Our approach to social responsibility

In focus: Building digital participation
As the digital society takes shape, we at Deutsche Telekom are working hard to ensure that everyone can participate. That’s why, as part of our social commitment, we are working on enabling digital participation.

The internet offers a wealth of opportunities for education, work, networking, and cultural life. In an equitable society, everyone – regardless of their age, disability, education, income, or place of residence – has access to the technology necessary for accessing the internet, and to the digital opportunities available online. When people do not take part in the online world, that should happen solely as the result of free choice – and not due to a lack of financial means or requisite know-how.

We believe there are three crucial factors that allow people to participate equally in the digital society: technical access to fast networks, the affordability of equipment and services, and the ability and motivation to use digital media competently.

  • Access: We are continuously expanding and upgrading our network with a view to enabling access. To this end, we cooperate with various partners – especially in more remote areas. Also, we are pressing ahead with the development of equipment and products for various demographics. The “nora” Notruf App img (“nora” emergency-call app), for example, which offers one-tap emergency calling – and is intended especially for people with hearing and speech impairments – is based on a patent of Deutsche Telekom.  
  • Affordability: Our range of rate plans includes plans for just about any budget. We also offer a subsidized rate (only available in German) and reduced basic charges – for schools, for example. With this approach, we strive to make digital access affordable for everyone.
  • Ability/Competent use of digital media: We help people to use media in a competent, responsible, and critical manner, and in line with basic democratic values. Our No Hate Speech campaign, which has been underway since 2020, serves as a good example in this regard. 

We want everyone to be able to participate in digital society. In this spirit, we not only stand for access to the internet, but are also committed to diversity, tolerance, and joy in interpersonal interaction. We believe digital participation requires not only the ability to use digital media competently, but also the willingness to act responsibly when online. This orientation highlights how our social commitment is closely interrelated with our core business. And it allows us to put our expertise as a telecommunications company to the best possible use for the benefit of society. Our commitment to fair and equitable digital participation also plays an important role in our positioning as an attractive employer.

Our commitment to sustainable economic activity is explicitly enshrined in our Group strategy, in our exhortation “Act responsibly.” It covers the following topics:

  • Aiming for climate neutrality in our business
  • Developing circular products and services
  • Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as investing in the continuous skilling of our employees
  • Enabling digital participation

Voluntary commitment, financial support, and international connectedness
As part of our social commitment, we carry out our own projects and initiatives. In addition, we promote voluntary commitment on the part of our employees. For example, we provide financial support for associations in which our employees are active. We also give them time off for volunteer work – to help Ukrainian refugees in the spring of 2022, for example.

In addition, we provide financial support – for example, via donations to, and collaborative efforts with, non-profit organizations that work to promote more harmonious coexistence and combat marginalization.

Also, we collaborate closely in this regard, and across national borders, with our national companies, sharing experience and best practices. In many cases, we invite our national companies to regionally implement, under their own responsibility, initiatives that we launch centrally.

Close cooperation with social players such as NGOs, associations, and initiatives also plays an important role. The reasons why we place priority on such interaction, across organizational and national boundaries, include the opportunities that it provides for mutual impetus and for the development of new ideas.

Measuring our success
We measure the impact of our social commitment on a Group-wide basis, with a set of ESG img KPIs. Since 2021, we have enshrined all aspects of digital participation – which is a central aim of our CR and company strategy – in our KPIs:

  • The Community Contribution ESG KPI maps our social commitment in terms of financial, human, and material resources.
  • The Beneficiaries – Focus Topics ESG KPI reflects the number of people who have benefited from our commitment to digital participation and to a society that protects the climate and conserves resources. 
  • The Reach ESG KPI indicates the number of people and media contacts that we have reached with our communication on digital participation and about a society that protects the climate and conserves resources. 

Our measures are also based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We have listed the activities with which we are pursuing SDGs in an overview.

Promoting media literacy and democratic competence

Societal and political developments in 2022 made it abundantly clear how important the internet has become to our everyday lives – it allows us to work, attend school classes, and shop from home. And its importance has reached entirely new dimensions during the war in Ukraine – for many refugees and other victims, it represents the only way to communicate with their families and receive warnings against impending attacks. But online communication also has its downsides. In uncertain times, fake news and conspiracy theories spread even more widely, and more and more people find themselves facing hate speech and marginalization.

