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NBN Co sets out to achieve net-zero by 2050

Australia’s national broadband network operator plans to tap renewable energy and roll out energy-efficient fibre as part of its longer-term target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Australia’s national broadband network operator, NBN Co, has set long-term targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

In the near-term, the company hopes to reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 95% by its 2030 financial year. For NBN Co, Scope 1 and 2 emissions refer to those generated from the consumption of fuel in nbn’s fleet and backup diesel generators, and the purchase of electricity from the power grid to power the nbn network.

It also aims to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from the use of sold products by 60% per device by 2030, and wants 80% of its suppliers of goods as well as transportation and distribution services to have science-based targets by 2027.

NBN Co said these targets have been validated by the United Nations-based Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a global effort to promote best practices in reducing carbon emissions and provide technical assistance to companies who set science-based targets in line with the latest climate science, among other goals.

The company has also developed a climate transition plan to roll out more energy-efficient fibre, funding green projects, tapping renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power for its facilities, and integrating electric or hybrid vehicles into its fleet.

On the customer side, it is looking to roll out energy-efficient features on nbn devices used in customer premises, along with measures to improve awareness of power outages and network impacts due to loss of mains power.

NBN Co said it is on track to enable up to 10 million premises, or around 90% of premises on its fixed line network, to access the nbn Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tier, which can achieve peak wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps by the end of 2025.

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From December 2023, the company is also targeting 100% renewable electricity purchases as a member of the RE100, a global renewable electricity initiative comprising 400 of the world’s largest businesses. NBN Co was the first Australian telecoms company and first Australian government business enterprise to join RE100.

NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue said: “As the operator of Australia’s digital backbone, NBN Co is taking action to address and help mitigate the risks of climate change.

“The nbn network underpins our nation’s way of life, enabling opportunities to access online learning and healthcare, to build careers and businesses, to work remotely, buy and sell goods and services online, and connect to friends and family.

“Climate change mitigation and adaptation are key priorities as we strive to operate a climate-resilient and resource-efficient network,” he said. “By embedding sustainability in all our activities, we aim to deliver on our purpose to lift the digital capability of Australia, while also enabling long-term social, economic and environmental value for customers, communities, partners and the nation.”

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