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

Human rights

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Here is a selection of material topics from the 2015 CR-Report. More information can be found in the chapters Strategy & managementEmployees and Suppliers.

Deutsche Telekom has made an express commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights published by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011. These principles require businesses to systematically identify the impact their operations have on human rights, and to prevent, mitigate or compensate these where necessary. In order to meet these requirements, we have developed an extensive program to implement the UN Guiding Principles and introduced an ongoing process comprised of several interconnected measures and tools (see diagram).

Human rights due diligence at Deutsche Telekom

The obligation to respect human rights is incorporated into Deutsche Telekom's fundamental policies: our Guiding Principles, Code of Conduct  and Social Charter . Deutsche Telekom's Employee Relations Policy and Diversity Policy are also relevant here.

Tools to assess possible impact on human rights
We use two tools to assess compliance with our Social Charter img: Every year we draw up a central Social Performance Report with the participation of all 111 fully consolidated Deutsche Telekom subsidiaries. This report did not record any violations of our Social Charter during the period from October 2014 to September 2015. We have also been offering a central Contact Point for Human Rights since 2013. This contact point can be reached via various channels, for example the public e-mail address humanrights@telekom.de. Others use our anonymous whistleblower system, which allows them to submit their information anonymously. All contact options are listed on our Tell me! whistleblower portal, the purpose of which is to resolve violations of legal regulations and internal policies. We look into all tips and reports received and introduce countermeasures as soon as the information is identified as plausible. Click here for more information on the measures we took to resolve violations reported in 2015.

We also continued the process launched in 2013 to integrate human rights issues into the due diligence activities conducted in the context of mergers and acquisitions. In addition, we introduced special evaluation processes to assess employer-employee relations as part of implementing our Group Policy on Employee Relations.

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Since the set-up of a dedicated Contact Point for Human Rights at Deutsche Telekom in October 2013, the Contact Point is also involved in inquiries that are related to human rights. In the reporting period (01/01/2015 31/12/2015), the Contact Point received eleven inquiries related to human rights which were directly sent to the contact point email inbox or the (anonymous) whistleblower portal.. Not all inquiries were identified as being plausible.

Most inquiries were related to issues of freedom of expression and discrimination In three cases Telekom has been asked to participate in surveys about “Business and Human Rights” and “ILO img Core Labour Standards”. Two inquiries addressed the refugee aid, specially the establishment of HotSpots img in refugee accommodations. One case was related to the “implementation of minimum wages”. All inquiries received are of course handled confidentially and with all due respect.

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As a responsible employer, we maintain trusting relationships with our employees throughout the Group as well as with trade unions and employee representatives and engage in extensive dialog with them. This involves the works councils, the Central Works Councils, the Group Works Council, the Group representatives for the disabled and the Executive Staff Representation Committee within the Group in Germany, and the European Works Council at a European level. We maintain constructive relationships based on mutual trust with all of these employee representative bodies.

Fair pay and benefits
We give our employees fair pay in line with the standard wages typical to the relevant country's employment market and guarantee equal pay for work performed by men and women without discrimination. We pay Deutsche Telekom managers in compliance with our Group-wide “Global Compensation Guideline”. We also offer our employees additional benefits such as our company pension scheme. We assess the effectiveness of our pay and benefits elements by conducting various measures such as employee interviews.

Flexible working models
Having the chance to structure one's work according to one's own needs considerably improves work-life balance and helps prevent stress and the feeling of being overworked. That is why Deutsche Telekom expressly encourages flexible working models. Our flexible working models range from flexitime and part-time work to lifetime work accounts. We introduced lifetime work accounts for all of our employees in 2016, for example. This gives our employees the opportunity to finance a temporary release from work of longer than one month, which may be used for early retirement, a sabbatical or to support a period of part-time work. Before that, lifetime work accounts were only available to executives. Deutsche Telekom's working models comply with current collective agreements for employees, the Federal Civil Service Act and internal regulations. 

Socially responsible staff restructuring
Our Group transformation activities, which will help us stay competitive in the future, were a central topic these past years and will continue to be in years to come. These activities include complex staff restructuring measures. Deutsche Telekom is committed to socially responsible staff restructuring with the extensive support of our employees. These measures are based on our “integrated planning and management process”, which the Group Board of Management annually reviews and approves. We document the progress of our socially responsible staff restructuring activities in our monthly Group reports.

Employee satisfaction and participation
We pursue open dialog and productive exchange with our employees. The Telekom Social Network (TSN) is an important tool in these efforts. All of our employees can post topics of their choice there and open them for discussion. Our managers also regularly use TSN as a platform for direct dialog. Another central aspect in our Group-wide feedback culture is our employee survey. We supplement this survey with regular pulse surveys, which give us a snapshot of the mood in the Group twice a year. Our Group-wide ideas management activities are another key tool in encouraging employee contributions to the success of the company.

