Impact measurement and management

What impacts do our business operations have on society, the economy and the environment? To what extent are we contributing, with our products, solutions and measures, to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals img (SDGs)? These questions guide us in our impact measurement.

Impact measurement is a strategic area for us. This is because we know we can achieve our overarching aim – to constantly increase our business operations’ positive impacts and minimize their negative impacts – only if we can precisely measure the impacts of our activities.

With the support of experts from within and outside of the company, we have developed a four-stage “impact measurement blueprint.” It enables us to identify the impacts of projects, products, and measures on key ecological, social, and economic issues.

We use the results of impact measurement to continually improve our sustainability performance. In addition, they give us valuable findings that help us in transparently communicating the sustainability benefits of our products to consumers and business customers, investors, and other stakeholders.


In keeping with our blueprint, we identify the relevant stakeholders for each initial and target situation and calculate what resources they use. By knowing the resources difference between the initial and target situation, we can evaluate the relevant changes.

To obtain transparent and comparable results, we describe the various impact contributions using established metrics for use of resources, and with the help of external frameworks, such as the SDGs. That allows us to also evaluate our contributions to sustainable development from a global perspective. In doing so, we always ensure that our methods are based on robust data and assumptions, and are effective for several years. We also describe the relevant starting point, or baseline, as accurately as possible so that we can reliably evaluate and account for the concrete external impact. 

With the help of this approach, we can efficiently carry out annually growing numbers of analyses within the Group. Each completed impact assessment adds to our understanding of the interactions involved – and does so also with respect to all subsequent analyses. 

We are continuing to refine our impact measurement
Group Corporate Responsibility (GCR) is continuously refining our blueprint, taking internal and external requirements into account. In 2021, we developed our own impact-measurement tool for analyses in this context. The tool guides users through the four stages of the blueprint, and it takes account of the ecological, social and economic impacts of projects, products and measures. As a result, the new tool is making the impact-measurement process available to a wider group of users throughout the Group. In the year under review, the tool was used to determine the impacts of a total of 17 projects, products, and measures. 

As of 2021, awarding of our #GreenMagenta and #GoodMagenta labels is systematically linked to the execution of impact measurement in keeping with our blueprint. The functions of impact measurement include providing a decision basis for label awards. Every award of a #GreenMagenta label must be preceded by impact measurement relative to environmental impacts, for example. Our labels help us communicate the proven impact of our products, solutions, and activities on the SDGs, and on other sustainability goals, to a wider public. In the following sections, we present examples of qualitative and quantitative impact-measurement results for products, solutions, and measures of Deutsche Telekom.

Impact measurement: More-sustainable management of company devices, with the “Device as a Service” model

Smartphones and tablets play an indispensable role in our everyday working lives. At the same time, companies are finding that the task of managing all of their employees’ company-owned devices is becoming more and more complex. In many cases, when devices reach the end of their useful lives within the company, they are simply put away and are no longer used. In addition, in many cases devices are replaced before they have reached the end of their useful lives, and then are neither used nor properly recycled.

In cooperation with the provider “everphone,” we offer our business customers “Device as a Service.” In this service, we assume complete responsibility for device management. This responsibility includes active collection of devices from employees, exchange and proper repair of defective devices, and certified disposal and recycling of devices taken out of service. Overall, the service has the effect of increasing the service lives of devices within companies.

Our impact measurement in this context has found that Device as a Service can reduce emissions by about 50 kg CO2 equivalents per company smartphone and tablet. The refurbishment rate increases to over 97 percent. Also, employees become more aware of the need to use devices sustainably, throughout the entire value chain. In addition, the high refurbishment rates and longer usage lifetimes associated with the service ease pressures on production, logistics and disposal processes (SDG 12).

The service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 9: Systematic management of company smartphones and tablets supports more-efficient, and more-sustainable, use of valuable resources.
  • SDG 17: Deutsche Telekom and everphone plan to work together to roll out Device as a Service in additional countries, and they are seeking to share their knowledge in this context.

We have awarded our #GreenMagenta label to this service.

Impact measurement: Remote maintenance with augmented reality cuts travel and CO2

Complexe technical systems have to undergo regular maintenance. Long drives by service personnel, for such maintenance, cost time and money – and generate large amounts of CO2 emissions. Now, we offer the “AR FieldAdvisor” smartphone app, which provides a means of carrying out such service calls remotely – i.e. without a service technician’s having to be present at the service site. This is possible thanks to the use of augmented reality technology. When the app is used, a video call is made, and an employee at the service site pans over the relevant equipment with their smartphone camera.

