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

Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Management

"Our business revolves around people"

Timotheus Höttges, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bonn, Germany
Timotheus Höttges, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bonn, Germany

With this publication, you are specifically asking people to engage in dialog about Deutsche Telekom's corporate responsibility. Why?

Sharing thoughts and feelings with others is what people do – and our core business, digital communication, revolves around people. Digitization will change our society. We should talk about it so that we share responsibility for how we work, live and treat the environment. This publication gives people a reason to start.

Machine-to-machine communication, M2M, gives companies growth perspectives. But how does it impact people and the environment?

M2M gives companies tremendous optimization potential while helping to conserve resources at the same time. M2M makes work processes more efficient, enhances peoples' lives and protects the environment. We help everyone at the Port of Hamburg, for example, from logistics companies and port operations managers to truckers, get the freight to its destination faster, more direct and with a smaller carbon footprint.

What needs to happen to keep Europe's industry a technological world leader?

Availability and network speed need to be the main focal points. In 2015 the number of high-speed broadband connections we provide in Germany grew in the double-digit range. We rely on connectivity combined with responsibility in these activities. More data shouldn't mean higher energy consumption and CO2 emissions, which is why the energy efficiency of our networks and data centers is so important.

More data traffic means higher security risk. What do you do to keep people's personal information safe?

Deutsche Telekom stands for the highest data privacy standards worldwide. We offer our customers particularly secure data centers, emphasize end-to-end encryption and make sure that data travels from the sender to the recipient using the shortest route possible, preventing detours into other jurisdictions. 

What does digitization mean to our society when it comes to jobs and social security systems?

Initially, a lot of good. Digitization means new jobs that are more meaningful and involve less manual labor because it creates more flexibility. Many jobs, for example, can be done from anywhere on earth. But in the medium to long-term we could see increasingly intelligent machines and robots taking over more jobs than are being created. Human labor will also play a lesser role when it comes to productivity. If that happens, we will need to think about our social systems. We shouldn't think of tools that today seem useless as automatically unviable in the future, e.g., the concept behind having a universal basic income.

You work resolutely to push digitization. What are your main areas of focus?

We invested more than four billion euros in 2015 in areas such as high-speed fiber optics and state-of-the-art transmission technology, and we are switching our fixed network over to IP img technology with the goal of creating a pan-European network by 2020. In the area of mobile communications, we were a leader in the LTE img (4G) breakthrough throughout Europe and are currently working on 5G technology with transmission rates of 10 Gbit/s.

Not everyone is excited about the digital revolution. How does Deutsche Telekom address people's concerns?

Digitization affects all areas of our life including the question of to what extent machines will take over tasks currently being done by people. It's normal to have concerns. We can address many of these concerns by providing sound information and demonstrating that everything revolves around people, even when it comes to smart machines. 

What does corporate responsibility mean to you personally in terms of digitization?

A very important point is looking at the possible consequences of digitization . We need to find answers when it comes to opportunities and risks. And, in the end, this development needs to be a positive one for society as well as for our own business interests. However, we can only achieve digital responsibility by working together in society. And Deutsche Telekom does much more than just take on responsibility for digitization. We also work to protect human and employee rights in the supply chain as well as the climate and environment and engage in responsible corporate governance practices. With this in mind, I would once again like to underline our commitment to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact img and the German Sustainability Code.

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