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Natural capital

Telkom is committed to minimising its carbon footprint by proactively addressing the environmental impacts.

Telkom ’s environmental impact categorises us as a medium-to-low-risk organisation. However, advancing communication technology is likely to increase our energy demands. We are progressively improving how we measure and manage our carbon emissions, energy consumption, water use, waste and impact on biodiversity.

Accountability, management, compliance and regulations

Our approach to environmental management is based on international best practice, legal compliance and maintaining our environmental and social licence to operate. It is guided by our environmental and climate change policy statements, which are available at www.telkom.co.za/ir/Sustainability/Sustainability.html

As a medium-to-low-risk organisation, our carbon tax liability is relatively low. We have actively followed developments on the impending carbon tax legislation. Telkom is proud to support better disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Group carbon footprint         Total scope 1     Total scope 2    
Unit of measurement         tCO2    tCO2   
Telkom (Pty) Ltd  FY2018     52 638     543 291    
FY2017     54 366     596 677    
Variance %     (2)    (9)   
BCX  FY2018     265     25 103    
FY2017     588     28 483    
Variance %     (55)    (12)   
Yellow Pages  FY2018     62     292    
FY2017        287    
Variance %     675       
Telkom  FY2018     52 965     568 686    
FY2017     54 962     625 448    
Variance %     (4)    (9)   

Note: Scope 1 includes refrigerant gases, diesel from fl eet vehicles and diesel procured. Scope 2 includes electricity.

1 BCX data excludes all BCX international operations as well as other South African operations such as CEB, USC, Accsys and Intergr8.


Contributing factors to the scope 2 emissions reduction, but not limited to:

  • Lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors. Manual switches are placed in each cellular office and meeting room to allow occupants to control the level of electrical lighting.
  • The building management system monitors and controls heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and records energy and water consumption with a built-in mechanism to detect wastage in these systems.
  • Hot water is generated through heat pumps.
  • The glass is selected to maximise the use of natural light, reducing the need for artificial light and as a result, the energy demand for lighting, while ensuring reduced heat gain from direct sunlight.
  • Blinds are provided on all facades on each floor. Users have the opportunity to manually operate each set of blinds in every office. Blinds reduce heat and glare ingress into the building thereby reducing the load on air conditioning and preventing occupant discomfort.

Water consumption

Telkom is not categorised as a water-intensive business, as we use water for low impact activities such as cooling, drinking, catering, landscaping and hygiene. Telkom ’s water consumption data covers owned buildings.

At the Telkom Corporate centre, we use the Eco product under the lawns to save water. It maintains its ability to absorb and release water over a period of several years. A test was done after 40 days without irrigation. The sandy soil contained one litre of water, whereas, the soil treated with Stockosorb, a man-made water absorbing polymer that is designed to improve the capacity of soil to retain water and plant nutrients, contained one litre of water after 80 days. The soil moisture potential is kept for a longer period of time (twice as long) at a higher level, and therefore the irrigation frequency can be reduced by up to 50 percent.

Total water consumption for Telkom company, BCX1 and Yellow Pages

Total water consumption for Telkom company, BCX1 and Yellow Pages
Total water consumption for Telkom company, BCX1 and Yellow Pages

1 BCX data excludes all BCX international operations as well as other South African operations such as CEB, USC, Accsys and Intergr8.

Telkom ’s water consumption, which covers owned buildings, decreased by 40 percent year on year mainly attributable to repaired water leaks and buildings that were decommissioned. We have measures in place to avoid water leaks. We will also implement water flow logging at our top 100 water-consuming sites, commencing in Cape Town, due to the water challenges experienced during the year. In addition, water-efficient sanitary fixtures have been installed within the buildings. New installed water flow restrictors saved approximately 20 percent of the normal flow rate.

Climate change

Climate change risks are complex, as they include operational risks such as business continuity, employee health and safety, environmental aspects, regulatory aspects and community needs. To protect our business, the environment, and our communities, we need to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts.

Drought in the Western Cape

The World Economic Forum has identified a global water crisis as the top risk facing humanity for the next decade. South Africa is facing an overwhelming water crisis, with the Western Cape being the worst hit and declared a disaster zone by the government.

Telkom has partnered with multi-disciplinary water-saving strategy forums in Cape Town. Our group-wide water crisis management steering committee and multi-business unit work streams are developing and implementing strategies to curb excessive water consumption, and ensure we are adequately prepared for any possible outcome of the water crisis.

Ongoing strategic monitoring and targeting of water consumption

  • Metering and data management strategy
  • Introduced water pressure flow adjustments
  • Effected water usage reductions in the air conditioning systems
  • Awareness and behavioural change initiatives
  • Tracking water and environmental regulatory frameworks to ensure compliance and risk mitigation

Our employees remain our priority, and all initiatives to mitigate the water scarcity are in accordance with legislation and health and safety standards.

Waste management

By responsibly disposing of waste, we can significantly minimise our impact on the environment. Telkom promotes recycling and resource efficiency. Based on our operations our most significant and environmentally impactful waste streams, internally and within the value chain, are cabling (copper and fibre optic) and e-waste. All e-waste is auctioned to various approved e-waste recycling companies based on their ability and expertise to responsibly dispose of these materials in line with legislation and best practice.

Waste stream FY2018
Copper 2 207   2 035  
Optic fibre 434   398  
Batteries 239   502  
E-waste 70   202  
Total 2 950   3 137  

Sindawonye Green Projects, a social upliftment project, disposes of our e-waste and cabling. They process cabling using environmentally and socially responsible techniques – they do not chemically destroy or burn waste. Fibre-optic cable is recycled through the Thembani Eagle Hout Integrated Project. This labour-intensive project employs members of a rural Eastern Cape community.

Our aim is to reduce waste sent to landfill by identifying waste streams that can be reused and recycled. Initiatives under development include the installation of division recycle bins. This will provide for separation of wet waste from domestic waste and pre-sorting for recycling purposes.

Telkom has recycling facilities and a “no bin at desk” policy. The group as a whole uses paper-saving copiers with printing time limits to prevent excessive printing.

Our garden waste is used in compost and resold to garden product manufacturers.


Telkom is aware that our network can impact biodiversity, and we instil duty to care in the people responsible for our existing network and new infrastructure roll-outs. We comply with the National Environmental Management Act, the National Biodiversity Act, the National Water Act and other relevant environmental legislation and regulations.

Energy usage

During FY2018 our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity included the following:

Telkom Park   Telkom continues to invest in renewable and sustainable forms of natural resources management. We have fitted lights with energy-efficient motion sensors at the PV solar car park that automatically switches on when there is motion at night. Our 3 MW grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) plant has generated over 3,75 MW since inception in July 2016.

At Corporate centre, we offer employees and visitors an electric vehicle charging facility with six charge points for all types of electric vehicles. The facility promotes good sustainability practices and enhances the group brand as a socially and environmentally responsible entity.
BCX offices   BCX moved to a more environmentally responsible office in July 2017. The building design has been rated 4 star by the Green Building Council certified by the Green Building Council South Africa.

Looking forward

Our focus area for FY2018 was to refine our sustainability strategy to include more of our subsidiaries. However this has not been fully realised. It has become apparent that business units have varying degrees of understanding around data-gathering metrics. Therefore, we shifted our focus to developing a sustainability reporting guideline document, which we distributed to the business units. As an implementation resource document, this guideline will ensure consistent data gathering. Knowledge of the guideline will be required when capturing data on the Hyperion Financial Management system. Use of this tool allows the group to move beyond compliance, thereby embedding sustainability and future-looking value creation in the business.