Our impact measurement has found that use of the AR FieldAdvisor app to eliminate the need for 100 typical on-site service calls can save about 614 kg CO2 equivalents.

The service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 11: The calculation is based on elimination of transport-related emissions tied to an average of485 km of road and air travel to and from service sites (for 100 service calls).
  • SDG 12: The added electricity consumption for development and use of the product (adverse impacts) was also factored into the calculation.
  • SDG 8: Use of the AR FieldAdvisor app has improved service productivity, by enabling larger numbers of service calls to be made within a given period of time. Since the app eliminates travel time, and enables service personnel to work from their homes, its use also enhances the well-being of service personnel. In addition, it facilitates compliance with Covid-related contact restrictions.
  • SDG 17: The app’s remote-maintenance functionality makes it easy to provide competent technical support outside of major cities, and in less-developed areas.

We have awarded this solution the #GreenMagenta label.

Impact measurement: Greater customer-service efficiency, with “Mein Telekom Techniker” (“My Deutsche Telekom Service Technician”)

When Deutsche Telekom’s service technicians make service calls, they sometimes find that customers are not at home. Such “empty runs” are inefficient. They produce transport emissions, generate added costs and tend to leave both customers and service staff dissatisfied.

With our web app “Mein Telekom Techniker” (“My Deutsche Telekom Service Technician”), customers simply tap on their phone in order to see when their service technician will arrive; Deutsche Telekom sends an SMS text message in advance to remind them of the scheduled appointment. The SMS includes a link to near-real-time updates on the technician’s probable arrival time. If customers experience a sudden change of plans, they can change scheduled appointments with just a few taps. In short, the app helps prevent empty runs.

For 100 service calls, calculation shows that an average of about 14 kg CO2 equivalents is saved per call.

The service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 9 and 12: The digital application saves paper, since it eliminates the need for two thirds of the “sorry we missed you” cards that previously had to be placed in a mailbox when the customer was not home. This supports resource efficiency and makes service processes greener.
  • SDGs 3 and 11: Avoidance of empty runs helps reduce air pollution. It therefore has a positive impact on both air quality and human health.

Impact measurement: Improved information exchange with Airport Collaborative Decision Making

International air traffic accounts for a large share of global fuel consumption. “Airport Collaborative Decision Making” is a European concept for improving communication and coordination between airports, air traffic control, ground handling services, and airlines. T-Systems offers airport operators a software system that supports the implementation of this concept, thereby helping to make airport operations more efficient. More-efficient processes mean shorter turnaround times, and fewer delays in air-traffic management, and thus help save fuel and reduce air pollution. Also, reductions in delays benefit passengers.

On average, use of A-CDM can save up to 92 kg of CO2 emissions per takeoff. Also worthy of note is that T-Systems developed the software with electricity from renewable energies (SDG 13).

The service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 17: The solution enhances collaboration, and it saves time by optimizing operational and resources management.
  • SDG 11: The A-CDM solution also helps reduce air pollution. 

We have awarded this solution the #GreenMagenta label.

Impact measurement: Our sustainability platform promotes awareness of mobility-related emissions

Direct and indirect emissions from companies’ own or purchased resources (Scope 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) can be reduced relatively easily with targeted measures. It is important to note, however, that indirect emissions occurring throughout the value chain (Scope 3) will increasingly be the real key to reducing company-wide emissions. Such emissions include CO2 emissions generated through employees’ business travel and commuting. 

T-Systems now offers business customers “EcoShift,” a sustainability platform. This business solution shows companies the carbon footprint generated by the mobility of their employees and, on a dedicated platform, translates this data into specific recommendations. On a system dashboard, CO2 emissions from business travel and commuting can be monitored and analyzed, and suitable reduction measures can be derived.

Impact measurement has shown that use of the sustainability platform can save about 12 tons of CO2 emissions annually, per 100 employees. The platform’s transparent presentation of emissions data helps make employees more aware of their travel-related emissions, and it can inspire them to begin cycling to work or to use public transportation for their commutes. T-Systems developed the platform with electricity from renewable energies (SDG 13).

The service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDGs 3 and 11: Helps reduce transport-related emissions and air pollution in cities. It also contributes to employees’ health and well-being.
  • SDGs 9 and 12: The platform visualizes company-wide mobility-related emissions, and it supports derivation of specific measures to reduce them. It also saves time; its dedicated interfaces facilitate carbon-footprint determination, and its real-time data facilitate preparation of company reports.

