We see sustainable products as crucial in helping us distinguish ourselves in the ICT market. That is why we require our suppliers to comply with environmental and social requirements and monitor this compliance. We also keep our customers informed about environmental aspects, manufacturing conditions, safe, low-energy and demand-based usage, and resource-conserving disposal options at the end of the product life cycle. We rely on renowned environmental labels for this purpose.
Blue Angel for Deutsche Telekom products
95 percent of Telekom Deutschland's fixed-network devices are certified with the renowned Blue Angel environmental label. All of our Sinus series DECT phones have been awarded the independent environmental label since 2013. We were awarded the Blue Angel award within the context of the German Sustainability Award in November 2015 for our involvement and our role as pioneers and communicators of climate protection.
Our Speedphone series received the Blue Angel certification during the reporting period. The new IP telephones are particularly energy-efficient, low-radiation and come with replaceable batteries. A new feature lets users configure the transmission power individually and thereby save energy. Updates can directly be transferred to the Speedphone, making the devices easy to update, extending their useful lives and reducing their carbon footprint.
TUEV Certified Green Products
In addition to the Blue Angel we are increasingly focusing on the TUEV Certified Green Product environmental label. This label exceeds the Blue Angel criteria in ways such as requiring inspections of working conditions at production sites. Some of our products have already been certified, for example, the Speedphone 10 and the W 724V router.
Cloud computing is often more resource- and energy-efficient than operating ICT processes outside of the cloud. Customers no longer need their own servers and storage media. Thanks to more effective capacity utilization, our data centers require less hardware, which means less energy consumption. Compared to a customer running their own infrastructure, this solution reduces energy consumption by up to 80 percent. We are also constantly improving the efficiency of our data centers.
Before making the switch to the cloud we make a cloud maturity check to analyze our business customers' business and IT processes. Our assessment is based on the maturity method published by the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA). This helps our customers come up with the best cloud strategy for their business. We offer the T-Systems integration platform, Data Orchestration as a Service to make the integration of cloud services as smooth and easy as possible. The service enables a seamless interplay between information in the cloud and traditional on-site systems at customer offices, giving our customers faster access to new, optimized cloud services.
Sustainable solutions from the cloud
- With our Cloud Integration Center product (formerly: Enterprise Marketplace) we have been offering standardized cloud solutions tailored to large enterprises since 2014. Companies can access cloud services based on demand from our Cloud Integration Center. Their applications, servers, and other infrastructure are operated at our data centers. Customers can also access applications from external software manufacturers (Shared Software as a Service – Shared SaaS) at our Cloud Integration Center including a sustainability management software that T-Systems began selling in collaboration with the WeSustain software firm in November 2013.
- T-Systems also offers the doculife® product, which companies can use to fully transfer their document management processes to the cloud. Not only does the solution reduce energy consumption, it can also be used to significantly reduce paper consumption thanks to digitization.
- Deutsche Telekom supports companies that develop their own cloud services by offering cloud infrastructure solutions (Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS). Existing hardware is replaced by cloud services, reducing companies' energy consumption. We also offer development platforms (Platform as a Service – PaaS) like AppAgile. Along with a technical development environment for IT developers, we also make industry-specific business applications available from the cloud.
By using our products, our customers can help conserve resources and reduce electronic waste and CO2 emissions. In this context we are focusing on two models: rental services for routers and media receivers and used cell-phone collection programs.
We want to make sure that old routers and media receivers do not just end up in the trash. That is why we promote the "Don't buy, rent" approach. Introducing a twelve-month minimum contract term for routers and media receivers helps to extend the average usage time and reduces returns during the minimum lease period. When a contract is canceled, the customer returns the devices and the devices are then either reused or professionally recycled. We also introduced a return portal to simplify the return process, which cuts back on paper receipts and also allows customers to process their returns via the online return portal as needed.
