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  • 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report
2016 Corporate Responsibility Report

Sustainable products and services

Here is a selection of material topics from the 2016 CR-Report. More information can be found in the chapters Customers & products and Climate & environment.

Continued analysis of the sustainability benefits of our products

One building block of our integrated climate strategy is to analyze the sustainability benefits of our product portfolio. In 2014 we began analyzing our portfolio together with external experts based on sustainability criteria [see analysis]. The current analysis for 2016 shows that the share of products and services with sustainability benefits is growing. The share was already at 39 percent in 2015, up from 37 percent in 2014 (excluding T-Mobile US).

Examples of sustainability benefits include reduced CO2 emissions thanks to virtual meetings instead of business trips, improved medical care by means of e-health solutions and conserving resources by replacing devices with digital solutions (e.g. phoning via a laptop instead of a fixed-line phone).

Overall, we have carried out in-depth analyses for 17 product groups with regard to their sustainability benefits and the corresponding business potential (as at end of 2016). We have illustrated the benefits of some selected products based on all three pillars of sustainability (ecological, social and economic).

We use the results of these analyses to advance our sustainable product portfolio. Future plans also include keeping our customers better informed of these sustainability benefits, thereby sharpening our competitive edge.

Heinz-Gerd Peters

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Heinz-Gerd Peters

M2M communication: Opportunities of digitization

Machines and products are becoming increasingly intelligent. Cars can communicate with repair shops, containers with cargo ships. The technology that makes this possible is called machine-to-machine communication, or M2M. By 2020 the number of M2M connections around the world is expected to increase to 2.5 billion. Machine-to-machine communication is an important area of growth for us.

M2M can help ideally coordinate the processes of various devices, vehicles and entire industrial facilities. This helps increase industrial productivity, ensure efficient logistics, recude energy consumption and conserve resources.

We support the German federal government's Industry 4.0 img initiative through our involvement in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. The initiative's objective is to maintain Germany's competitive edge in the technology sector.

New wireless technology allows for innovative applications
Our networks are the basis for a number of M2M applications, as mobile network technology is the key transmission channel of every M2M connection. In this respect, the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is gaining significance. As opposed to broadband applications, which enable transmission of large amounts of data, narrowband technology is specifically designed to reliably transfer very small data packages. Benefits of NB-IoT include its low energy requirements, extensive reach and low-cost device networking. NB-IoT is particularly suitable for use in logistics. When tracing transport containers, all that is needed is for the current position to be transferred about once an hour. Only very small amounts of data need to be transferred in small data packages – and not necessarily in real time. NB-IoT is based on existing standards and can therefore be operated in existing networks. The technology was approved in spring 2016. We played a leading role in the development of a standardized NB-IoT standard.

Example: The port of tomorrow
During the reporting period we continued our smartPORT logistics (SPL) pilot project for the port of Hamburg. The goal of the project is to improve HDV traffic flows at the port of Hamburg and in its vicinity. All relevant traffic and infrastructure data is collected and analyzed in real time for this purpose. Results can be used to inform users about waiting times, alternative routes or parking. The project is increasingly being integrated into commercial operation.

The port of tomorrow

Guiding principles for more data protection
In 2016 we introduced data privacy guidelines for the data collected in M2M communication. Among other things, the six rules define how Deutsche Telekom deals with personal data.

Living with telemedicine 4.0

Networking health services has many advantages. Telemedicine assistance systems can help patients and their families in everyday life and make work easier for medical personnel. In addition, they help lower costs. We are helping shape digital healthcare through numerous pilot projects, such as the antibiotics network and register with the St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig. The primary goal is to enable the fast, secure exchange of information between doctors, patients and health insurers.

