We work diligently to improve the energy efficiency of our networks. In our view, this is the most effective way to reduce our impact on the climate and environment. We also try to limit our use of scarce resources and continue to work on reducing the amount of waste produced throughout the Group. We also recycle the valuable materials found in waste such as copper and lead from scrap cables.
Deutsche Telekom uses a health, safety and environment system (HSE ). By using this system, we have made a commitment to constantly improve our performance in this area.
Our goal is also to increase our resource efficiency by reducing the amount of waste we produce and improving our recycling processes based on our Group-wide International Waste Management Framework. These guidelines do not, however, specify any quantitative requirements. Instead, our national companies use this framework as a basis for identifying their own measurable targets and then monitor target achievement. This approach makes it easier for us to flexibly deal with the conditions specific to each country and company.
The workplace is another focal point in improving our resource efficiency. We encourage our employees to use recycled paper and energy-efficient multifunction printers as well as to purchase environmentally friendly office supplies, etc.
Reducing waste and recycling
Our national companies are responsible for conducting their waste management system according to standard Group-wide principles. They develop a waste strategy in compliance with our International Framework for Waste Management, which was approved in 2013, or update their current strategy and identify appropriate targets. The reduction of hazardous waste has top priority.
We conducted an international survey on the status of these implementation processes during the reporting period. The survey showed that very different amounts of progress have been made in the planning and target identification processes at our national companies. Progress is particularly slow in defining clear, measurable waste management targets.
When selecting and introducing new technology, which we then use for many years, we make sure that the components of this technology can later be disposed of responsibly without any unnecessarily high costs. We are currently working on disposing of copper cables that for decades were a main component of phone lines and some of which are now being replaced within the scope of our fiber-optic expansion efforts throughout Germany.
Group-wide copper-cable recycling requirements
The survey we conducted with our national companies clearly showed that they need help in meeting our expectations regarding responsible waste management practices when it comes to recycling and disposing of waste cables. In response, our waste experts came up with a draft of copper-cable recycling requirements and submitted it to the national companies for approval. We plan to adopt a mandatory policy by the end of 2015.
8,000 metric tons of copper cable recycled
In 2014, Telekom removed more than 8,000 metric tons of copper cable from duct systems in Germany alone. The cable was processed in accordance with environmental standards at certified waste disposal facilities and up to 90 percent of the material was recycled.
Internal recycling program in Greece a success
In June 2013 we launched an internal program for recycling at our buildings. Phase A of the program gave us the following impressive results in 2014:
- Paper: 67.36 tons
- Plastic: 4.16 tons
- Aluminum: 0.2 metric tons
- Printer cartridges: 4,935 cartridges
Phase B of the project was launched in October 2014:
- Expansion to another four buildings
- Two training events for project managers
- Internal information campaign with high employee participation (78%)
- Phases A and B: 118 drop-off locations for recyclable material and 2,500 used paper containers
So far, the program has reached roughly 6,500 employees; another ten buildings in Greece will be included in the expansion of the program planned for 2015 (phase C).
Extinction continues to be a global problem. The consequences are difficult to predict. One major cause of extinction is the fact that more and more space is being taken up for industry, agriculture and transportation. In 2014, we conducted a study on the space used for our business activities in Germany in order to help us more effectively manage our activities to help protect biodiversity. We also included worldwide upstream value chains in our analysis. The results of the study confirmed our assumption that our use of space is not a major factor in the way we directly impact the environment. The effects of our business activities on biodiversity primarily involve the beginning of our supply chain in geographically distant locations. Our influence on how space is used in these regions and the consequences of that use is very limited. The study identified use of space along the entire supply chain at a total of 1,730 square kilometers per year. That is around twice the size of Berlin. 14 percent of this is space characterized by highly above-average biodiversity according to the criteria specified by the non-profit organization, Conservation International.
We have more influence on protecting and improving species-rich habitats near our offices than we do in areas where our supply chain starts. That is why we collaborate with competent partners on nature conservation efforts near us.
Renaturalization of species-rich habitats
In 2000 we entered into a collaboration with the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) environmental organization in Germany within the scope of which we have been sponsoring the Living Forests nature conservation fund for several years now. In 2014, for example, we sponsored construction of an educational trail through moorland built by the Gesellschaft für Naturschutz und Auenentwicklung e.V. (Society for nature conservation and meadow land development). This association works to renaturalize the Eschenkar wetlands in the Hessian Spessart region. The society's projects included creating a series of ponds in a spruce forest to create new habitats for endangered amphibians. Building the educational trail was the last phase of the project. Visitors can take the trail and learn about the importance of moorland biotopes while enjoying the outdoors.
Resource efficiency in the workplace
By modifying our procurement processes, we were able to increase the share of green office material in our total order volume from 27 percent to 35 percent in 2014. By the end of 2014, 40 percent of the articles available in our office supply catalog were in compliance with sustainability criteria as well. These criteria include paper bearing the Blue Angel environmental label. Our central order system, eBest, encourages employees to purchase green office supplies.
CR ratings: Environmental reporting – materiality
To our investors, the most important environmental topics at Telekom are greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency and waste. Extensive measures that reduce our impact on the environment and have a positive effect on our company have been introduced at the Group in all three of these areas.
We continually work on improving our energy efficiency. On the one hand, we reduce our energy requirements and operating expenses (OPEX) as well as the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our business activities. We also help our customers save with our products and services. Our model calculation for a company with 35,000 employees indicates the following: With Dynamic Workplace, a cloud-based solution for business customers, customers can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 16,000 metric tons per year and cut their costs by more than 15 million euros per year. One reason this solution is so effective is that Dynamic Workplace lets many employees work from home. That prevents them from generating CO2 emissions and cuts back on office space, which reduces heating and operating costs. Instead of using their own IT structure, companies can use our energy-efficient network and cloud services. Solutions like Dynamic Workplace significantly help our customers to save energy and thereby protect the climate.
Resource efficiency and responsible waste disposal are other key topics at Deutsche Telekom. By using resources more efficiently and sparingly, we can reduce our costs and improve our earnings performance over the long-term. To help us systematically take advantage of waste disposal savings potential and reduce the amount of waste we produce, we introduced a Group-wide framework for waste management and recycling in 2013. In 2014, we removed more than 8,000 metric tons of copper cable from duct systems in Germany alone. It was processed in accordance with environmental standards at certified waste disposal facilities and up to 90 percent of the material was recycled.