We actively and effectively promote the rental service in many ways including at Telekom Shops, online, via customer service and in product flyers. The offer has met with great customer response. The number of people using our rental service had increased to some 8.2 million by the end of 2015.
In 2014 we conducted a study on harmful materials in cell phones in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration. The study identified materials that, although harmful to the environment, are currently not prohibited. We defined Deutsche Telekom's own list of prohibited materials over and above those covered by legal standards in order to send out a clear signal for a reduction in the industrial usage of substances that are problematic for the environment. In the meantime we have discussed this topic with suppliers and have already found broad consistency with the respective material blacklists at some of our suppliers. Deutsche Telekom will continue to engage in constructive dialog to find ways to avoid these materials.
Too many used cell phones and smartphones are stuck in drawers or disposed of illegally with the household waste. Germany's recycling and reuse rate for small electronic appliances is much too low. Which is why used cell phones, smartphones and tablets need to either be repaired and reused or recycled properly. We have been offering different ways for people to hand in their devices since 2003.
Customers have been able to return their used, high-end cell phones and smartphones to Telekom Shops under a buyback program since 2013. They then receive a voucher equivalent to the monetary value of their devices that they can use to make purchases at a Telekom Shop. In 2014 we introduced the online collection portal Handysammelcenter in cooperation with Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). Companies can use the portal to properly and safely dispose of their used cell phones and smartphones free of charge and receive a certificate as confirmation. Devices in good condition are generally reused. Public authorities, associations and other organizations can use the portal to initiate their own collection campaigns. The entire collection process has been certified by DEKRA. Any profit generated in this way is donated to nature conservation and environmental protection projects run by DUH.
During the reporting period we collaborated with DUH to support the cell-phone collection campaign run by the churches of the state of Baden-Württemberg. The goal is to collect 100,000 used phones. The campaign is scheduled to run for two years and end in May 2017. The members of the German Bundestag also continue to support our cell-phone collection efforts. Just like in 2014, they collected used cell phones at their offices and from their constituencies in 2015. They ended up collecting 2,500 used phones, more than twice as many as the year before.
The collection campaign at schools in the state of Saarland, in which we have been participating since the 2014/2015 school year, was extended due to the great response. The campaign is under the patronage of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister President of Saarland, and includes special course offers on cell-phone collection and resource efficiency. The campaign is now open to associations and communities in addition to educational institutions. The collection campaign has been honored as a “WerkstattN-project” from the German Council for Sustainable Development and therefore belongs to one of the 100 most innovative sustainability projects in Germany.
In 2015, we collected 230,751 used cell phones and smartphones throughout Germany and either reused them or had them properly recycled. The whole process is DEKRA certified and fulfills high data protection requirements. The joint cell-phone collection system run by Telekom Deutschland and DUH entered its twelfth year in 2015. More than 2 million used cell phones have been collected so far.
To read our statement on the MagentaMobil Happy petition, click here.
T-Mobile USA’s device recycling program mobilizes customers to help reduce environmental and human health impacts from improper recycling. The company is also increasing access to quality reusable and refurbished equipment for those who need them, while conserving our limited natural resources.
Any wireless consumer can bring any make, model or carrier phone, battery, accessory, tablet or netbook into any T-Mobile USA location to be recycled for free. Through the JUMP! and Mobilize programs, T-Mobile USA incentivizes its customers to trade in their used devices and accessories for great deals on the latest technology. Those trade-ins are all reused, refurbished or recycled.
T-Mobile USA launched the recycling program for its customers in 2008, resulting in over 9.5 million devices being reused or resold since then. 86 percent of the devices that are taken back are reused or resold, with the rest being responsibly recycled by providers selected on the basis of their leading industry environmental certification1. Since 2013, T-Mobile has sold over 1.4 million cell phones refurbished to its high standards directly to its customers through the Certified Pre-Owned program.
In 2015, T-Mobile USA collected 4,029,970 used cell phones.