For us, media literacy is the key to safe and competent use of digital media. But media literacy alone cannot ensure that people interact harmoniously, and treat each other with respect, in the digital world. For this reason, we believe that media literacy has to go hand-in-hand with democratic competence. We therefore work, through a wide range of projects and initiatives, to promote trust and informed formation of opinion, and to combat marginalization and online hate speech.

Our Teachtoday” initiative supports children, young people, parents and grandparents, and educational staff by providing hands-on tips and materials about safe, proficient media usage. The materials are available at www.teachtoday.de in seven languages (German, English, Croatian, Montenegrin, Polish, Romanian, and Hungarian).

Digital learning plays a particularly important role now that digital schooling and remote learning have become an even bigger part of students’ day-to-day lives. The continually expanding digital toolbox, which was published in 2020 and now comprises over 100 different formats, including product ideas, video tutorials, and fascinating quizzes, is designed for adults who have contact – either in schools, in learning groups, or in their own private lives – with children and young people between the ages of 9 and 16.

Teachtoday also has its own YouTube channel, on which it presents short, catchy videos about safe, proficient internet use, along with complete workshops on subjects such as how to use the toolbox.

SCROLLER, an online magazine for children aged nine to twelve, teaches media literacy using age-appropriate language. With its new, interactive web format, the magazine has a completely up-to-date look and feel, and it is suitable, as a learning and reading tool, both for solitary use and for group exercises. Via the additional SCROLLER EDU+ area, which links directly with the magazine’s features, teachers can access background information and learning resources for classroom and online instruction.

In June 2022, both the Teachtoday initiative and the SCROLLER online magazine for kids were each awarded the Comenius EduMedia seal in the “Primary education” category. The Comenius EduMedia distinction has been awarded since 1995 by the Society for Education, Information, and Media (Gesellschaft für Pädagogik, Information und Medien e.V., GPI) to recognize didactic multimedia products that are outstanding in terms of their educational approach, content, and design.

#TAKEPART stories
Our #TAKEPART stories initiative highlights socially relevant aspects of digitalization, from a practical perspective, and transforms them into modules that multipliers can use in workshops. The stories/modules are aimed at adults of all ages, from young adult to senior. The initiative highlights ways to use the internet responsibly, and it encourages critical discussion about this subject.

A special feature of the initiative is that the multipliers who use it do not have to be experts on the subjects concerned; we provide presentation resources for all workshops, along with moderators’ guides and background information. As a result, the workshops are easy to carry out. Consequently, the initiative supports our aim of ensuring that everyone can participate in the opportunities that digitalization provides. The content is developed in didactic formats, implemented in innovative modules. The modules are available in German, English, and simplified language, and are tailored to various workshop durations.

The #TAKEPART stories include various modules on the focus topics gaming and civil courage, along with modules on other digital-world topics, such as digital friendships, life in the city of the future, as well as data protection and security.

Promoting digital competence
As part of EU Code Week (only available in German), and in cooperation with Apple, we invite young people and teachers to immerse themselves in the world of app img development. In workshops and interactive events, participants learn how to develop and implement app ideas. Code Week, which is supported by the European Commission, took place for the 10th time from October 7 to 24, 2022.

We cooperate with various universities, with a view to supporting current research and promoting digital literacy. For example, via Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs img), we finance several endowed chairs at TU Berlin which are oriented to the teaching of digital topics. Also, at the CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, we have established a professorship for software engineering (with a focus on blockchain technology).

Startupnight is one of the largest annual events in Europe at which startups can network and present their ideas and business models to companies, investors, and potential customers. Startupnight, an initiative of Deutsche Telekom, is promoted primarily by hubraum, Deutsche Telekom’s technology incubator. hubraum also offers a periodic event: in our “meetups”, we meet every month with industry experts, startups, and investors to talk about an innovative, technology-related topic. In the framework of our TechBoost program, we support startups (especially in connection with financing issues), offer expert knowledge, and provide access to our technical resources and customers.

During the reporting year, T-Mobile Polska launched a nationwide awareness campaign called “Confident on the Net.” Topics of the campaign include threats in cyberspace, such as phishing, fake news, and disinformation. It also explores the topics of data security, privacy, and security on the internet.

In our Group-wide DIGITAL@School initiative, we support children engaged in active, self-reliant efforts to help shape the digital age. Some 500 DIGITAL@School volunteers are giving their time to schools, and other educational institutions, in a range of in-person and online assistance formats. With age-appropriate approaches, they are helping to inspire children to take an interest in STEM img (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects and in programming languages. In addition, they teach skills that children need in order to use digital media responsibly. At the end of 2021, the initiative received the #GoodMagenta label for its work. The initiative was launched in 2017 as IT@School. It then grew throughout the Group, and was renamed DIGITAL@School at the end of 2021. In the reporting year, the initiative was recognized by the IT Executive Club with the ITEC Cares award in the category “Corporate commitment.”

