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2022 Corporate Responsibility Report

Corporate Digital Responsibility

Day in and day out, we see our world changing, at ever-faster rates. Computers and AI (artificial intelligence) now play indispensable roles in our daily lives. Most of the time, they help us without our even noticing their operation. All of this is the beginning of a development that we can no longer stop – and that we don't want to stop. All enthusiasm notwithstanding, however, we shouldn't head into the digital future blindly. As we move forward, we should seek to define a clear direction and a binding framework for that future. We at Deutsche Telekom are working to bring about digitalization oriented to people and values. “Corporate digital responsibility” (CDR) refers to efforts to manage the opportunities and risks of the digital transformation responsibly. The goals of our CDR activities are twofold: to prevent negative impacts, and to help shape the digitalization process in a positive way. 

For example, we take great care to ensure that all processing of our customers’ personal data is carried out transparently and responsibly, in ways that also safeguard individual customers’ privacy and security. Further information about this area is available in our publications on data privacy, in our status report on data privacy, and in our transparency report. Also, in our Digital Ethics Guidelines on AI, we describe our responsible use of AI in connection with our products and services.

Digital participation is a core aspect of our commitment. We are working to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to be a part of the digital society. Our focuses in this regard include the technical aspects of broadband access, rates and devices that are affordable for all budgets, and users’ ability and desire to use digital media competently. For example, we carry out a variety of projects and implement measures to promote media literacy and democracy skills among the population.

Upholding of human rights is a key element of responsible digitalization. The obligation to respect human rights is enshrined in our basic rules and guidelines. This obligation applies not only to our company, but also to our business partners – and to our approximately 25 000 suppliers in over 80 countries. We expressly require our suppliers to join us in our responsibility, with a view to ensuring that human rights are also respected within the sphere of influence that we have outside of our Group.

Digital responsibility img is also highly important with regard to environmental and climate-protection issues. By developing products that are innovative and sustainable, we help our customers reduce their own carbon footprints – and thereby contribute to climate protection. In addition, to help our customers find sustainable solutions, we highlight products and services that are environmentally and climate friendly. We do this with our #GreenMagenta Label (for products and services) and our Eco Rating scheme (for mobile devices). Our “Smart Innovations” also contribute to society’s efforts to improve its ecological balance.

Our networks are the foundation of our services. To ensure that the network’s energy requirements do not contribute to global warming, we draw 100 percent of the energy for our network infrastructure from renewable energy sources, and we are constantly working to improve our energy efficiency. This is just part of our pursuit of ambitious climate goals and resource conservation measures.

Digitalization is opening up new ways and possibilities for working. We are helping to shape the digital transformation in the workplace, in a responsible manner, and we are continuing to support our employees in addressing the challenges the transformation has brought. Our efforts to reinforce our employees’ digital competencies include our “youlearn” training initiative. In addition, in close consultation with our Group Works Council, we have adopted a “Manifesto on Agile img Working,” a set of guidelines for the digital workplace.

Our commitment to digital responsibility
The technological development needs to be more value-oriented. We see ourselves as having a responsibility to implement ethics within technologies and to make technologies accessible to everyone. During the year under review, we published our Corporate Digital Responsibility@Deutsche Telekom framework, which summarizes our views of digital responsibility. People are our top priority in this framework. The centerpiece of the framework is our House of Digital Responsibility, which is all about people-centric technology.

The House of Digital Responsibility

Our CDR framework and our House of Digital Responsibility are both based on our guiding principles. The foundation of this basis is the commitment to act in accordance with laws and regulations, with human rights and with basic values such as cultural values. Conceptually, we place a number of key areas on this foundation – digital ethics, digital participation, the future of work, and climate protection and resources conservation. These key areas serve as orientational aids for our activities. The foundation and all of these areas, in turn, are housed under the umbrella of principles that constantly guide our efforts, namely data privacy and security, and transparency and dialog.

Outside of our own corporate sphere, our efforts and commitments in this area include active involvement in various alliances and partnerships, such as the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW), econsense, a network of internationally operating companies, and the Digital networking charter (Charta digitale Vernetzung). In addition, we are a member of the Corporate Digital Responsibility initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Justice. In 2021, we signed the Initiative’s CDR Codex, thereby committing ourselves to observe a set of concrete principles and to regularly publish a relevant progress report. The first report was published in July 2022.

Annette Reuter

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Annette Reuter