Australian telecom giant announces transition to renewable energy

Australia’s second largest telecommunications company, Optus, announced on Friday its plan to rely solely on renewable energy by the end of 2025, making it the last major phone network in the nation to do so.

Alongside the pledge, the company announced a new program for users called Optus Eco, which would help customers reduce their environmental footprint.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said that the company would provide options for customers to recycle their phones and would be phasing out physical SIM cards.

“Climate change is top of mind for Optus, like it is for many of our customers. So, Optus is leading the industry by empowering customers to help offset their carbon footprint by choosing Australian carbon offset projects,” she said.

Research from international environmental protection organisation, Greenpeace, showed that telecommunications companies were some of Australia’s largest energy users.

Its report estimated that Optus uses 539 gigawatt hours of electricity each year — the equivalent to 85,000 homes or nearly all the homes in Hobart, capital of the Aussie island state of Tasmania.

Representative from Greenpeace Australia Pacific Lindsay Soutar said the announcement indicates that Australia’s electricity-use heavy telecommunications sector is back on the renewable energy track.

“Now Optus is dialling in to clean power. All major Australian telcos will be powered by the wind and sun by 2025. The telco sector is now streaming to the front in Australia’s renewable race,” Soutar said.

Australia’s private sector has led the charge in the transition to renewable energy, from supermarket giants to retail and hardware stores, green schemes have proved to be good business.

Soutar said that over 40 major companies have already committed to transitioning to renewable electricity by 2025, representing almost 12 percent of industrial energy use in the nation.