Companies are constantly balancing the expectations of a variety of stakeholders when managing their business. That is why a company's success depends on recognizing the interests and demands of its stakeholders and meeting and addressing these whenever possible and reasonable. One basic expectation stakeholders have is that the company keeps them informed of how it is meeting their demands. Deutsche Telekom goes even further by actively surveying its stakeholders and involving them in its management processes.
Precise knowledge of our stakeholders' interests and views is a basic prerequisite. We use tried-and-true market research tools to conduct systematic stakeholder surveys to learn more about these interests and views. It is Deutsche Telekom's conviction that sharing information with its stakeholders promotes the company's innovation processes. It helps us solidify existing alliances, evaluate collaboration options, and enter into new partnerships. This is particularly important in terms of our sustainability targets, which we can only achieve in collaboration with partners from the worlds of politics, society, science and research, and industry.
We take the interests of our stakeholders seriously and work to effectively involve them in our business activities. In 2011 we developed our stakeholder involvement strategy to assist in this process. The strategy is based on the AA1000 standard, an internationally recognized guideline for evaluating sustainability management and CR reporting. We reviewed and in part redesigned our strategy in 2013.
During the reporting period we used different and, in some cases, new formats to implement our strategy. One of these formats is publication of the We Care app magazine. We also introduced an internal CR newsletter that provides our employees and managers with information roughly every two months on CR activities within the Group.
The Figure of the Week is another new format we introduced in 2014. We use it as a concise way to keep Deutsche Telekom employees and visitors up-to-date on sustainability topics. Each week we use a figure to highlight an aspect of our activities. This information is presented on our intranet and on a display in the foyer at our Headquarters in Bonn.
In order to ensure that our CR activities are structured effectively, we regularly assess how our stakeholders perceive and rate these activities. We take a multifaceted approach here:
- Within the scope of our materiality process, we systematically ask our stakeholders about their expectations when it comes to successful dialog. This tells us how we can most effectively include them in our management processes through our dialog efforts.
- We use CR topic monitoring activities developed for us by an independent research institute to identify and analyze what our stakeholders currently feel are the most important topics. This helps us continue to develop our expertise in current CR-relevant discourse and support our stakeholders as well-informed dialog partners in addressing issues that are relevant to the community.
- We ask our stakeholders to weight our focal points in the context of our CR action areas using a phased materiality process. We also ask to them to tell us how well our sustainability messages fit their perception of the Deutsche Telekom Group and thus evaluate our communication efforts.
Implementing our stakeholder involvement strategy
We provide our employees with six stakeholder involvement principles to help integrate stakeholder involvement into our corporate culture. We also organize internal network meetings with the CR managers at the international subsidiaries and with employees from other departments. At these meetings, we talk about our experiences in working with stakeholders, share best practice cases and work together to come up with joint activities.
"Good to know" – internal CR newsletter launched
We also introduced an internal CR newsletter in 2014 under the title "Good to know" to provide information on new and key developments. Published every two months in German and English, it is distributed internationally to members of the Board of Management, managers, and interested employees. Close collaboration between CR and our core business is a key focal point. In the first two issues, we featured the following topics: leveraging business potential with CR, Scope 3 emissions, sustainable supply chain and socially responsible investment. The newsletter already has 500 subscribers since publication of its first issue.
We Care: New app magazine covering CR topics
We created the new We Care app magazine in 2014. The first magazine issue focused on “Change”. The second issue will cover “Confidentiality”, explaining the pitfalls in the digital world and showing how exposed users are to these risks.The magazine, which features entertaining content such as "Why cows are sending text messages and how life will be smarter in the future," is scheduled for regular publication. Another new feature is a quiz that lets readers test their knowledge and compete against their friends. The app magazine shows how Deutsche Telekom lives its social commitment and provides succinct information on important sustainability topics. Readers will also find all kinds of tips and tricks to help them act more responsibly. The We Care app magazine is available for free at the App Store for all Android and iOS smartphones and tablet PCs. In March 2015, our app magazine was downloaded around 38,000 times.
We also used a number of additional formats to involve our stakeholders during the reporting period. We focused on different offers ranging from information and dialog through to participation.