Pioneering project "Living with telemedicine 4.0" in Halle
The project "Living with telemedicine 4.0," which is carried out in Halle in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, was presented in November of 2016. The model project is intended to provide new impetus for telemedicine. Deutsche Telekom provides the technical infrastructure. During the project, a residential complex for seniors will be equipped with many different telemedicine applications in 2017. This will spare the residents frequent visits to the doctor: they can independently measure data like their blood pressure, blood glucose, pulse, or weight. If necessary, they receive support from a medical professional. The measurement equipment sends vital signs to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Then the data is transmitted to the doctor through a secure mobile connection. The doctor can call up this data and take it into account in their treatment. If necessary, the doctor can contact the patient by telephone or video. The patient is invited for treatment to the doctor's office when required, or a home visit is scheduled.

Reiner Haselhoff, the Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, took over sponsorship of the project. Numerous other partners are involved in the project: from the housing industry, science, technology, hospitals, healthcare service providers, attorneys, financial service providers, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, and health insurance companies are on board.

National Telemedicine Network on the Aegean islands
On 2016, the OTE Group completed the National Telemedicine Network on behalf of the 2nd Regional Healthcare Administration of Piraeus & the Aegean. This network offers health services to the residents of some of the most remote islands in the Aegean and the tourists visiting these islands. The Network comprises of 43 telemedicine units which interconnect health centers on the Aegean islands with central hospitals in Piraeus and the region. It also offers tele-learning services to facilitate training for medical, nursing, and administrative personnel in real time.

Each telemedicine unit consists of a specially designed booth equipped with a high-definition camera, screen and special medical instruments streaming live images of examinations. Doctors and patients can communicate in real time with consultants based at hospitals in Piraeus with actual size visualization. This means that distance from central hospitals is eliminated as a factor, and air and land transport can be reduced.

Product certification: Blue Angel for speedphones

Sustainable products are a key factor in competition at our company. We keep our customers informed regarding environmental aspects and manufacturer specifications and give tips on how to use their devices in a way that is secure, energy-efficient and appropriate. We also tell them about ways to dispose of their devices that help conserve resources. We use well-known environmental labels when communicating with our customers.

Blue Angel for Deutsche Telekom products
95 percent of Telekom Deutschland's fixed-network devices are certified with the renowned Blue Angel environmental label. All of our DECT phones in our Sinus series and all phones in our Speedphone series bear this familiar symbol. Our speedphones are particularly energy-efficient, low-radiation and come with replaceable batteries. A new feature lets users configure the transmission power individually and thereby save energy. Updates can directly be transferred to the Speedphone, making the devices easy to update, extending their useful lives and reducing their carbon footprint.

In 2016, our Fairphone 2 became the first smartphone in our offer in Austria to bear the Blue Angel label. It is available at T-Mobile Austria.

TÜV Certified Green Products
In addition to the Blue Angel we are increasingly focusing on the TÜV Certified Green Product environmental label. This label exceeds the Blue Angel criteria in ways such as requiring inspections of working conditions at production sites. A number of our routers, including the Speedport Neo, have already been certified by this environmental label.

Cornelia Szyszkowitz

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Cornelia Szyszkowitz

Reduced CO2 emissions in data centers in Germany

We also keep our goal of reducing our carbon footprint in mind when planning and operating our data centers. To achieve this goal, T-Systems takes a two-step approach. It starts with optimizing energy consumption at each data center site and then continues with improving processes throughout the global data center landscape.

The key indicator of increased energy efficiency at our data centers is the PUE img factor. We were able to reduce the average PUE factor img at the T-Systems data centers in Germany from 1.85 to 1.54 between 2008 and 2016 (1.63 in 2015) due to ongoing data center consolidation measures. Applications from less efficient data centers are being migrated to new, highly efficiency data centers.

Data centers are becoming more energy-efficient

The DC11@2018 program for improving processes throughout our global data center landscape has been up and running since 2013. The project combines physical data center consolidation (i.e., reducing data center space and sites) with logical consolidation (i.e., virtualizing data center infrastructure). The objective of the DC11@2018 program is to consolidate global data center capacity at  FMO (future mode of operation) data centers using the latest IT technology. We effectively completed all of the steps necessary in this process in 2016.