Our employees have been showing an ever-increasing interest in getting involved in both our Group-wide employee survey and our ideas management initiative. 78 percent of our employees participated in the 2015 Group-wide employee survey (without T-Mobile USA). This is the highest participation rate we have seen so far, and employee satisfaction was higher than in previous years as well. In terms of ideas management, twelve ideas were submitted for every 100 employees, the highest participation rate ever recorded We also offer our employees different ways to get involved, e.g., in the form of corporate volunteering projects.

Our Guiding Principles and Employee Relations Policy form the basis for the employee relations standards that are employed throughout the Group.

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Our aim is to promote and benefit from the diversity of our employees as a source of creativity and innovation. We offer our employees numerous opportunities to grow professionally and personally at our company, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, health or ethnic or cultural background. A central point here is increasing the number of women in expert and managerial positions. We want to be the first DAX-30 company to have 30 percent women in middle and senior management positions worldwide. To this end, we launched the Fair Share initiative.

As early as during the hiring process we emphasize diversity and consider options other than just traditional educational routes. One good example is our entry-level qualification program for young people who are disadvantaged in terms of their social and educational background and our part-time apprenticeships/degree programs for single parents.

We support an effective work-life balance with extensive offerings to allow our employees to work at their best. This includes daycare offers and assistance with caregiving, offers which exceed the legal requirements. A good example is the right for part-time employees to return to full working hours. All employees can return to their full weekly hours whenever they want. In 2016 we also introduced lifetime work accounts, which can be used by our employees to take limited time off, for example.

We offer multiplier and mentor programs to establish managers as role models and ambassadors who encourage diversity. Since 2015, we have been promoting awareness of diversity within the Group with our unconscious bias campaign. It includes workshops and other offers aimed at reducing prejudice. Many of our employees have become actively involved in addressing various aspects of diversity, for example as members of internal networks such as “queerbeet”, a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual employees, or of the numerous women's networks that have been established within the Group.

Deutsche Telekom's Diversity Policy, die Guiding Principles and Employee Relations Policy and the Social Charter are the cornerstones of these measures. We are also a founding member of the Diversity Charter association.

We regularly review the effectiveness of our measures to promote diversity and publish the results in our Fair Share and Work-Life reports. More than 25 percent of our managerial positions are currently held by women. The number of managers working part-time and the number of fathers taking advantage of parental leave continues to grow as well. The number of disabled employees working in Germany puts us well over the statutory quota of 5 percent.

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Depending on the development phase of the supplier relationship, we use different tools to make our supply chain more sustainable. A ten-percent sustainability-weighting factor has been included in all bids for proposals since 2014. This creates strong incentives for suppliers to offer more sustainable products and services in the bidding process.

We also use a four-level approach to minimize risks and encourage our suppliers to improve their practices. The funnel chart illustrates the process. Via our supply chain management system we initially ask all potential suppliers with an annual order volume of more than 100,000 euros about 16 sustainability-related aspects (phase 1). These 16 aspects relate to human rights and corruption as well as environmental protection and occupational health and safety.

Risk minimization and supplier development

As the business relationship proceeds, we ask strategically relevant and high-risk suppliers to enter extensive information about their practices in the E-TASC img (Electronics Tool for Accountable Supply Chains powered by EcoVadis) information system. Experts evaluate these statements on the basis of additional background information and targeted research. We take things a step further in our relationships to some suppliers that exhibit a higher CR risk and conduct on-site social audits (phase 2). In doing so, we focus not only on direct suppliers of Deutsche Telekom but also on downstream suppliers as far as possible.

We also boost the effectiveness of our audits by collaborating with a current nine other companies in the Joint Audit Cooperation (JAC). Thanks to the increasing number of JAC members, we are able to conduct a higher number of audits on joint suppliers.

We use the information provided and audit results to classify and evaluate suppliers, especially those that offer several material groups, according to CR criteria (phase 3). This is done using supplier scorecards, which let us assess a supplier's sustainability performance and compare them with other suppliers at a glance. The evaluation is also based on press information and reports from non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We also collaborate closely with selected suppliers to address acute issues and improve their sustainability performance in the long term. Our supplier development program is particularly effective here (phase 4). In cases of significant disregard of our requirements, we initiate an escalation process to effect fast resolution in accordance with the Deutsche Telekom sustainability standards. The results of the supplier evaluations and the measures taken to solve the problems are recorded centrally.

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