Seniors with good online skills
As part of our efforts to ensure that everyone can take part in digital society, regardless of their age, we offer special equipment and products for seniors. The resources available for facilitating seniors’ use of digital technologies include big keyboards, uncluttered displays, with large fonts and icons, and emergency-call buttons. In addition, we are working, in cooperation with the German National Association of Senior Citizens’ Organisations (BAGSO) to promote media literacy among seniors and have lent our support as a partner to the Goldener Internetpreis (Golden Internet Prize; only available in German), which has been awarded since 2012. The prize is awarded to committed individuals, initiatives, and municipalities that are working to inspire seniors to go online – and to assist them in doing so.

In another effort in this context, we are serving on the advisory board of Digital-Kompass (only available in German), a joint project of BAGSO and the association DsiN (Deutschland sicher im Netz e.V. – Germany secure online). Digital-Kompass provides resources and digital “round table” meeting formats for internet guides who help seniors navigate the online world.

In cooperation with the German Senior Citizens League (DSL img), we have produced a guidebook entitled “Digital inclusion – age is not an issue” (“Digital dabei sein – Keine Frage des Alters”; only available in German). In clear, straightforward language, the brochure covers a range of relevant topics, such as “How to set up a fast, secure internet/Wi-Fi img connection,” “What rates are available?” and “How can I ensure that my data is safe?” The guidebook also explains where one can find support – including learning resources, and pertinent services – and it provides tips on how to use digital media.

In addition to our online activities, we also organize offerings locally. Within the framework of our Seniors’ Academy, for example, we hold seminars and workshops on using digital devices on the premises of cooperating associations, to help seniors who are unfamiliar with the technology to get started in the digital world. 

During the reporting year, our national companies also made efforts to help seniors share in the benefits of digitalization. As part of the ENTER digital education program, Slovak Telekom launched a support program called “Ready for the digital age”, which focuses on developing digital literacy among senior citizens. It covers subjects like using smartphones and computers, digital communications, and teaching of programming skills.

T-Mobile Czech Republic teamed up with Czech police organizations and the ministry of the interior to initiate a project called “Click for Peace,” which is intended primarily for seniors. As one of the project elements, information material on using the internet was developed and distributed in libraries, hospitals, and doctors’ offices It also produced short videos that can be seen on social media, on the project’s website, and on monitors in doctors’ offices and waiting rooms.

Annette Reuter

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United against hate speech

Our No Hate Speech campaign, which we launched in the summer of 2020, continued in 2022. Our goal with the campaign is to send a signal and promote an internet in which everyone can enjoy the vast opportunities of the digital world – without having to fear marginalization or hate speech.

During the reporting year, the campaign focused on being “Louder than the hate” (only available in German). Studies show that only around five percent of online users account for the massive spread of online hate. That’s why we developed a TV ad in the reporting year to address the other 95 percent. With the messages “Let’s be louder than the hate!” and “When love is loud, hate doesn’t stand a chance,” we focused on civil courage online and called upon everyone to stand up for an internet where everyone is respectful with one another. The TV ad was supported by partners like the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, CORRECTIV, #ichbinhier, and Gesicht Zeigen! Für ein weltoffenes Deutschland e.V.

In 2022, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, under the hashtag #Unhate we used artificial intelligence to turn online hate speech into aesthetic works of art, thus depriving it of its toxicity. The result is a peaceful statement for more respectful interaction with one another.

To lend additional visibility to this topic, Magenta Telekom from Austria used the most recent amendments to its General Terms and Conditions in May 2022 to embed a clear stand against online hate speech within it. Customers are now warned about potential criminal penalties for spreading hate speech directly in the General Terms and Conditions. It also contains information about recommended measures for victims of hate speech and where to report it.

During the reporting year, we also continued our commitment to promoting civil courage and constructive dialog on gaming platforms. Together with the esports organization SK Gaming and the esports player foundation, we launched the initiative #equalesports in 2021 to promote greater diversity in esports and gaming. The initiative aims to support the participation women and non-binary people, who are particularly frequent targets of hostility, in professional and amateur sports. The two-day Equal eSports Festival, which took place in the fall of 2022, addressed the topics of diversity, esports, and gaming. After its successful premiere in Berlin in 2021, the Equal eSports Festival took place as part of Digital X (only available in German) in Cologne this year. Our contribution included organizing workshops and panel discussions.

