Resource efficiency at the workplace

We also contribute to resource efficiency at the workplace: We try to use as many green office supplies as possible. In 2021, 50 percent of all of our catalogue-based office supplies in Germany were sustainable. We also took the following measures in Germany:

  • Our “IT Remarketing” project: Used IT hardware is refurbished so that it can be reused.
  • Our partner, the charitable organization “AfB gemeinnützige GmbH,” which offers jobs for people with limitations, receives some of our used IT hardware (e.g., laptops) for reconditioning and reselling.
  • In our catalogue of office supplies, over 50 percent of products are classified as sustainable, meaning they have been awarded a label recommended by the German Environment Agency (UBA). The labels in question include the EU Ecolabel, the Fairtrade seal, the Organic Farming seal, the Blue Angel eco-label, and the FSC® and PEFC environmental labels. For the most part, deliveries of office supplies have carbon neutral certification.
  • The goal of our “Paperless Office” project is to increase the number of e-books and e-papers used in our company to save even more paper.
  • Since 2018, we have worked with a paper wholesaler to purchase only environmentally certified paper that has been awarded the “Blue Angel” or the “Nordic Swan” certificate.
  • To reduce the amount of paper used throughout the Group, we ask our employees to opt out of having salary statements sent by post, and we provide them online instead.
  • On our “You and Me UNITED” social network, we also offer our employees a platform where they can exchange used office supplies instead of ordering new supplies.
  • To meet the requirements of the Minamata Convention img and curb mercury emissions, we are working to modernize the media technology used in our company. We are now replacing devices that still contain mercury with new mercury-free devices. The old devices are professionally recycled or disposed of.
  • Where possible, we are opting for projectors with state-of-the-art lasers or laser-LED hybrids that work without any conventional lamps and have low power consumption.

Less food waste in cafeterias
Since 2020, we have been offering our employees discounted items in the cafeterias after 4 p.m., at two locations in Germany. Employees can purchase items that would otherwise have to be thrown away, such as baked goods, salads and muesli, at half price. In 2021, a large proportion of our employees worked from their home offices, which is why the offer was only taken up sporadically. For the spring of 2022, we expect our employees to use the offer of discounted items more frequently again.

In addition, our employees have had the option, since 2021, of getting their midday meal as a takeaway lunch in reusable-bowl containers (“REBOWL”) that have a 5 euro deposit. The containers can be returned to any REBOWL partner. Our employees have responded well to this offer: More than 8 000 of the reusable-bowl containers are in circulation. 

In addition, in 2018 we joined forces with Sodexo, the company running our cafeterias in Germany, to pilot the RECUP returnable cup. Since 2019, the RECUP system has been introduced at many Deutsche Telekom sites. More than 41 100 RECUP returnable cups have been purchased since the pilot. As a sustainable alternative, one reusable RECUP can replace around 500 disposable cups and can then simply be recycled. In return for a deposit of 1 euro, our employees get their coffee or tea in a reusable RECUP. This can be returned to any participating partner, where the deposit is returned and the cup washed and reused.

Resource efficiency in the network and IT infrastructure

We are currently carrying out projects in this area in various Board of Management departments. The common goal: We want to achieve our climate protection targets, implement the circularity requirement, and introduce a holistic “total cost of ownership” (TCO img) approach for our network and IT infrastructure.

Promotion of resource efficiency in the national companies
Apart from the centrally controlled projects in this area, the national companies are implementing additional measures to promote circularity and resource efficiency in the network and IT infrastructure. In the United States, efficiency in data centers is being improved through cold aisle containment. Hungary is promoting the use of renewable energies: For a donation, employees sponsor solar modules that supply electricity to a training building. In return, employees receive various benefits, such as an extra day of vacation. Other examples include PC recycling at Magenta Telekom in Austria and the refurbishment of mobile masts in Romania.

More-sustainable Deutsche Telekom buildings

We want to make our buildings in Germany as sustainable as possible. To that end, we are implementing various measures to reduce their CO2 emissions, improve their energy balance, optimize waste separation, and facilitate longer use of their furniture.