Deutsche Telekom makes it easier for people with disabilities to have access to the knowledge and information society. Not only do we offer subsidized rates to people from low-income households, we also offer them to people with hearing and vision impairments. Our company also supports them with products and solutions especially designed to meet their needs.
Products and services for the hearing impaired
We set up a hotline (Deaf Hotline) for deaf and hearing-impaired customers in 2003, which offers customers immediate IT assistance, among other services. Customers can send an e-mail, fax message or letter, or use their video phone to communicate with our specially trained employees for any requests they may have. The employee either answers the question directly or lets the person know how to contact them via video telephony or webcam to talk about the issue. Up to 50 people currently call the hotline every day to get help with problems involving their DSL routers or find out more about special cell-phone rate plans, for example.
We have been conducting a campaign entitled "Accessible sales and service for the hearing impaired" since 2013. Special sales channels for people with hearing impairments are set up as part of the campaign. Deutsche Telekom began featuring special offers in 2014 for our deaf and hearing-impaired customers on a website tailored to their needs, for example. We also provide detailed information on these offers in video messages filmed in sign language. The website also features Deutsche Telekom support videos with subtitles providing information on our rate plans and products. In November 2015 we added new mobile rate plans to our portfolio, customized to fit the communication needs of the hearing-impaired.
Tablets for the blind
Online communication can pose a challenge for people who are blind or visually impaired. We support the Green Vision project, which develops special tablets for these user groups. What is special about the Green Vision tablets is its haptic, interactive interface that provides content in Braille. The tablets literally make mobile online content tangible. In line with the project's name, Green Vision, production of the prototype is also intended to conserve natural resources.
First network provider in Germany to offer smartphone for seniors
Since October 2014, we have been offering a smartphone especially developed for seniors – the Liberto 820. We are currently the only German network operator to offer this type of device. With its simple user interface, even inexperienced cell-phone users have no problem using all the functions of a high-performance Android device. Users are taken through the device step by step and shown how to use it. The device can even be set up and administered remotely via an online device manager. The Liberto 820 is compatible with hearing aids and has an emergency button and two simple menu versions, making it especially suitable for seniors.
At its 7th Sustainability Day in September 2014, Magyar Telekom launched the hello holnap! mobile phone app as part of its hello holnap! sustainability initiative. Since then it has been downloaded 7,500 times from AppleStore, GooglePlay and Windows Store. The app enables users to earn points for performing tasks supporting sustainable development that are organized by the operator and its partners. The points can then be redeemed in Forints and spent on donations. The app’s game partners include 30km.hu, Oszkar teleauto, the ShoppingBag shoppers' community, Heroes of Responsible Dining, Autistic Art, as well as supporters such as Budapest Bike Mafia, the Suhanj! Foundation, the Autonomia Foundation, the Heti Betevő Foundation, the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society, and the National Society of Conservationists. The tasks users can earn points for include:
- Donations to organizations through achievements
- Partnership with sharing economy companies to collect points (e.g. carpooling or food from local farmers)
- Donation partnerships with NGOs
Points can also be earned by buying a sustainability-related mobile phone from the Magyar Telekom portfolio. Magyar Telekom defines a sustainability-related phone as one that either has an international certificate (e.g. TCO) or an environmental sustainability declaration or social attributes (e.g. for elderly people or the disabled).
In March 2015 Telekom Romania and Smart Sun Solutions “planted” the first digital tree in Romania in Timisoara. This Strawberry Tree, the world’s first solar energy-based public mobile-device charger offering Wi-Fi connectivity, is very suitable for “planting” in parks, open-air restaurants or commercial areas. The internet connection is based on 3G or 4G technology, depending on the coverage, and has a reach of approx. 10 meters. The system’s rechargeable batteries store the energy and can run for up to 14 days. The Strawberry Tree allows simultaneous charging of up to 16 devices and has an annual capacity of up to 840,000 10-minute charges. It is not only a very innovative concept but also an environmental-friendly one with an eco-design and a neutral carbon footprint, while offering a friendly, convenient and inspiring service in crowded public places.
