The year 2021 was an incredible one for Deutsche Telekom. Incredibly intense. Incredibly challenging. Incredibly successful. We invested in the expansion and operation of our networks to the tune of some 18 billion euros. Consequently, by the end of the year, we had made our 5G network in Germany available to more than 90 percent of the population, for example, and we also further increased our 5G network lead over our competitors in the United States. We attracted millions of new customers and delivered strong financial results. Deutsche Telekom is one of the most valuable brands in the world and we are currently the leading European telecommunications provider by a very considerable margin. Once again, successes such as these are a great incentive to me to ensure we also take a leading role in relation to our social and ecological responsibility.
“Act responsibly” is a key and integral component of our Group strategy. To underline the growing relevance of sustainable action, Michael Hagspihl, as Head of Corporate Responsibility, has reported to me directly since January 1, 2022. Our approach of taking Deutsche Telekom in an increasingly sustainable direction is very much meeting with our employees’ approval. According to our 2021 employee survey, 84 percent identify with our ecological and social commitment.
As we all know, climate change is real – and we are all contributors to the problem. At Deutsche Telekom, we are taking action. In 2021, we again set ourselves climate targets that are more ambitious than ever. By as early as 2025, we will be climate-neutral at Deutsche Telekom. What’s more, by no later than 2040, we will be climate-neutral along the entire value chain. We have already achieved one of our initial targets. Our customers are now using our green Deutsche Telekom network to surf the net – and this is the case throughout the Group. We will be judged by our progress. Since 2021, the Board of Management’s remuneration has also been dependent on us meeting our climate targets.
However, we not only want to make Deutsche Telekom more sustainable – we also want to help our customers become more sustainable, too. That’s why we use our #GreenMagenta and #GoodMagenta labels to identify our products and services that make a clear and positive contribution to ecological or social sustainability. We also introduced the Eco Rating initiative in cooperation with four other European mobile communications operators. By the end of 2021, the environmental impact of more than 150 cell phones had been evaluated and made transparent.
We are working with our suppliers to make our product range more and more sustainable. For example, we have further expanded our collaboration with Fairphone in Germany and Austria, and we have also joined forces with Samsung with the aim of launching a “green” smartphone onto the market by late 2022. Since 2021, sustainable packaging has been used for all new “T”-branded devices launched onto the market in Germany. What’s more, products such as our solutions for working from home are helping customers cut their CO2 emissions. In 2021, more sustainable products accounted for around 42 percent of our sales.
We need to act quickly to reduce CO2 emissions and slow down climate change. In 2021, the importance of this was made only too clear by incidents such as the disastrous flooding in Europe. I was deeply impressed by the personal efforts of colleagues immediately after the disaster, as they set out to provide help and distribute free cell phones, power banks, and quick-start packages. Our top priority was to restore the basic supply for mobile communications as quickly as possible so that victims of the flooding could keep in contact with their families and the rescue services. We managed to do this within a matter of days. Despite the fact that the torrents of water also caused severe damage to our infrastructure in the affected areas, we were able to restore more than 96 percent of fixed network connections by the end of 2021. Our technicians provided interim solutions while the rebuilding work was being carried out.
We won’t stop until everyone can #TAKEPART. This means not only ensuring technical access to fast networks, but also boosting people’s ability to use digital media proficiently. We are working to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to be a part of the digital society. That’s why, in 2021, we continued our campaign against online hate and for more online civil courage.
We report extensively on these and many other sustainability activities in this year’s Sustainability Report.
We remain committed to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the German Sustainability Code. Both of these frameworks, along with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, guide us in what we do.
Digitalization offers many opportunities – it creates potential for protecting the climate and conserving resources, simplifies our working world, and enriches our personal everyday lives. We at Deutsche Telekom are working to bring about digitalization oriented to people and values. I would like to thank all those who are helping to shape our journey as we advance into a more sustainable digital future – our employees, customers, partners, and shareholders alike.
I hope you enjoy an exciting read.