Dear Readers,

Timotheus Höttges, Vorstandsvorsitzender, Bonn, Deutschland
Timotheus Höttges, Chairman of the Board of Management, Bonn, Germany

These are turbulent and unsettling times. Between war in Europe, inflation, the consequences of the pandemic, and the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the list of events putting us out of kilter is long indeed. At the same time, we are desperately seeking solutions to the urgent issues relating to climate change.  It is also concerning to see the spread of hate speech and fake news on the internet.  These crises all overlap, and they are all challenges we must face together as a society.

Deutsche Telekom is not untouched by such developments, either. As a company, we are duty-bound to continue to provide reliable services. It is precisely this type of reliability that also provides an anchor of stability in socially challenging times. We believe in the future and we create solutions.

On our Sustainability Day in October 2022, we showed how deeply embedded sustainability is in our organization and the goals we have set ourselves. Deutsche Telekom is the leading European telecommunications company – but we also want to be a leader when it comes to sustainability.

The Deutsche Telekom share is already listed in key sustainability indexes. For example, 2022 saw us qualify for the renowned “Dow Jones Sustainability Index img World” and “Dow Jones Sustainability Index Europe” for the eighth time, taking top spot in both indexes for the first time. For the seventh time in a row, we were awarded a “Climate Change A List” rating by CDP img in recognition of our pioneering work in relation to climate protection.

We will achieve our goal of becoming climate-neutral within the company by 2025 at the latest. In addition to our green network, our decision to switch the entire company fleet in Germany to electric vehicles, for example, is playing a major part in this. We are aiming to be completely climate-neutral by 2040 at the latest. In March 2023, we set ourselves a new, ambitious interim goal – by 2030, we want to have cut our CO2 emissions by 55 percent compared to 2020.

We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to manage energy more efficiently. After all, the demand for data increases by around 25 percent every year, which brings with it the risk that energy consumption in our networks will rise, too. Replacing old technology with newer versions is one of the ways in which we are aiming to double energy efficiency in our European networks by 2024. Switching our network infrastructure to IP img technology, for example, is helping us achieve this goal.

At the same time, our priorities are digitalize, digitalize, digitalize. After all, without digitalization, we will never manage to meet the sustainability goals of the future. According to a Bitkom study, 50 percent of the CO2 reductions necessary in Germany by 2030 can be enabled by digital technology. For example, our customers can cut their CO2 emissions by switching from a decentralized data storage system to the Telekom Cloud. Further examples include IoT solutions that are helping farmers build up sustainable water management systems or enabling doctors to improve care for their patients.

A circular economy also has a wide range of positive effects. It conserves valuable resources, prevents waste, and makes a significant contribution to cutting CO2 emissions. By 2030, we are aiming to create a completely circular economy for our network technology and devices in Europe. This also means that we take back all the products we put into circulation and feed them back into the cycle. In this way, we reduce electronic waste and also avoid the environmental impact associated with producing new devices.

We are happy to be judged by our progress. Energy consumption and CO2 emissions have been a factor in the Board of Management’s remuneration since 2021. Achieving these KPIs has also been a factor in the remuneration of executives in Germany and Europe and employees not covered by collective agreements in Germany since 2022. After all, we can only achieve our ambitious goals by working together.

We also consider it our duty to help people in difficult situations. We have been called upon to provide emergency assistance both in 2022 at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and currently to help the victims of the earthquake. We provide free telephone calls, donations, and technology. For example, we gave employees paid time off in spring 2022 to enable them to help refugees from Ukraine on a voluntary basis.

Especially in uncertain times, fake news and conspiracy theories spread even faster on the internet. People are subjected to hate and marginalization. Our democracy is called into question. However, when people are connected and communicate, they can also understand and get along with each other. That’s why we work for digital participation, and that’s why we are always building the best networks. We cannot allow the internet to become the domain of those who shout the loudest. The network is all of us. We shape it. We can make a difference. In 2022, we continued with our “No Hate Speech” campaign.

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 img, guide us in what we do.

Dear readers,

the future is becoming more difficult rather than easier. So let’s make the most of the opportunities we have to take action, and let’s stay optimistic. I would like to thank all those who are helping to shape our journey as we advance into a more sustainable, value-oriented, and ethical future – our employees, customers, partners, and shareholders.

I hope you enjoy an exciting read.

Best regards,

Tim Höttges

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