ESG Q&A with Chorus
What is the visibility in achieving your emissions reduction goal(s) and can you provide us with concrete examples of how you plan to get there?
Chorus has set an ambitious emissions target to reduce 80% of scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030, from a 2012 base year.
In December 2021, Chorus, along with New Zealand fibre companies Enable, Tuatahi First Fibre and Northpower released a report from Sapere Research Group into the emissions profile of the various broadband technologies. The report showed that New Zealand’s fibre emissions are consistently low, even with considerably faster internet speeds. The emissions profile for an entry level fibre plan of 50 Mbps is up to 41% more efficient than copper VDSL and up to 56% more efficient than 4G fixed wireless. At 300 Mbps a fibre plan is 77% more efficient than 5G fixed wireless.
As we migrate more customers from copper to fibre, we expect to reduce our electricity consumption between 30-40%. Building optimisation and the removal of legacy equipment across our network will see a further reduction in our electricity consumption.
In the last four years, we’ve reduced our network electricity usage by 10,000MwH (12%). Our electricity consumption has reduced by 5% compared to last year, despite monthly average data usage on the Chorus network rising by 23% (352GB monthly average in June 2020 compared to 432GB monthly average in June 2021).
New Zealand’s national electricity grid is already at around 80% renewable and we use solar and wind power on 117 remote network sites where mains power isn’t available. We continue to look at ways we could introduce solar energy into our network. We’re also steadily reducing the number of cars in our fleet as our fibre rollout comes to an end.
What is the most important component of the “Social” part of ESG to you and how do you plan to enforce or strengthen it?
We're committed to working with others to strengthen the digital capability in New Zealand and combat digital inequality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated digital adoption, but it has also highlighted the digital divide and the challenges for those who don’t have the access or skills to thrive in a digital world.
As part of our pandemic response, we’ve worked with the Ministry of Education to help 12,000 student homes get online by providing subsidized broadband connections since April 2020. We’re also active members of the Digital Boost Alliance and Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa, who focus on community led action to combat digital inequity.
Over the last year we’ve given $250,000 to support organizations focused on digital capability and inclusion, such as Age Concern’s courses for seniors. Our people are now trialing using their volunteer day to help run sessions with seniors on getting the most out of being online.
As part of our ongoing rollout of the fiber network to smaller communities we run “Shine the Light” community events to educate local residents on broadband options, how to connect to fiber and other sources of digital skills support. We also created a YouTube series called “Challenge Accepted” to overcome the challenges of using online technology.
We promote fair pay in our remuneration and pay strategy. We have a target of achieving a 0% gender career level pay gap by 2022.
We use a career level remuneration system that has a total of nine career levels. Across seven of the nine career levels the average career level gap is 3.1% or less. The two remaining and highest career levels have an average pay gap of 9.1%. The population in those two career levels is small and therefore any shift in gender balance has a big impact.
A comprehensive review of gender pay equity forms part of our annual remuneration review process at both a team, function, and all of Chorus level. As a part of this process, our People and Culture team proactively identifies pay differentials in like for like roles and works with our people leaders to ensure we don’t have a gender pay gap.
In 2020, when most listed companies were not providing pay increases (because of the initial impacts of the global pandemic), Chorus allocated $500,000 as a part of an enterprise gender pay gap review across our career level framework.
We’re proud to have received three awards in the YWCA Equal Pay Awards in 2019 (Leadership, Progressive and Supreme Awards).