In addition, we support initiatives that work to combat marginalization and cooperate with NGOs that are working in support of our aim of strengthening democracy and embracing diversity in society. Also, with our own measures aimed at online civil courage, we call on society to support us in this commitment.

In 2020, we founded an internal network with the aim of making our aspiration “we have no room for marginalization and racism” come alive within our company. Within this network, representatives from various areas, such as “internal communications,” “threat management,” “compliance,” and “human rights,” are working together to ensure that preventive measures are implemented, and that potential incidents in the company are taken seriously and transparently scrutinized. We also help to ensure that a solution in the best interests of those involved is always found quickly.

We also carried out various workshops for our employees on the subject of “online hate speech” – including workshops for apprentices and dual students. School students taking part in the digital internships that we introduced in 2021, as the only company to do so, were also invited to take part in our workshops. These addressed the topics of digital democracy, civil courage, and racism. Due to the pandemic, some of the workshops were held online.

Digital Crime – When Words Become Weapons
In 2021, in an effort to reach relevant new target audiences, we published the six-part podcast series Digital Crime – When Words Become Weapons (Digital Crime – Wenn Worte zur Waffe werden) on all leading podcast channels. In each episode, we hear from a person who has experienced hate speech online and describes what that was like. Also, experts put the cases in proper perspective, and – as is customary in true crime podcasts – discuss the legal issues the cases raise. In the first episode, we hear from Jay (who also stars in our spot for the No Hate Speech campaign) about sexual self-determination and hate speech. Other episodes focus on topics such as hate speech in local politics, in gaming, and against women. And the episode “When customers become haters” (Wenn Kunden zum Hater werden) discusses this issue in the context of our own customer service. In 2022, the second season of Digital Crime won the audio prize of the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia in the category “Respectful interaction on the internet” (Respektvoller Umgang im Netz).

With our No Hate Speech campaign, we generated around 1 040 million media contacts in 2022, and reached more than 4 million people – either directly or via multipliers such as parents and educators, for example, in workshops (2021: 3.8 million).

Digitalization in schools

For more than 20 years now, we have been offering free 16 Mbit/s img broadband lines to all general and vocational schools in Germany as part of the Telekom@School initiative. As of fall 2022, more than 19 000 schools were making use of our offer. In the reporting year, nearly500 additional schools took advantage of our subsidized prices to upgrade to bandwidths of up to 250 Mbit/s. 

Since 2020, school authorities may opt for a flat rate for education (only available in German), which provides pupils with an unlimited data allowance for educational content, for a low monthly charge. In addition, school authorities can provide tablets, laptops, and other means to disadvantaged students, also with the help of funds from the Federal Government’s Digital Compact for Schools campaign. This gives children and young people the opportunity, irrespective of their family background, to learn how to use digital media. We consolidate our commitment to schools in our Group-wide Digital Education and School program.

Together with Microsoft, we have been supporting schools in Germany with an extensive digital education package (only available in German) since 2021. The package includes laptops or tablet PCs and special educational licenses for Microsoft 365 software. A team of Deutsche Telekom experts – specially certified by Microsoft – provides the service and helps set up the devices. Schools can test the package free of charge and without obligation.

What technical needs does a school have? Who will commission laptops and smart boards? How can teachers secure and manage the new technology? With our Magenta Classroom (only available in German), we accompany schools and school authorities on their way toward digital education. Our TI service offers everything, including the needs assessment for technical infrastructure, installation and operations management, and even training courses and support – on site and remote. Working together with selected schools, we developed standards to ensure that classes are a positive experience for everyone involved – whether on a smart board or tablet PC. In addition, teachers do not have as many technical issues to deal with and gain more time to concentrate on didactic matters.

Education Report 2022: „Digital school“.
With our first education report (only available in German), we illustrate the current situation and the challenges in the German education market. The report focuses on supporting learners and presents our holistic digitalization concept.

Digital education at Digital X
The evolution of the digital education was one of our key topics at Digital X (only available in German) in Cologne once again in 2022. The two-day digitalization trade fair featured a themed pavilion dedicated to the aspects of technology and knowledge culture when it comes to the megatrend of digital education. In 2022, Digital X attracted more than 70 000 visitors – including members of the general public for the first time. Digital X 2022 won a total of five awards in the renowned international Best Event Awards World (BEA World) competition, including two gold awards.