Since early 2016 T-Mobile Austria has been offering new and current customers the opportunity to choose a sustainable way of life when it comes to their smartphones. The company is one of the first mobile network providers in the world to combine a mobile contract with the Fairphone 2, the first sustainable, socially responsible smartphone. T-Mobile Austria actively supports the Dutch company Fairphone in their efforts to raise awareness of fair electronics and promote responsibility in the industry.
Fairphone focuses on four main challenges: to make mining at the beginning of the value chain, design, production and the product life cycle more sustainable and transparent. In order to achieve this goal the company cooperates with initiatives for the extraction of tin and tantalum from conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also created the first pilot supply chain for fair-trade gold in smartphones and promotes longevity through the modular product design of the Fairphone 2. In order to facilitate long-term use of the product, spare parts for the Fairphone 2 can be ordered via T-Mobile Austria.
Together with a specialist partner Migam, Poland’s market leader in new technologies for deaf-mutes, T-Mobile Poland launched the project “We Connect Everyone Everywhere”, aiming to use state-of-the-art technology to align the educational and vocational opportunities of people suffering from hearing loss. Among other activities, the company turns its points of sale into disability-friendly outlets, translates selected contents of T-Mobile Poland’s website into sign language and trains employees to provide a good service to deaf customers. In 2015 the company conducted a dialog with a society of hearing-impaired Poles to better address their specific needs. Since June, customers with a relevant medical certificate are also eligible for the “MIG JUMP!” offer, a big data package that allows internet communication tools, apps and video calls to be freely used.
In October, T-Mobile Czech Republic put a new service into all its 158 branded and partner shops. This free service offers remote simultaneous speech transcription, allowing deaf and hearing-impaired persons to conveniently view a shop assistant’s answers on a tablet display. The service organized by Transkript online, a charity, in cooperation with the Czech Union of the Deaf (CUD) works quite simply: the shop assistant lends the tablet with this online app to the hearing-impaired customer and then connects him or her to the transcriber. What the shop assistant says is transferred to the transcriber’s headphones and within moments appears as written text on the tablet display. An additional benefit is that this service generates work for visually impaired people who have the ability to focus intensively on speech and thus utilize their disability as a professional advantage in this e-transcription service.
Slovak Telekom is also very active in developing comprehensive programs and activities to support hearing-impaired people and families with hearing-impaired children in mastering their everyday lives. In September the Pontis Foundation received support from the Endowment Fund Telekom in launching a free online interpreter service that enables deaf people to better communicate at offices or doctors by contacting an interpreter via a mobile phone or tablet. To support hearing parents of hearing-impaired children properly stimulate and develop their children, Slovak Telekom has prepared a relevant TV spot and print campaign. In addition, parents and children are supported through a mobile teacher program that helps children to hear and then speak. The company also launched a community portal where parents with hearing-impaired children can exchange and find important information.
T-Mobile cares about the safety of its customers and their families, and it wants to involve as many people as possible in its assistance scheme. For this reason, as the first mobile operator in Poland, T-Mobile Polska entered into a long-term collaboration with the National Police Headquarters as part of the Child Alert system in January 2016.
As the first operator in Poland, T-Mobile enables customers to receive information about a child who has gone missing. In practice, if there are circumstances indicating that a child has gone missing or has been kidnapped, T-Mobile will send its customers a special MMS (Child Alert), which is a message prepared by the police containing basic details of the event and the child involved. Such an MMS will only be sent after announcing the search in the Child Alert system.
This free project will not only help to locate missing children, it also promotes the idea of “Technology for good”, an educational campaign on how the technology can help and provide safety for customers. It complies with T-Mobile’s corporate social responsibility strategy and the culture of helping the company has built up.