Reducing vacancy is one of the most effective ways to increase sustainability, since lower vacancy levels can lead to significant CO2 and energy savings. We are currently examining our future office-space requirements, and developing plans that will enable us to use our office space in the best possible way. In the process, we are testing new, more-flexible space/office concepts. The overall aim is to optimize space utilization in our buildings. Also, we are reducing our unused office space – for example, by subletting it. Such efforts are enabling us to prevent vacancies and save energy.

Energy efficiency
In order to minimize the energy requirements of our buildings in Germany, we are carrying out a range of measures, including the following:

  • To identify anomalies in energy consumption, we use specific indicators such as “kilowatt hours per square meter” to compare similar facilities. In addition, we analyze the course of energy consumption (load profile) of individual buildings. On the basis of the findings from such analysis, we initiate measures to prevent peak loads and optimize energy use, with the aim of reducing total energy requirements.
  • We use communication measures to raise awareness of energy consumption among our employees and motivate them to be energy-conscious at the workplace.
  • We pay attention to energy efficiency during construction and renovation work on a building’s exterior.

The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Power & Air Solutions (PASM img) procures energy for the Deutsche Telekom Group companies in Germany. Its energy management system is certified as per the ISO 50001 international standard. In addition, our office buildings undergo an energy audit pursuant to the DIN standard 16247 every four years.

Heating and hot water
We regularly assess the need for repairs at our properties in Germany and conduct cost-effectiveness analyses to further reduce our energy consumption for heating and hot water, concentrating on necessary and economically viable measures, such as:

  • Energy optimization of heating systems (e.g., by replacing old burner technologies)
  • Updating heat generators and related hydraulic components (such as pumps and valves)
  • Using waste heat (e.g., by using heat recovery systems)
  • Using combined heat and power (e.g., from cogeneration plants)
  • Reducing supply losses when heating water (e.g., by switching to local hot water supply)

Building services account for the biggest share of electricity consumption in office buildings (e.g., pumps, ventilation and cooling systems, building automation systems, elevators, and lighting). To reduce electricity consumption, we are focusing on the following measures in Germany:

  • Using LED lighting and motion sensors
  • Turning off light sources (advertising pylons) at night
  • Controlling the room temperature of our network infrastructure more accurately
  • Using efficient building services (e.g., high-efficiency pumps, frequency-controlled motors for ventilation systems)
  • Optimizing pre-programmed usage profiles (such as through absence profiles)
  • Using efficient building automation systems
  • Also, in our parking areas we are adding additional charging stations for electric cars, in order to promote electromobility.

Internet of Things img (IoT) and innovations
In Germany, we are optimizing our facility management with the help of sensor technologies. This includes the following measures:

  • Using sensor technology to actively control indoor temperatures in buildings in real time
  • Using predictive maintenance in elevator maintenance and repair
  • Using predictive weather-dependent building technology controls
  • Using thermal and fluidic building simulation to increase the efficiency of buildings and their building services

Sustainable Deutsche Telekom buildings outside Germany
Internationally, we are also implementing measures to reduce energy consumption, such as optimizing the energy efficiency of major sites, and switching off advertising pylons at night. In the future, we also want to carry out simulation tests to identify energy-saving potential in technical buildings. We also carry out campaigns to raise awareness among our employees for the need to save energy. For Earth Hour during the year under review, for example, the national company in Croatia shut off the power in its buildings for one hour.

In Greece, three buildings of the OTE Group received LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification: the Kerameikos office building; the Cosmote TV Services building; and the Group’s office building in central Athens, which was renovated in 2020. All three were certified to the Gold level under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) international LEED certification scheme for green and sustainable buildings. The Mill Park building of IT Services Hungary in Budapest also received LEED certification. Group-wide, over 290 000 square meters of our building space was certified to LEED or a comparable standard in 2021. In addition, a further approx. 130 000 square meters meet the criteria of a standard for sustainable buildings but are not certified.

