Our process for identifying material CR topics

We annually identify which topics are of particular importance in defining Deutsche Telekom’s sustainability management and sustainability-reporting focus from the perspective of our stakeholders as well as from an internal corporate perspective. We have also analyzed and adjusted the material topics for this report. This process factored in changes in stakeholder expectations and current external and internal developments. In the year under review, we focused on identifying and evaluating risks and opportunities – and materiality analysis served as a basis for this focus.

Since 2015, we have carried out materiality analysis on the basis of the methods set forth by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative img (GeSI). Those methods cover 55 topics that are relevant for the ICT img industry, and place them into nine categories: digital inclusion, employee relationships, climate change, circular economy, sourcing and manufacturing, customer relationships, freedom of expression and privacy, governance and management, and local community and environment impacts. These topics have been developed to pertain to a variety of companies and are therefore recognized in the industry. In addition, our experts review whether any topics need to be added, adjusted or deleted, in keeping with the specific needs of the company.

Document analysis
Document analysis is the starting point for our materiality process. This takes into account new legal texts and draft laws, studies, position papers, and media publications that provide information about the demands and expectations made on Deutsche Telekom with regard to sustainability management. The analysis also considers whether Deutsche Telekom has any influence on the respective topic and whether the expectations have an impact on Deutsche Telekom’s business activity. The tables below set out the criteria that determine whether or not a topic is highly relevant.

Stakeholder perspective
High expectations for the relevant topic when ...


... the majority of NGOs express specific expectations or demand compliance with certain targets or standards.


... multiple competitors actively communicate a more ambitious strategic objective or development concepts.


... there are concrete regulatory objectives, laws or guidelines that directly impact the company.

Financial market ... the topic is part of the criteria for the ratings in question and is considered a top issue in the industry.
Company perspective
Highly influenced by the relevant topic when ...
Value creation

... all stages of the value chain are affected by the topic.

Sustainable Development Goals

… the topic is directly related to several SDGs.

Industry ... the ICT has a big influence on it and Deutsche Telekom holds a leading industry position on the topic.

The 2021 document analysis shows a further increase in our stakeholders' expectations, particularly with regard to

  • topics related to climate and human rights,
  • social relevance of ICT products,
  • media literacy and
  • employee diversity and anti-discrimination

Both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are drivers of these growing demands. In this context, issues regarding digital ethics and ethical business practices are becoming increasingly important.

Internal analysis and validation
In a workshop with experts of our company, the results of the document analysis were compared with an internal estimate.

The result is the basis for our 2021 CR reporting. We are presenting the results of the analysis in a materiality matrix in accordance with the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

We have included the following topics in our materiality matrix for the 2021 reporting year:

  • Biodiversity
  • Political and social cooperation
  • Easily accessible and affordable products

Inaluk Schaefer

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Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-40 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-44 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)

Results of the materiality analysis

Topics were rated as “very relevant,” “relevant,” “less relevant” and “not relevant” in the materiality analysis. We translated their weighting results onto a 100-point scale. Here are the results of the analysis.

The overall result
The following illustration shows how all of the topics were rated by our stakeholders, and from a corporate perspective, on a scale of 0 to 100.

Materiality Matrix

All topics for 2021

Top topics with regard to Deutsche Telekom's sustainable business development
We consider all topics that achieved more than 68 points on average in the materiality process to be top topics. The following matrix presents these topics, on a scale of 50 to 100.

Materiality matrix of Deutsche Telekom

Top topics for 2021 (excerpt)

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-47 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-49 (General Disclosures)

Material topics matched with GRI aspects

The following overview indicates in extracts which GRI aspects can be matched with the material topics of the materiality analysis.

# Material aspects    GRI aspects    Management approach
1 Network expansion  
  • Indirect economic impacts
2 ICT img solutions that contribute to climate protection  
  • Products and services

Limiting the effects of climate change

  • Emissions
  • Energy



Data security

  • Customer privacy

Data protection

  • Customer privacy
6 Circular Economy (incl. electronic waste)  
  • Waste
  • Products and services
7 Ethical business practices and compliance  
  • Socioeconomic compliance
  • Anti-corruption
8 Supply chain labor standards  
  • Procurement practices
  • Forced or compulsory labor
  • Evaluation of suppliers with regard to compliance with human rights


9 Socially relevant application of ICT products and services  
  • Products and services
10 Media literacy (including ICT and child safety)  
  • Customer health and safety
  • Customer privacy
11 Employee diversity and anti-discrimination  
  • Non-discrimination
  • Diversity and equal opportunities



Transparency and reporting

  • Identified material aspects and boundaries
  • Report profile

Service quality

  • Stakeholder engagement

Disruptive img technologies

  • Products and services
  • Compliance


Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-47 (General Disclosures)


Materiality as a basis for evaluation of ESG risks and opportunities

In the year under review, we used our materiality analysis as a starting point for identifying and evaluating the risks and opportunities that arise in connection with our sustainability issues. In the case of many topics that are highly important, pursuant to our materiality analysis, the pertinent risks for our company are comprehensively evaluated by the responsible person(s) within the Group – such as staff in the areas of Compliance or Data Privacy. Such supplementary analysis gives us a clearer perspective of the relevant impacts on the environment and society, and it helps us to pair our risk analysis with strategic opportunity assessment. 

On the basis of the most important sustainability issues involved, we have developed various possible scenarios. In one, for example, disruptive, new products can help solve existing social, economic or ecological problems. On the other hand, adverse environmental impacts, such as larger quantities of produced waste, can increase costs (in this case, costs for waste management). Such scenarios have been evaluated by experts in terms of their probability of occurrence and their financial impacts. On the basis of such evaluation, the risks and opportunities linked to the scenarios have been grouped into the categories “low,” “medium” and “high.”

The analysis indicates that, currently, the supply chain and climate-related issues present high risks for society, for the environment and for us as a company – for example, pollutants released in the supply chain can adversely affect human health, and tighter legal requirements can lead to higher costs for us. For years now, these issues have been taken into account in Deutsche Telekom’s overarching risk-and-opportunity management process, and they are reported in detail each year in our annual report. On the other hand, our products and services can help solve ecological and social challenges. For example, we offer solutions that help reduce energy consumption. Such challenges, therefore, offer opportunities for sustainable development, as well as market opportunities for us. 

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