International support for school digitalization
In the United States, T-Mobile US is also committed to connecting schools and students. The company’s Project 10Million initiative, which was launched in 2020, was continued in the reporting year. This program offers free internet services and mobile hotspots for underserved households with school-age children. It aims to reach up to 10 million eligible households within five years. By the end of 2022, T-Mobile US worked with school districts, extracurricular programs, and local authorities to offer affordable internet access to more than 5.3 million students nationwide.   

In the reporting year, other national companies, such as those in Greece, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, continued their efforts on behalf of school students’ digital participation. The OTE Group in Greece, for instance, sought to promote students’ digital literacy. Over the last nine years, the national company has served as a strategic partner to WRO Hellas, a non-profit organization for robotics and the sciences: Together, they supported a number of initiatives for disseminating robotics and STEM img educational methods in the Greek education system. More than 30 000 school students participated in these initiatives to date. In addition, the OTE Museum held online and classroom STEM programs for programming and coding in 2022, aimed at children aged six to twelve. 600 young students attended these courses.

Slovak Telekom launched its ENTER program in 2020, whose objective is to promote innovation in education and the development of digital literacy among children. This initiative aims to improve computer science instruction at schools and to awaken interest in technology and programming among children. To enable digital education, Slovak Telekom also teams with non-profit organizations to donate technical equipment to schools. In 2022, students of elementary schools and high schools that were supported by ENTER developed their own prototypes built on Micro Bit solutions.

In 2022, T-Mobile Czech Republic launched its Keys to Media project, which aims to improve media literacy among children and young people in elementary and high schools, as well as fight the spread of disinformation on the internet. Keys to Media provides teachers with educational content in the form of videos and podcasts. The project gives students the opportunity to try their hand at journalism through public debates and competitions.

Further information about Deutsche Telekom’s international commitment in this area is available in the Profiles of the national companies.

Deutsche Telekom Stiftung’s commitment

The educational foundation Deutsche Telekom Stiftung is working, via numerous programs and projects, to help improve education in STEM img subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It supports children and young people aged 10 to 16 in learning important skills for their educational and career paths both in and out of school. Along with STEM-related skills, the skills in question include critical thinking, good judgment and discernment, creativity, and communication and teamworking skills. The foundation provides such support out of the conviction that a modern education system must give young people the best possible preparation for meeting global challenges such as digital transformation, climate change, electromobility, and biodiversity.

ESG KPIs “Community Contribution,” “Beneficiaries – Focus topics” and “Reach” KPI

As part of our assessment of the impacts of our social commitment, we report a set of three ESG KPIs: “Community Contribution,” “Beneficiaries – Focus topics” and “Reach.” In using these KPIs, we rely on methods employed by the organization Business for Societal Impact (B4SI), which incorporate the aspects “input,” “output” and “impact.” In 2020, Deutsche Telekom’s KPIs were oriented especially to the topic of media literacy. In 2021, we then turned their main focus to digital inclusion – because that is a central aim of our CR and corporate strategy.

Community Contribution
The ESG KPI “Community Contribution” reflects activities in which Deutsche Telekom was involved in the community either financially, through its employees, or through donation of materials. The “input” (effort/commitment) was communicated from 2017 to 2020 under the name “Community Investment.” In 2021, the KPI was adjusted and the focus was sharpened.

Our ambition in this connection: Increase the KPI

In 2022, 99 percent of our engagement focused on “Digital Inclusion.” 1 percent paid in on other topics, such as “Low Carbon and Circular Society” or “Disaster Relief.”

The large proportion of the “digital participation” field is primarily influenced by two factors: Firstly, the international Community Contribution to support the Ukrainian refugees with telecommunication services was around 554 million euros and, secondly, the in-kind donations from T-Mobile US totaled around 1 724 million euros in 2022. This value increased greatly at T-Mobile US (compared to the value for 2021 of around 211 million) because the method used for calculation was amended. Now, not only the value for free items and services is taken into account; the value for subsidized items and services is also taken into consideration.

In addition to the longer-term commitment to our focus topics “Digital Inclusion” and “Low Carbon and Circular Society” (social investments), we also contribute through charitable donations and social sponsorship (e.g., of cultural events).