Water consumption KPI

As a service provider, we almost exclusively use water within the scope of our office activities. Water consumption also plays but a minor role along our supply chain. For that reason, water is not a main focal area in our CR management activities. Nevertheless, our environmental guideline does call for reducing our water consumption. We measure our annual consumption by means of our water consumption indicators.

In the year under review, Group-wide water consumption decreased by 6 percent.

We provide detailed information on the figures for each individual company in our interactive benchmarking tool.

Protecting biodiversity

Our contribution to the SDGs

One major cause of species extinction is the fact that more and more space is being taken up by industry, agriculture, and transportation. As a telecommunications company, we take up significantly less space compared to companies in many other industries. However, our business activities can also impact biodiversity in other areas of our value chain – particularly our suppliers. This is why our suppliers must also comply with our environmental regulations. We verify this regularly during our on-site social audits.

ICT img solutions can help preserve biodiversity. In our “Bee and Me” project, intelligent sensors are being used to collect data from beehives and transmit them to beekeepers. The beekeeper simply needs to look at their smartphone or tablet app to find out whether their bees are healthy. They can then take action if they notice any anomalies. To date, we have now established a total of 42 beehives in Europe – including 23 “conventional” hives and 19 “digital” ones that are equipped with sensors. The bee hives are home to a total of around 1.7 million bees. In spring 2022, we plan to expand the project and set up beehives in India, for example.

We also cooperate with environmental and nature conservation organizations. Proceeds from our various cell phone collection campaigns (only available in German) in Germany have so far benefited the following organizations, among others: Landesbund für Vogelschutz Bayern e.V.; Pro Wildlife e.V; Frankfurt Zoological Society (projects for the protection of gorillas); and Hellabrunn Zoo, Munich (species protection projects). 

The safety of the electromagnetic fields img used in mobile communications is a publicly discussed issue. In 2021, the possible impacts of such fields on animals and plants continued to be discussed. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection has determined that there is no scientific evidence (only available in German) that high-frequency fields below the legal limits endanger plant and animal life.

In the fight against climate change, we support international reforestation projects. Trees store CO2, produce oxygen, regulate the water balance, provide a habitat for countless species, and thereby promote biodiversity. In 2020, we officially terminated our active partnership with the Plant-for-the-Planet foundation, after the foundation's work was widely and publicly criticized. Many of our employees remain active within the foundation's “Trillion Tree Campaign” initiative, however, with efforts such as organizing tree-sponsorship donations or tree-planting campaigns. For this reason, the number of planted seedlings shown in our interactive tree counter (only available in German) continues to grow. In our “Magenta Forest" campaign, we have now grouped the various projects underway throughout the Group in this context, thereby highlighting the fact that many small efforts can add up to make a big difference. One and all are welcome to participate in this campaign – by having trees planted, via an online site; making donations; or joining with others to plant trees in their local areas and have them registered, along with their geodata. If they wish, donors can also have their names displayed within the “Magenta Forest.” In addition, we have asked our employees to use the Ecosia search engine for their internet searches wherever possible. Use of Ecosia contributes to global afforestation, and to our “Magenta Forest”: with the income it generates from search engine advertising, Ecosia plants trees in over 30 countries, in cooperation with local organizations. In 2021, our Ecosia searches financed over 26 950 tree plantings. Together with our self-planted as well as donated trees, our “Magenta Forest” grew by over 29 400 trees in the reporting year.

Reporting against standards


Global Compact

  • Principle 7 (Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges)
  • Principle 9 (Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies)

Land use KPI

The property used by Deutsche Telekom Group covers most of our demands for technology, office, common, call center, shop and storage space as well as providing space for other needs. Total take-up decreased year-on-year with a total of 12 418 218 square meters of space being used due to an expansion of the data collection.



Reporting against standards


German Sustainability Code

  • Criterion 11 (Usage of Natural Resources)

Global Compact

  • Principle 7 (Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges)
  • Principle 8 (Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility)
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