Telekom Malaysia Berhad is dedicated to advancing its sustainability initiatives by leveraging technology across the economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) spheres.
In its transformation toward becoming a human-centered TechCo, TM has seamlessly integrated sustainability as a core component of their operations, primarily supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #9, to enable industry development, innovation and digital infrastructure; and Goal #17, fostering partnerships towards the achievement of the SDG goals.
The Group places significant emphasis on four key pillars: (1) building a Digital Malaysia, (2) protecting the planet, (3) putting people first and (4) strengthening integrity within the organisation. These pillars underpin a diverse array of endeavours, encompassing energy efficiency initiatives, capacity development for suppliers, continuous re-skilling and up-skilling of its employees and communities, while upholding high governance standards.
In an exclusive conversation with BusinessToday, TM’s Senior Director and Group Head of Sustainability Dr. Sumitra Nair shared the group’s aspirations towards low carbon growth, in alignment with its sustainability obligations. TM as a digital tech provider and enabler, plays a pivotal role in facilitating Malaysia’s transition towards a low-carbon future and is poised to champion future-focused initiatives rooted in sustainability principles, with profound implications for businesses.
TM’s journey towards low carbon growth encompasses a multifaceted approach, commencing with the enhancement of its internal energy efficiency, while seeking to increase the percentage of renewable energy sources into the Group’s energy mix. Over and above this, TM One, its subsidiary, collaborates closely with businesses and government sector clients to provide digital solutions promote the development of smarter and more sustainable cities.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
Environmental well-being is an essential component of achieving sustainable societies and economies. One of TM’s main environmental priorities is addressing climate change, which poses significant risks to its stakeholders and society at large. This includes extreme social challenges such as physical health effects, food, water and livelihood security, forced displacement and other risks.
From a business perspective, climate change also poses substantial socio-economic risks to the communications sector. These include physical risks such as damages to network infrastructure, disruptions to operations and supply chains and employee health and safety.
There are also other emerging risks related to the global transition towards a low-carbon economy, such as carbon cap and pricing, along with growing investor expectations. As a company that is committed to sustainable and inclusive growth, TM is taking progressive actions, aligning with the global climate agenda while addressing the digitalisation needs of our Malaysia.
Commenting on this, Dr. Sumitra Nair, TM’s Senior Director and Group Head of Sustainability (pic) said: “TM addresses climate change by addressing our own carbon emissions via energy efficiency, transition to renewable energy (RE), as well as working with our ecosystem to offer carbon-efficient digital solutions. Our carbon emissions based on TM’s existing boundaries of GHG calculations, reduced by 12.45% compared to our 2019 baseline. In addition, to help our data centre customers to address their own carbon reduction targets, we have focused on enhancing the energy efficiency and RE mix in our data centres.
“All levels within TM play an active role in reducing carbon emissions, from the Board which provides strategic direction on sustainability matters, to the leadership team which drives energy efficiencies across the group, to the continuous support of all employees in ideating and implementing programmes to achieve our goals.”
TM published its Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report 2 years ahead of Bursa Malaysia’s December 2025 target requirement for public listed companies. Through this 2022 report, TM is taking a proactive approach in understanding, assessing, and managing climate-related risks and opportunities, which will enable TM to strengthen its risk management practices, drive innovation, and ensure the long-term sustainability of its business operations.
TM hasput in place initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, which include:
- Network Element Optimisation: Network modernisation, focused on optimising the efficiency of TM’s existing network systems. These includes shutting down underutilised network elements and migrating them to more utilised networks. The impact of the move has resulted in a reduction of over 9.5 million kwh of electricity.
- Energy efficiency initiatives: Includes environmental optimisation, lighting optimisation and power factor correction. This has resulted in multiple energy savings in the company. For example, by replacing over 500 conventional air conditioning units to energy saving inverter units, TM has reduced its energy consumption by 1.3 million kwh.
- Subscription to renewable energy (RE): In 2022, TM began subscription of 27 million kwh of RE, which were used to largely power 3 of its core data centres. In 2023, they have been able to add 25 million kwh of RE to the group’s energy mix, bringing the total RE subscription to 52 million kwh. With this additional capacity, TM is powering 3 data centres and 4 nodes with the RE mix. In addition, we are also focusing on improving our Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratio in our data centres to improve energy efficiency.
Asked on Malaysia’s National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) 2023, TM said it welcomes the NETR and is fully onboard with the direction and objectives set in the roadmap. TM is currently conducting a pilot programme for the use of electric vehicles in line with the government’s direction towards sustainable solutions.
They also believe that collaboration is key and that everyone has a role to play in achieving the objectives set forth. Creating a sustainable ecosystem will drive accelerate the transformation and to this end, TM has begun engagements within its value chain and is keen on working closely with these sections to mutually benefit from its energy transition journey.
On aspects that lay in the path of Energy Transition and reducing carbon footprint, TM cited that one of the main challenges is the fact that Malaysia is still in a development phase of growth. As such, there is a growing demand for connectivity especially as the country moves towards digitalising its industries and society, in order to improve the productivity of critical sectors such as agriculture, as well as improving access to essential services such as education and healthcare. This growth is necessary for Malaysia’s socio-economic well-being.
Therefore, achieving the nation’s low carbon ambition in line with our developmental needs will require concerted efforts from public, private sectors to ensure that the right policies, incentives, and technologies are in place to ensure a just transition which balances Malaysia’s climate ambitions with the socio-economic needs of her people.