To determine the overall commitment of our employees, we look at the number of hours our employees have put in under our Corporate Volunteering program. In 2021, we adjusted the calculation basis and, in addition to volunteer hours performed during working hours, also collect volunteer hours otherwise supported by us (e.g., through premises, insurance, or donations). In 2022, for example, employees again volunteered at the “Ein Herz für Kinder” (“A heart for children”) fundraising gala or participated in handing out SIM cards to refugees from Ukraine. In Germany alone, we provided around 175 000 volunteer hours in 2022. Internationally, the total was around 256 000 volunteer hours.

Also, efforts we make in the context of the Community Contribution ESG KPI contribute significantly toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2022, about 598 million euros of our Community Contributions in Germany alone contributed to digital inclusion and thus to the achievement of SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education). Internationally, the figure was around 2 331 million euros.

Beneficiaries – Focus topics
The ESG KPI “Beneficiaries – Focus topics” shows the number of people who have benefited from our commitment to digital inclusion and to a society that protects the climate and conserves resources (this includes efforts such as providing media-literacy training, providing broadband accesses for schools, and supporting counseling hotlines). In 2022, our media literacy measures reached 41 million people. In contrast to the years 2017 to 2020, in the year under review only beneficiaries in the focus topics “Digital Inclusion” and “Low Carbon and Circular Society” were included. Besides direct beneficiaries, indirect beneficiaries are also taken into account according to a fixed key if, for example, a multiplier concept is involved or a discounted connection is used by several people.

Our ambition in this connection: Increase the KPI

Our ambition is to increase the ESG KPI Beneficiaries. In the graphic below you see the historic development of this ESG KPI and our international ambition level.

The ESG KPI “Reach” shows the number of persons and media contacts that we have reached via our messaging on digital inclusion, and on societal efforts to protect the climate and conserve resources – and that thereby have become more aware of the issues involved and of our pertinent activities. As of the end of 2022, this KPI reached a value of 2 070 million people and media contacts.

Our ambition in this connection: Increase the KPI

Our investments in network expansion are making an important contribution to facilitating broadband access for large sections of the public. On a Group-wide basis, our investments in our network infrastructure overall amounted to 21 billion euros in 2022 (of which about 4.4 billion euros were made in Germany). Also, we are already providing LTE service to 98 percent of the total population of the countries in which our national companies are active. What’s more, we operate the largest fiber-optic network in Germany, with more than 690 000 kilometers of cables, and are driving the expansion of a large-scale NB-IoT infrastructure for the cities of the future.

engagement@telekom KPI

Our contribution to the SDGs

Our range of corporate volunteering opportunities supports our employees’ social commitment. Through their commitment, our employees play a major role in strengthening social cohesion, broadening their own horizons, and boosting their social skills. This in turn has a positive impact on teamwork at the company.

Our engagement@telekom corporate citizenship program pursues three aims – to support our employees’ current commitment, to provide impetus for new commitment, and to provide space for networking. To that end, we give our employees opportunities to volunteer. For example, numerous Social Days provide an opportunity to get involved on behalf of society. Our employees volunteered more than 256 000 hours of their time in 2022.

Projects that promote media literacy are one focus of engagement@telekom. With such projects, our employees help people better understand digital phenomena, thus laying the groundwork for participation in the digital world. One example is the Group-wide initiative DIGITAL@School (known as IT@School until the end of 2021). Using age-appropriate strategies and language, the committed employees in that initiative help children in schools and other educational institutions become acquainted with STEM img (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects and help teachers and parents gain and expand their knowledge. In addition, they teach skills that children need in order to use digital media responsibly.

Environmental issues also play an important role in the framework of engagement@telekom. As part of our commitment in this area, employees active in our Green Pioneers movement in Germany have initiated efforts to help reduce our carbon footprint. These efforts contribute to our Group efforts in the area of sustainability. Employees also volunteered once again at the annual “Ein Herz für Kinder” (“A heart for children”) charity gala and participated in handing out SIM cards to refugees from Ukraine.

Joint commitment with partners

We have taken on the task of driving forward the social discussion on digital responsibility. To do this, we participate in various alliances and partnerships such as the Corporate Digital Responsibility initiative run by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection. In 2021, we signed the code of conduct of the initiative, thereby committing ourselves to upholding specific principles. We also published our own Corporate Digital Responsibility framework in 2022.

We signed the Charter of Digital Networking back in 2014. With our involvement in its sponsoring association, we are also underscoring our commitment to responsibility in shaping the digital society.

We have longstanding partnerships with many organizations, associations, and initiatives with whom we work as part of our social commitment.

