• Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.
  • 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report
2015 Corporate Responsibility Report

Resource efficiency and environmental protection

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 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 used cables.


  • Improving resource efficiency


  • Health, safety and environmental management system
  • International waste management framework


  • Waste volumes
  • Used Cell-Phone Collection ESG KPI
  • Use of space

With our health, safety and environmental management system (HSE img) we have made a commitment to continually improving our performance in these areas. The system is based on international standards OHSAS 18001 img on occupational health and safety and ISO 14001 on environmental management.

Our aim is to improve resource efficiency throughout the Group by steadily reducing the amount of waste produced and improving our recycling processes. We also support cell-phone collection campaigns in order to regain valuable resources. For this purpose, we have introduced the Used Cell-Phone Collection ESG KPI img, which compares the number of cell phones in circulation to the number of collected devices.

We regularly collect Group-wide data on the amount of waste we produce. Our International Waste Management Framework guarantees standardized guidelines for all Deutsche Telekom companies. Our national companies are required to use this framework as a basis for identifying their own measurable targets and then monitor target achievement. This approach makes it possible to flexibly address the specific requirements of each country and company without working with quantitative objectives.

Resource efficiency is a priority for Deutsche Telekom at workplaces, too. We use recycled paper and energy-efficient multifunctional printers and encourage employees to use green office supplies. In order to reduce the amount of paper used throughout the Group, Deutsche Telekom asks its employees to have their salary statements sent to their "De-Mail" account instead of having a printout sent by post. Around 20 percent of employees have already canceled delivery by post. We launched the Click Green campaign in early 2016 in order to motivate even more employees to make the switch. With the project, Deutsche Telekom sponsors a reforestation project at the Westwald in Darmstadt. 

Our national companies are responsible for implementing our waste management strategy according to standardized Group-wide principles. Based on our International Waste Management Framework, which was approved in 2013, they develop a waste strategy or update their current strategy and identify appropriate targets: The reduction of hazardous waste has top priority. An international status survey on the implementation process is currently being planned. The idea is to get a central overview of the current status of strategy development and target definition.

Requirements for Group-wide copper cable recycling
Our activities are currently focused on disposing of the copper wires that have been the main component of telephone lines for decades. These are being replaced over the course of our fiber-optic roll-out. The national companies still need support when it comes to meeting our standards for responsible waste management in terms of recycling and disposing of old copper 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. As a result, a guideline that is mandatory throughout the Group was introduced in January 2016.

Our entire network will be migrated to IP img technology by 2018. Over the next few years we will be dismantling tons of used electronics. We intend to recover precious metals such as gold and tantalum from the resulting electronic scrap.

The tantalum used to manufacture condensers is extracted from coltan. Coltan is considered to be a conflict resource, which is why recycling is important when it comes to enabling conflict-free manufacturing of condensers.

In 2013 we launched a project in collaboration with bifa environmental institute in order to develop the optimal method for dismantling and recycling tantalum condensers. We had to dismantle the condensers manually during the pilot phase since chemical and thermal processes are not suitable.

In 2015 we studied other ways to efficiently dismantle tantalum condensers.  In an effort to integrate the latest research on different methods of tantalum recycling in the process, Deutsche Telekom cooperated with Deutsche Umwelthilfe to organize an expert discussion with representatives from a number of research and recycling institutions.  We will choose the best recycling process available and then put it into operation in 2016.

The take-back recycling program for batteries, ink cartridges and phones was launched in June 2013 with the aim of enhancing recycling activities in the COSMOTE-GERMANOS retail network, as well as strengthening society’s environmental awareness. In 2015, the program was implemented in more than 460 retail outlets and about 50 t of batteries, ink cartridges and phone devices were collected. Around World Environment Day a two-week promotional campaign in the COSMOTE–GERMANOS retail network allowed customers who recycled their old mobile devices to enjoy a discount of up to €20 on a new smartphone or tablet.

For each metric ton of phone devices collected during the period from June 2014 to December 2015 (15t in all) the sum of €1,000 was donated to two environmental NGOs (Callisto & Philodassiki Enossi Athinon) that organize educational programs for schools with a particular focus on forest and wild life protection.

In 2015 T-Systems Iberia set up an Environmental Management Program that includes the following activities:

ISO 14001 certification extended to Cerdanyola site
Now that the T-Systems Iberia headquarters in Barcelona and Madrid are ISO 14001 certified, the aim was to also have the new data center in Cerdanyola certified. To this end, a gap analysis was conducted, an activity plan based on legal requirements and other aspects created, communication and training activities implemented, and an internal audit conducted. After the ISO 14001 requirements were fulfilled in the data center at the Cerdanyola site, DEKRA was commissioned to conduct an external audit. The results of this audit were positive so that the company’s ISO 14001 certification will also include this site.  

Paper consumption reduced at Cerdanyola site
A reduction of paper consumption, especially at the Cerdanyola site, was already identified as a significant aspect in the materiality analysis conducted in 2014. For this reason and as part of the ISO 14001 certification, T-Systems Iberia set the target of reducing its paper consumption by 5 percent at this site by the end of 2015. In order to achieve this goal several campaigns were implemented to raise awareness for a responsible use of paper among employees. In addition, the company set up a procedure to control paper consumption (Paper Warehouse Custody). All that resulted in an overwhelming 30 percent reduction in paper consumption.

Cutting energy consumption
In order to reduce CO2 emissions caused by primary energy consumption from fossil fuels, the T-Systems Iberia site in Barcelona (22@) was connected to a new district heating/cooling provider (Districlima) in October 2015.  Districlima generates energy from waste energy sources (urban or alternative solid waste) using very energy-efficient technologies.  As a result, the conventional equipment, such as chillers and boilers, to produce heat or cooling inside the building is no longer needed. Consequently, the amount of electricity consumed in October and November fell by 14 percent. The total consumption of energy at this site was reduced by 3 percent in 2015.

In 2015, Deutsche Telekom removed more than 5,800 metric tons of copper cable from duct systems in Germany alone. The cable is processed in accordance with environmental standards at certified waste disposal facilities and up to 90 percent of the material are recycled.

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 size of the space used for our business activities in Germany in order to effectively steer our efforts to help protect biodiversity. We also included worldwide upstream value chains in our analysis. The study's findings confirmed our view that the amount of space we use has relatively little impact on the environment. Our business activities primarily impact biodiversity at the start of our value chain in regions located far away where we have very limited influence. Despite this fact, we are working to increase our influence through measures such as our supply chain management. The study identified use of space along the entire value 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.

Our influence on maintaining and improving habitats with high biodiversity is greater in areas close to our facilities. That is why we collaborate with competent partners on nature conservation efforts near us.

Renaturalizing habitats with high biodiversity
We have been supporting nature conservation projects initiated by the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) organization since 2000 with the proceeds from our used cell-phone collection activities. In 2015 we donated to the organization's Living Rhine project, which uses exemplary measures to show how more space for natural river landscapes can be created along one of Europe's busiest inland waterways. The Living Forests nature conservation fund is another DUH project that we have been supporting for several years now. Click on the following link for a selection of the projects we sponsor: www.handysfuerdieumwelt.de.

We were able to maintain the percentage of green office material ordered at our offices in 2015 at 35 percent of total order volume. Because we streamlined our portfolio in line with cost optimization targets, the percentage of items meeting particularly strict sustainability criteria came to 22 percent. These criteria include paper bearing the Blue Angel environmental label.

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