Plant and animal diversity is crucial to human existence and can facilitate adjusting to changing environmental conditions, such as those resulting from global climate change. In light of these facts, the United Nations has named the years 2011 to 2020 the UN Decade of Biodiversity.
Telekom is involved in helping conserve a diverse plant and animal population as well. Telekom Deutschland has been cooperating with the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) environmental organization for 13 years and had sponsored a total of 779 environmental protection and nature conservation projects as well as environmental education activities as of the end of February 2013.
We have decided to extend the duration of our Living Forest nature conservation fund until further notice. The following projects were conducted or supported by the fund during the reporting period.
- March 2012: Planting beech trees with the city of Bonn.
24 Deutsche Telekom employees planted new trees in the Bonn city forest on March 3, 2012, as part of the Living Beech Forest campaign. Together with the German environmental organization, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) , Telekom provided the city department for green spaces with a total of 4,000 young beech trees. Beech trees are native to our region. They help improve the soil and provide numerous animals and plants with a natural habitat suitable to their needs. Our employees planted 1,000 of the young trees themselves with the help of city forestry employees.
- February/March 2012: Habitats for lizards in the Dellbrücker Heide nature conservation area.
The fund also provided financial support to a project conducted by Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to create habitats for endangered sand lizards in Dellbrücker Heide. BUND volunteers and students from the neighboring Willy Brandt school created microbiotopes for the lizards to hide in and places for them to lay in the sun as well as other features. The BUND organization has been voluntarily caring for the city's part of the conservation area on behalf of the city of Cologne since 2009. The organization is planning to continue the project supported by Telekom beyond the reporting period.
- Continued in 2012: Renaturalization of the Eschenkahr wetlands.
The fund also sponsored a project by the GNA association for natural conservation and wetland development in the Bad Orb city forest. The project focused on restoring former moorland areas, which will give many types of insects as well as fire salamanders, yellow-bellied toads and other amphibians the chance to repopulate their original habitat.
- December 2012: Collaboration on the DUH convention.
The Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmental organization held a convention in Berlin on December 12, 2012, under the slogan, "Companies and NGOs working together for nature conservation," to improve networking between companies and environmental organizations. Deutsche Telekom co-financed the convention through its Living Forests nature conservation fund and presented its own experiences with nature conservation projects in cooperation with NGOs.
Telekom founded the Living Forests nature conservation fund in 2009 in collaboration with the German environmental organization, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). The fund sponsors exemplary nature conservation projects in Germany that are committed to conserving forests as well as the plants and animals that live in them. The sponsored projects are selected by Deutsche Umwelthilfe and recommended for implementation by a committee of recognized nature conservation experts.
Green car penalties create ecological rewards in Biesenthaler Becken.
Employees who use Telekom company cars with high CO2 emissions support returning the Biesenthaler Becken moorland in the state of Brandenburg to its natural state. This is due to Telekom's Green Car Policy, which specifies strict limits for CO2 emissions produced by our employees' company cars in Germany. Employees share the increased costs of both mobility and greater strain on the environment in the form of a penalty if they choose a car with a high CO2 emissions level. This money is used to finance additional fuel costs as well as internal and external projects that contribute to the protection of the climate and the environment.
Buying and renaturalizing original moorlands.
We donated EUR 30,000 from this fund to a local project conducted by the environmental organization, Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. (NABU). The goal of the project is to "re-flood" areas that used to be moorland in Biesenthaler Becken north of Berlin and return them to their natural state. This will not only help protect rare moor plants and the animals that live there but also reactivate the moor's ability to extract CO2 from the air for the long term. A layer of peat only 15 centimeters thick can extract as much CO2 as a 100-year-old forest in Germany. As long as the water level does not fall, the moorland will not release the CO2 back into the atmosphere.
To date, the land has been constantly drained through trenches to use it for agricultural purposes. NABU has started purchasing plots of moorland or trading them for other plots of land to put an end to this practice. Around 350,000 square meters were still up for sale for an average price of EUR 2,000 per 10,000 square meters. The NABU foundation is planning to retain permanent ownership of the purchased land CO2 sink and as a habitat for numerous endangered plants and animals.
Employees choose donation recipients.
In 2012, surplus from the penalties paid in Germany came to around EUR 400,000, some EUR 100,000 more than in the previous year. We used these extra funds internally to finance eco-driving courses for apprentices, purchase electric cars and set up charging stations for e-cars. As in the previous year, we let our employees decide what to do with the remaining EUR 300,000. 6,000 Telekom employees participated in the vote in 2012. We donated between EUR 10,000 and EUR 50,000 to each of the ten projects presented, based on the number of votes the projects received.