During the reporting year, we supported Helpline Ukraine, the free phone hotline for refugees from Ukraine, by donating line capacity for additional voice traffic. The project was supported by Nummer gegen Kummer e.V., a youth counseling line and long-standing partner of ours, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).

Other partnerships in which we are involved include the following:

In addition to urging society to stand up against online hate speech, our No Hate Speech campaign focuses strongly on providing support for those victimized by hate speech. We have entered into additional partnerships to this end. And we present additional partners in our Topic special.

We promote various initiatives and programs aimed at protecting children and young people in cyberspace. For example, we are a member of the association fragFINN, which provides a safe online surfing environment for children between the ages of six and twelve. The search engine on fragFINN.de and its pertinent browser app img turn up only websites that are suitable for children and have been reviewed by media educators. We also support JusProg e.V., a non-profit association that works to improve protection for children and young people online. Its youth-protection program JusProg, which is available for download and use free of charge, filters out age-inappropriate online content.

Financial commitment and sponsorships

In Germany, we are involved in the fields of sport, culture, and social issues. In addition to providing funding, we help artists, athletes, event organizers, and associations with their communication and marketing activities. Our Sponsorship Policy provides the framework for sponsoring activities. Being involved in the regions where we are based is another important aspect. Examples of our involvement include:

  • Music sponsorship
  • Competitive sport sponsorship with partners such as the DFB (German Football Association), FC Bayern München, Telekom Baskets Bonn, and Deutsche Sporthilfe, DFB’s Sepp Herberger Foundation, and the German National Paralympic Committee
  • Recreational sports sponsorship
  • Sponsorship of social activities within partnerships

Additional information on the sponsorship activities of Deutsche Telekom AG is available here. Our national companies are also engaged in these areas.

Corporate Giving
Through our Corporate Giving program, we support the work of aid organizations worldwide – preferably in the form of long-standing partnerships – and provide rapid assistance in disaster situations. Our Group Donation Policy lays out the guidelines for these activities.

Living and working during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how important digitalization is in meeting social challenges. Digitalization has made it possible for many people to switch to working from home; online shopping and contactless payments have been reducing the risk of infection; physicians have been offering online consultations; contact tracing apps have been helping contain the pandemic; digital proofs of vaccination have been opening doors – and people throughout the world have been communicating via video chat.

Containing the coronavirus pandemic continued to be a priority for us during the reporting year. Even in times of crisis, we remained committed to keeping everyone connected.

Breaking chains of infection, with the Corona-Warn-App
Under commission to the Federal Government, and in cooperation with SAP, we developed our contact tracing app img, the Corona-Warn-App, in 2020 and have introduced regular upgrades with additional features since then. The app can help track infection chains throughout Europe and quickly break them. It is an effective digital complement to the behavioral guidelines. We continue to enhance this app. Comprehensive information features, such as features reporting on incidence rates, are been included. With more than 48 million downloads to date, the Corona-Warn-App is considered to be one of the most successful apps of its type in the world.

Improving vaccination and verification processes with the help of digital solutions
With the help of suitable IT infrastructure and smart systems, such as access management systems and vaccination capacity monitors, we supported the establishment of vaccination centers in Germany and helped simplify vaccination processes – and thereby helped implement the country’s national vaccination strategy.

Enabling working from home
Working from home offers opportunities, but also presents special challenges. The Deutsche Telekom guide for working from home (Homeoffice Ratgeber der Telekom; only available in German) helps companies and their employees deal with the challenges. In short videos, our experts provide helpful tips and explain such things as how to manage and structure home working arrangements in effective, healthy ways.

Protecting employees
At Deutsche Telekom, we have introduced detailed hygiene concepts, flexible rules for working from home, and other support measures such as free rapid tests to fulfill our responsibility as an employer. We have taken special precautions for our Telekom Shop and field employees, who cannot work from home. With the expiry of the coronavirus occupational health and safety ordinance workplace restrictions were eased in Germany in late May 2022 and we enabled our employees to return to the office – as social distancing rules and blocked workplaces were discontinued. Managers talked with their employees to determine how their respective teams would handle the return to the office and hybrid working. In addition, during our Germany-wide New Work Tour, experts showed how hybrid collaboration can work and demonstrated helpful supporting tools and methods. In addition, our Health & Safety Management continues to track developments regarding the coronavirus situation. The hygiene concept that protects our workforce is adjusted as needed, in line with the requirements of the coronavirus occupational health and safety ordinance issued by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

To thank our employees for their outstanding work in maintaining operations during the coronavirus lockdown, we held the AWAK3 employee festival in June of the reporting year on the Telekom campus in Bonn-Beuel. Around 12 000 employees celebrated during the three-day festival, which featured a total of 12 concerts on two stages. On top of that, more than 100 workshops were offered, for example on the topic of sustainability.

