carbon Ambition, membership of the global RE100 renewable energy initiative, and plans to purchase 100 per cent renewable electricity from December 2025. 

NBN Co’s emission reduction program is also part of its newly released second Sustainability Report. 

As part of the Towards-Zero Carbon Ambition, the company has an initial three-year roadmap, and is working towards:

  • Reducing its annual energy use by 25GWh by December 2025 
  • Purchasing 100 per cent renewable electricity from December 2025 
  • Using electric or hybrid vehicles, where suitably available, by 2030
  • Seeking to maintain more efficient use of energy as data demand

NBN Co has recently entered into a renewable power purchasing agreement that is intended to deliver almost 20 per cent renewable energy to the network by FY23. 

The company has plans to source 100 per cent of its power purchases from renewable energy sources through further power purchase agreements and contracts for renewables.

This work builds on initiatives already delivered including installing solar panels in NBN facilities, turning off inactive line cards (that send and receive data traffic) and installing LED lights in NBN CO’s technical facilities. 

Jon Dee, Australia Coordinator at RE100, said, “We’re delighted to welcome NBN Co as a member of RE100. NBN Co is the first Australian telecommunication company and the first government business enterprise to join RE100.

“It joins 110 other major companies in Australia that have joined RE100 and made the commitment to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity. 

“Between them, the Australian members of RE100 use over 5.5TW hours of electricity per year. That’s enough electricity to power 800,000 Australian homes. Having that electricity transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy will help in the creation of a cleaner, greener Australia.

“NBN Co is taking an important step towards the goal of exclusively buying clean, green, renewable energy.”

Mr Dee also said that it’s not just the direct impact of NBN Co’s renewable electricity commitment that’s important; it will also make a positive impact on the over 8.3 million homes and businesses that use the NBN™ network.

“For small businesses, this may be one of their first suppliers to make such a commitment. It sets a positive example that other companies can follow,” Mr Dee said.

The Company’s Sustainability Report also outlines the company’s continued focus on six material topics and notes its achievements in delivering social, economic and environmental benefits for its customers, communities and the country. 

These include: 

  • NBN Co has entered into an 80GWh per annum renewable energy power purchase agreement forecast to deliver around 19 per cent of power demand in FY23 
  • In FY20, a program was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a cumulative total of 91ktCO2-e over a three-year period, and result in a 15 per cent reduction in the FY23 forecast emissions
  • A $4.5 billion network investment plan to evolve the reach and capability of the NBN™ network to enhance digital inclusion across the country
  • Investing in network resilience, building fibre deeper into parts of the FTTN and FTTC footprints of the NBN™ network, and deploying Temporary Network Infrastructure, used to support emergency services and communities during extreme weather events 
  • With 33 per cent of management positions held by women, NBN Co outperforms the national average, and as at 30 June 2021, NBN Co had a gender pay gap of less than one per cent

NBN Co Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Rue, said, “Our purpose to lift the digital capability of Australia is all about making a positive difference. I’m proud to release our latest Sustainability Report, which outlines the ways we will continue improving the lives of Australians.

“As we continue to navigate this time of great change and challenge, the critical role of broadband connectivity in supporting the nation’s social and economic needs has never been more evident.  

“We want to create a more sustainable company through our commitment to digital inclusion and capability; empowering individuals, businesses and communities to stimulate economic productivity and growth; operating a trusted secure and reliable network, reducing emissions and addressing climate risks; fostering workplace diversity and inclusion and by being transparent and accountable. 

“And now, as we all move towards a low-carbon Australia, I’m delighted to announce our membership of RE100 and the launch of NBN Co’s new ‘Towards-Zero’ carbon ambition, along with the program that will get us there.”

Mr Rue said that beyond the direct impact of becoming an environmentally sustainable business, what’s equally exciting is the power of the network to help enable digitisation, and the benefits that unlocks for the nation in terms of emissions reductions and socio-economic benefits.

NBN Co Chief People & Culture Officer, Sally Kincaid, said, “Since releasing NBN’s first Sustainability Report in January of this year, we have made great progress in several key areas including our environmental impact, achievements in diversity and inclusion, as well as our work delivering better outcomes for First Peoples communities.  

“We know we have an important role to play supporting the social and economic wellbeing of communities right across Australia, and a responsibility to protect the environment in which we operate. 

“NBN promotes diversity, equity and inclusion among its people, in the workplace and in the wider community. Our purpose to lift digital capability means we are working hard to ensure the social and economic benefits enabled by fast broadband are accessible to everyone across our nation.

“We have released our fourth Reconciliation Action Plan which is the roadmap for how we will deepen our relationships with First Peoples communities. 

“We are increasing our efforts to connect more First Peoples communities and deliver customised products and education programs that help lift digital literacy.”

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