We have awarded this solution the #GreenMagenta label.

Impact measurement: “Cyber AwareNessi, The Fantastic Security Activity Book”, makes it fun to learn about data security

Children today routinely begin using the internet at very young ages. Not enough is being done to enlighten them about the “facts of data security,” however. Deutsche Telekom is now publishing “Cyber AwareNessi, The Fantastic Security Activity Book,” a magazine for children between the ages of eight and twelve (and for their parents) that informs children in a fun and entertaining way – without making them afraid – about the dangers lurking on the internet.

“AwareNessi” helps parents talk with their children about this issue and teach them to use the internet with care (SDG 4).

This service also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDGs 5 and 10: “AwareNessi” is a gender-neutral avatar. The magazine uses gender-neutral language that is appropriate for children.
  • SDG 9: “AwareNessi” advises children and parents with regard to use of security tools in cyberspace, without mentioning any brand names.
  • SDG 12: Issues of “AwareNessi” are available in digital form, for printout only as necessary. This helps reduce paper waste.
  • SDG 16: For each issue of “AwareNessi,” our employees volunteer 60 hours of their time (for development, design, and communication). In addition to helping make children aware about data security, “AwareNessi” promotes respectful conduct and interaction online.
  • SDG 17: The issues are available in 16 different languages. Consequently, “AwareNessi” provides reliable information about data security internationally.

We have awarded this solution our #GoodMagenta label.

Impact measurement: Our contribution to respect for human rights

The following diagram illustrates the positive impact that can be achieved in our value chain and beyond through our commitment to human rights.

Human rights impact

Specific commitment to human rights in the company and in the supply chain
In 2020, we once again conducted a Human Rights Impact Assessment – this time at Crnogorski Telekom in Montenegro. We examined the well-being of our suppliers in terms of working hours and conditions, work-life balance, mental and physical stress, and discrimination in the workplace.

We used the findings to implement changes to the way work is planned. We also initiated various measures to raise awareness, including workshops to explain overtime regulations.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to perform any further routine Human Rights Impact Assessments abroad in 2021.

Such assessments also contribute to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 3 and 8: With our Human Rights Impact Assessments, we are enacting measures for observance of human rights throughout the company and in the value chain.

In addition, the assessments implement relevant recommendations of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Further information about the topic of human rights is available here.

Impact measurement: Multimedia learning for media literacy

For the topic of media literacy, we analyzed the effectiveness of our “Teachtoday” initiative. Joint research with the auditors from PwC showed that the methods used by Teachtoday are more than twice as effective as conventional forms of learning. The reason: The multimedia learning methods used by Teachtoday incorporate several senses at once, unlike conventional methods.

The Teachtoday activities to improve media literacy have a new motto every year: After “Digital Civil Courage” in 2020, the theme for 2021 was “gaming.”

This initiative contributes to the following SDG:

  • SDG 4: The multimedia learning methods used with Teachtoday promote safe and competent media use.

Further information about the topic of media literacy is available here.

Impact measurement: Online billing is more eco-friendly than paper billing

The switch from paper billing to online billing, which is being carried out step-by-step, provides a good example of the sustainability potential inherent in digitalization. We applied our new approach to impact measurement in order to analyze the effects more closely for Deutsche Telekom.

It showed that the adverse environmental impacts of online billing are more than 50 percent lower than those associated with paper billing (SDG 13).

Online billing also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 8, 9, 12: The switch to online billing saves paper, and printer toner, and reduces logistics requirements. We have identified the potential negative consequences of this measure as a drop in sales for the timber and paper industries and logistics sector. However, these consequences are less substantial than the positive effects.

Impact measurement: Sustainable product packaging for remotes

The primary purpose of packaging is to ensure that products are not damaged during transport to their final destinations (customers). When a product is unpacked, its packaging is usually discarded immediately, meaning it becomes trash and a burden on the environment. In this impact measurement, we analyzed the sustainable packaging solution of one of our remotes and compared it with conventional packaging.

This also contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDGs 11 and 12: Use of recycled materials, and avoidance of plastic, reduce waste.
  • SDG 6: Use of soy-based printer ink prevents use of environmentally harmful chemicals.

This use case has yielded a blueprint for efficient impact measurement of other sustainable packaging solutions.

We have awarded this solution the #GreenMagenta label.

Silke Thomas

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