Free entertainment
To make the time people had to spend at home pass more quickly, we have expanded our range of free entertainment and cultural programs. On our MagentaMusik streaming platform, for example, we presented numerous concerts and thus brought the music directly into people’s homes. During the reporting year, we broadcast Wacken Open Air, the world’s largest heavy metal concert, on MagentaTV and as a free live stream on MagentaMusik. Most of the concerts we offer on the platform become available for streaming within just a few days after the relevant live event, and they stay available for up to twelve months.

Emergency assistance in crisis situations

After Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022, we responded quickly and introduced extensive emergency aid services for refugees from Ukraine throughout Europe. The Deutsche Telekom Board of Management devised an extensive set of measures to this end.

In Germany, in coordination with the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees (BAMF), we provided free pre-paid SIM cards to refugees in the spring of 2022. The SIM cards, which include free phone calls and data volume, were distributed to refugees through our Telekom Shops and through official aid organizations. The offer was valid until June 30, 2022. Starting June 10, 2022, the free SIM cards were incrementally replaced with a new, low-cost rate plan, MagentaMobil Prepaid Ukraine. All users of the existing SIM cards received a text message (SMS) to notify them of the option to switch to the new rate plan. All calls and texts by our consumers and business customers to and from Ukraine were made free of charge retrospectively from February 22, 2022 – for both the fixed and mobile networks, as well as for public phones. Roaming img charges for customers who were in Ukraine were also suspended. This offer was also available until the end of June 2022. Overall, we provided telecommunications services worth around half a billion euros in Germany.

Our national companies in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania also distributed free prepaid SIM cards to refugees. In total, we donated more than 1.5 million SIM cards in Europe. T-Mobile US made phone calls to Ukrainian area codes free of charge for months and also equipped shelters for refugees with broadband lines and routers.

We helped aid organizations to establish call centers to provide helpline advice to refugees in all matters. Nummer gegen Kummer e.V. launched Helpline Ukraine, which gives refugees free, telephone counseling for all concerns, problems, and other relevant topics, on June 1, 2022. Helpline Ukraine is a joint project of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and Nummer gegen Kummer e.V., and operates with our support. We give Nummer gegen Kummer e.V. the technical infrastructure for this nationwide counseling service free of charge. We also pay for the call charges to the helpline.

We also provided free Wi-Fi img access in shelters for Ukraine refugees in Germany and supplied vehicles for aid convoys heading toward the Poland-Ukraine border. We offered jobs in technical and non-technical areas to refugees in many European countries. New employees were also given help to find accommodation, open bank accounts, and organize child care.

Our employees also demonstrated a great sense of solidarity with refugees from Ukraine. Several hundred Deutsche Telekom employees got together in the spring of 2022 to coordinate the aid. Employees at our national companies, for example, in Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, volunteered their time, working at borders first and foremost. In Hungary, Magyar Telekom provided a building near the border as accommodation for volunteers. We also donated money to help with aid activities in Ukraine. For example, we have donated one million euros to the German Red Cross (DRK). Many employees in the Czech Republic responded to the call to collect donations. T-Mobile Czech Republic doubled the total collected, which meant the final amount was more than 300 thousand euros.

We discontinued our development activities in Russia during the reporting year. At the same time, we offered our team of software developers, which is based primarily in St. Petersburg and provides services to customers outside of Russia, the opportunity to work outside of Russia. Many employees have accepted this offer in the meantime.

Deutsche Telekom provides calls to Turkey and Syria for free
After the devastating earthquake in the border region between Turkey and Syria, Deutsche Telekom made all phone calls and text messages from Germany to Turkey and Syria for Telekom and congstar customers via Deutsche Telekom’s mobile and fixed-networks free retroactively from February 6, 2023 to February 15, 2023. What’s more, the Deutsche Telekom Group enabled free roaming for data, text message, and voice services for Telekom and congstar customers in Turkey and Syria up to February 15, 2023. Prepaid customers have already been recredited accordingly for the credit they had already used. The Group also donated one million euros to Germany's Relief Coalition.

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