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

Risk and opportunity management

For us, comprehensive risk and opportunities management also means considering the opportunities and risks arising from ecological or social aspects or from the management of our Company. To this end, we actively and systematically involve all relevant stakeholders in the process of identifying current and potential risks and opportunities. We also participate in a number of working groups and committees. In parallel to continuously monitoring ecological, social and governance issues, we also systematically determine our stakeholders’ positions on these issues. The key tools here are: our year-round open online materiality survey for all stakeholders , our bi-monthly NGO report, which systematically analyzes press publications of the NGOs relevant for us; our involvement in working groups and committees, countless national and international business associations and social organizations, stakeholder dialog formats organized by us, and our various publications. The following aspects have been identified as material for our sustainability management.

How we deal with sustainability issues also entails both opportunities and risks for our reputation. A high level of service quality is one of the most important factors for improving customer perception. This is why customer satisfaction has been embedded in our Group management as a non-financial performance indicator. Transparency and reporting help to promote the trust of other external stakeholders in our Group. Our annual and CR reports also serve this purpose. However, issues such as business practices, data protection, or work standards in the supply chain also entail reputational risks: If there are negative media reports in connection with our brands, products, or services, this can cause substantial damage to our reputation. As part of our sustainability management, we continuously review such potential risks and take measures to minimize them.

At present, we do not see any severe risks to the achievement of our climate protection targets for our reference period .We see climate protection above all as an opportunity: ICT img products and services have the potential to save almost ten times as many carbon emissions in other industries as the ICT industry causes itself (SMARTer2030 study). This creates an opportunity to reduce 20 percent of global carbon emissions by 2030, and to maintain worldwide emissions at the level of 2015 with simultaneous economic growth. The additional revenue potential here amounts to USD 6.5 trillion, USD 2.0 trillion thereof for the ICT industry alone. Furthermore, the ICT industry can save costs totaling USD 4.9 trillion. Specifically, this means for Germany, for example, that potential savings of more than 19 million metric tons of CO2 could be made by 2020 based on the 2012 level, for example, through broadband in Germany. In addition, the economic stimulus resulting from the broadband roll-out could create an estimated 162,000 new jobs. Additional opportunities arise, for example, from changed customer expectations, political measures to ensure the transition to renewable energy sources, and the growing interests of sustainable investors (SRI img) in the subject of renewable energy. Environmentally-friendly products and services enable us to tap into new customer groups.

We see more sustainability in our supply chain as an opportunity. It helps to enhance our reputation and our economic success. Thus through a development program, we help strategic suppliers to introduce business practices that are socially and ecologically acceptable and economically efficient. The program showed measurable successes again in its second year; we will expand it further in 2016. Better working conditions at our suppliers reduce the number of work-related accidents and the turnover rate. This increases productivity, while at the same time lowering costs for recruitment and training. Thus not only do we strengthen CR performance at our suppliers, we also significantly reduce identified risks. As part of our global procurement activities, we can be exposed to country- and supplier-specific risks. These include, for example, the use of child labor, the conscious acceptance of environmental damage or inadequate local working and safety conditions. However, the reporting of NGOs or media can give rise to risks to the Company’s reputation, but also to supply risks. We systematically review our suppliers and in that way reduce these risks. In the renowned RobecoSAM img sustainability rating, our supply chain management in the reporting year was rated just as highly as in the prior year with 93 out of 100 points. Our partnerships with suppliers that comply with international sustainability standards ensure a high level of product quality and reliable procurement.

Mobile communications, or the electromagnetic fields used in mobile communications, regularly give rise to concerns among the general population about potential health risks. There is intense public, political, and scientific debate of this issue. Acceptance problems among the general public concern both mobile communications networks and the use of mobile handsets. In mobile communications, this affects projects like the build-out of the mobile communications infrastructure and the use of mobile handsets. In the fixed network, it affects sales of traditional DECT img (digital cordless) phones and devices that use Wi-Fi technology. There is a risk of regulatory interventions, such as reduced EMF img thresholds or the implementation of precautionary measures in mobile communications, e. g., amendments to building law or labeling requirements for handsets.

Over the past few years, recognized expert organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP img) have repeatedly reviewed the current limit values for mobile communications and confirmed that – if these values are complied with – the use of mobile technology is safe based on current scientific knowledge. ICNIRP regularly reviews the recommendations for the limit values based on current scientific knowledge.

We are convinced that mobile communications technology is safe if specific threshold values are complied with. We are supported in this conviction by the assessment of the recognized bodies. The basis of our responsible dealing with this issue is our EMF Policy, with which we commit ourselves to more transparency, information, participation, and financial support of independent mobile communications research, far beyond that which is stipulated by legal requirements. We aim to overcome uncertainty among the general public by pursuing an objective, scientifically well-founded, and transparent information policy. Thus, we remain committed to maintaining our trust-based, successful communication with local authorities over and above the statutory requirements. This also applies after many years of collaboration with municipalities with regard to building out the mobile network were enshrined in law in 2013; previously, this collaboration was based on voluntary self-commitments by the network operators.

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