Statement by the Chief Human Resources Officer.
Marion Schick, Board member responsible for Human Resources, Bonn, Germany.
Dynamic markets are offering new business opportunities all over the world. The technological shift and increasingly individualistic lifestyles are triggering new customer needs—constant change is the only constant.
It is up to Telekom to find effective solutions to these challenges and to help design the transformation process. Our human resources departments make an important contribution to our efforts. The focal point of the work they do is shifting—from cultural transformation to supporting a transformation culture. We provide a framework that inspires and motivates our employees, gives them the space they need and provides them with opportunities to develop their individual skills and potential. We promote an environment in which people experience constant change as a chance instead of a threat—and where they have the courage to assume responsibility for our company's success. But we do not lose sight of long-term challenges, making the Deutsche Telekom Group one of the leading forces in the sustainable development of the environment, our society and the world of business.
Our new Human Resources Strategy, which we approved in early 2013, was designed to help us meet these challenges. Based on our vision, "HR accelerates the success of the company and its employees," we contribute significantly in this area so that our employees and organizational units are able to do their best for our company in a constantly changing environment. One key pillar in putting our new HR strategy into practice was to set up the Group Transformational Change & Corporate Responsibility unit. The purpose of this new unit is to advance our corporate culture in terms of innovation, transformation, entrepreneurship and social responsibility. By interweaving these topics, we are able to strengthen our employees' capacity to think and act responsibly and independently.
Our employees' sense of responsibility can already be seen in the fact that they are heavily involved in their communities. They volunteer at day care centers and schools, give courses on Internet and cell-phone use to seniors and participate in activities to protect the environment. One excellent example of our employees' involvement is our "Responsibility wins" trainee competition, in which 700 apprentices and cooperative university students submitted more than 80 community and environmental projects. The abundance and quality of this year's submissions shows that our trainees are interested in more than just professional advancement. The entire company benefits from their enthusiasm and from their creativity.
However, as the Board Member responsible for Human Resources, I also believe it is important to maintain fair working conditions and to guarantee basic human rights beyond our corporate borders. We adopted social, community-based values and principles in our Social Charter in 2003. This charter demands compliance with internationally recognized social standards, which our business partners are also required to observe. The objective behind our sustainable procurement strategy is to make sure that the companies involved in our supply chain are in compliance with our defined social and environmental minimum standards. We ask suppliers about their commitment and involvement in sustainability topics before entering into a business relationship with them. When necessary, we request additional, specific information over the course of the business relationship.
We also conduct regular audits in the form of "social audits" at our suppliers on site to monitor compliance with our sustainability criteria. We work together with our suppliers as a reliable partner during these audits and provide them with support when needed. There are several escalation phases that go into effect if discrepancies arise. Our primary objective is to collaborate closely with our suppliers in order to come up with solutions that are in line with our sustainability standards.
"We take responsibility" is more than just the title of our CR Report. To us, "We take responsibility" is an expression of our comprehensive CR approach that goes beyond short-term goals and that includes every single Deutsche Telekom employee.