Risk & opportunities management.
Managing risks and opportunities via a central management system.
For us, comprehensive risk and opportunity management also includes considering the risks and opportunities of corporate responsibility (CR). As part of our CR management, we pursue a strategy in which the different stakeholder groups are systematically involved in identifying current and potential risks and opportunities. To this end, we participate in a number of committees and initiatives. Continuous monitoring of CR topics enables us to systematically identify stakeholder positions on relevant sustainability issues. To this end, we use, for example, our NGO Radar, which summarizes the activities, research projects, publications and opinions of relevant NGOs and assesses them for Deutsche Telekom. In addition, we ask our stakeholders on an annual basis as part of our CR reporting which sustainability issues are important to them.
At present, we do not see any severe risks to the achievement of our climate protection targets within our reference period. Deutsche Telekom sees climate protection above all as an opportunity. ICT products and services have the potential to save seven times as many carbon emissions in other industries as the ICT industry emits itself (SMARTer2020 study). Examples of resulting external opportunities include changed customer expectations, political measures to implement the energy revolution, the growing consideration of sustainable criteria in tenders and in procurement, as well as the interest of sustainable investors (socially-responsible investing – SRI). The Carbon Disclosure Project, for example, manages 722 institutional investors (approx. 87 trillion US dollars), selecting investments in climate-friendly assets. Opportunities that Deutsche Telekom can develop itself are the continuous reduction in its own electricity consumption and emissions, as well as a reduction in carbon emissions by means of climate-friendly products and services, thus also tapping into new target groups.
As part of our global procurement activities, we can be exposed to country and supplier-specific risks. These include, for example, the use of child labor, the conscious acceptance of environmental damage or inadequate working and safety conditions in the local supplier factories. Reports by NGOs or the media can give rise to risks to the company's reputation, but also to supply risks. We minimize these risks by systematically auditing our suppliers.
In the important sustainability ranking SAM, Deutsche Telekom was rated very positively for its supplier management in the last few years. In 2013, we improved further (from 83 points in 2012 to 88 points). Our cooperation with suppliers that comply with international sustainability standards ensure a high level of product quality and reliability in procurement.
Mobile communications, or the electromagnetic fields used in mobile communications, regularly give rise to concerns among the general population about potential health risks. There is intense public, political, and scientific debate of this issue. Acceptance problems among the general public concern both mobile communications networks and the use of mobile devices. In mobile communications, this affects network build-out and the use of devices. In the fixed network, it affects sales of conventional DECT (digital cordless) phones and devices that use WiFi technology. Apart from legal risks (e.g., reduced thresholds), regulatory interventions are also possible, such as precautionary measures in mobile communications (e.g., amendments to building law or labeling requirements for devices).
Over the past few years, recognized expert organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have repeatedly reviewed the current limit values for mobile communications and confirmed that the use of mobile technology is safe based on current scientific knowledge. In 2011, despite a lack of scientific evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a WHO agency, classified high-frequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic" on the basis of isolated indications. This is the weakest category indicating a potential carcinogenic effect. Drinking coffee is also included in the same category. The classification provoked an increase in media coverage, as well as controversy among experts. The German Commission on Radiology Protection, for example, criticized this classification on the basis that there is insufficient scientific evidence for it in the Commission's view. There is agreement among all institutions and expert committees on the need for more research into this issue and that there is no scientific evidence of a health risk from electromagnetic fields.
We are convinced that mobile communications technology can be used safely if specific threshold values are complied with. We are supported in this conviction by the assessment of recognized bodies. The basis of our responsible management of mobile communications is our EMF Policy. With this policy we are committing ourselves to more transparency, information, participation, and financial support of independent research on mobile communications, far beyond that which is stipulated by legal requirements. We aim to overcome uncertainty among the general public by pursuing an objective, scientifically well-founded, and transparent information policy.