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NBN Co commits to achieving net-zero emissions

15 June 2023

NBN Co has committed to long-term greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction targets and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, or sooner, via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

This follows nbn setting near-term science-based emissions reduction targets, which have now been validated by the SBTi, and are as follows:

  • Reducing absolute Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions by 95 per cent by FY2030 compared to FY2021 as the base year. Scope 1 and 2 are the emissions generated from the consumption of fuel in nbn’s fleet and back-up diesel generators, and the purchase of electricity from the grid to power the nbn® network.
  • Reducing Scope 3 GHG emissions from use of sold products by 60 per cent per device by FY2030 compared to FY2021 as the base year.
  • Committing that 80 per cent of suppliers by spend, covering purchased goods and services, capital goods and downstream transportation and distribution, will have science-based targets by FY2027.

The company’s science-based targets support the Australian Government’s target of a 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.

To enable strategic planning, implementation and engagement on climate mitigation and adaptation, nbn is developing a climate transition plan which is designed to address key areas including:

  • network – improving the nbn network’s resilience to the impacts of climate change; rolling out more energy-efficient fibre to enable long-term reductions in network power demand; funding eligible green projects and eligible social projects that deliver environmental and social outcomes through the issuance of green social and sustainability bonds; and the installation of on-site renewables, such as solar panels and piloting wind turbines on the company’s facilities.
  • customer – energy-efficient features are being applied and explored to nbn devices used in customer premises; measures have been introduced to improve awareness of power outages and network impacts due to loss of mains power; and improvements are being made to customer notifications of planned and unplanned outages.
  • communities and partners – deployment of temporary network infrastructure to enable connectivity for emergency services and members of the community who have been physically impacted by the relevant crisis; and nbn people working on the ground to create better partnerships and deliver initiatives to help lift the digital capability of regional areas.

nbn is committed to operating a climate-resilient, resource-efficient network and business aligned with the latest climate science. The company expects to submit its long-term emissions reduction targets to the SBTi for validation in the near future.

The company’s network investment plan is taking energy-efficient fibre deeper into communities to meet the growing digital demands of Australia’s homes and businesses.

Fibre is inherently more capable than other nbn fixed line technologies of delivering faster2 upload and download speeds and is generally more reliable than nbn fixed line connections containing copper.

The company is on track to enable up to 10 million premises, or around 90 per cent of premises on the Fixed Line network, to access the nbn Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tier, which is capable of achieving peak wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps1, by the end of 2025.

Connecting more customers to fibre not only reduces nbn’s energy demand it also makes the network more resilient and reliable, with improved customer experience. Fibre to the Premises is nbn’s fastest and most reliable residential connection on the nbn network2 and we expect there will be less maintenance.

This is part of nbn’s commitment to implement projects that reduce annual energy use by 25 GWh by December 2025.3

The company’s target of 100 per cent renewable electricity purchases from December 20253 is underpinned by membership of the RE100, a global renewable electricity initiative comprising 400 of the world’s largest businesses. NBN Co was the first Australian telecommunications company and first Australian Government Business Enterprise to join RE100.

nbn is also committed to using electric or hybrid vehicles, where suitably available, by 20303 and working with suppliers to understand how these vehicles can be integrated into nbn’s fleet.

Stephen Rue, Chief Executive Officer at NBN Co, 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.

“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.”


Notes to editors

1 Regardless of the retail service you purchase, the actual wholesale speeds delivered by nbn’s highest wholesale speed tiers of 500 to close to 1000 Mbps will be less than 1Gbps due to equipment and network limitations and the peak information rate may fall anywhere in this range. In addition, the HFC Home Ultrafast bandwidth profile downstream service provided to retail providers is a ranged profile with a maximum sustained information rate of 750Mbps. Reference to speeds are not end user speeds; they are wholesale layer 2 peak information rate bandwidth provided to retail providers. A customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn network, depends on some factors outside nbn’s control (like equipment quality, software, and how the customer’s retail service provider designs its network) and the nbn technology used for the customer’s connection.

2 Customer experience on nbn [Fibre to the Premises/full fibre], including speed, depends on your internet provider, equipment quality and if you use the internet at peak times.

3 NBN Co Corporate Plan 2023. P35.

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