The target average PUE factor at all FMO data centers will be 1.4 once the program has been completed in late 2018/early 2019. This requires a homogeneous IT landscape combined with optimum capacity utilization of data center infrastructure, IT hardware and the software running on the systems. We expect to see further significant reductions in CO2 emissions as a result. For the year 2020, the latest program plans indicate accumulated reductions in CO2 by up to 51 percent compared to 2012.

Our target PUE factor for our highly efficient data center in Biere is 1.3. By migrating data from outdated data centers to Biere, we were able to achieve a PUE factor of 1.46 by the end of 2016 and expect to record a PUE factor of 1.3 in Biere by late 2017.

Don't buy, rent

We want to make sure that used routers and media receivers don't just end up in the trash. That is why we promote the "Don't buy, rent" approach. Our rental services conserve resources, reduce electronic waste and prevent CO2 emissions. Customers return the devices if they cancel their contract. The devices are then either refurbished and rented out again or properly recycled. We have simplified the return process by introducing a returns portal. The online returns portal enables customers to manage their own returns. A twelve-month minimum contract term extends the devices' average usage space while also reducing returns before the minimum rental period is over. We actively and effectively promote the rental service in many ways including at Telekom Shops, online, via customer service and in product flyers. The offer has been well received by our customers; the number of people using the rental service increased to around 8.7 million by the end of 2016.

Number of users of the router and media receiver rental service

Used cell-phone collection

Too many used cell phones and smartphones are stuck in drawers or disposed of illegally with the household waste. Germany's recycling and reuse rate for small electronic appliances is much too low. Used cell phones, smartphones and tablets should be refurbished and reused or properly recycled to help us conserve valuable resources. We have been offering different ways for people to hand in their devices since 2003.

Customers have been able to return their used, high-end cell phones and smartphones to Telekom Shops under a buyback program since 2013. They receive store credit from the Telekom Shop reflecting their old device's current value, which they can use to purchase a new device, or they can choose to have the amount booked to their customer account. In collaboration with Teqcycle Solutions and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), we also operate the Handysammelcenter (cell-phone collection center) online portal, which was redone in 2016. The new website provides an overview of our partners and collection campaigns. Companies can use the portal to properly and safely dispose of their used cell phones and smartphones free of charge and receive a certificate as confirmation. Authorities, associations and other organizations can use the portal to launch their own collection campaigns.

In 2016, we collected 273 079 used cell phones and smartphones throughout Germany and either reused them or had them properly recycled. The entire cell-phone collection process is DEKRA certified and complies with strict data privacy standards. The joint cell-phone collection system run by Telekom Deutschland and DUH entered its thirteenth year in 2016. More than 2 million used cell phones have been collected so far.

Support for different collection campaigns
As in previous years, we supported the Die Handyaktion campaign conducted by different church-affiliated groups in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2016. The campiagn is going to be expanded in collaboration with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment.

The "Responsibility and sustainability. Join in!" collection campaign in Saarland, which we have been supporting since 2014, was extended due to ongoing interest. The Netzwerk Entwicklungspolitik im Saarland e.V. (NES) network took over the project's office activities in 2016. We are still a cooperation partner to the campaign, which focuses on projects such as providing special course material on the topics of cell-phone collection and resource efficiency. The campaign was acknowledged as a Werkstatt N project by the federal government's Council for Sustainable Development in 2016. That makes it one of Germany's 100 most innovative sustainable projects.

Woche der Umwelt expert forum
In 2016 Telekom Deutschland organized an expert forum in collaboration with DUH at the Woche der Umwelt (Environment Week) trade fair held on the park grounds at Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the president of Germany. Guests had the opportunity to ask questions about cell-phone collection and recycling processes. Woche der Umwelt is a trade fair for innovative environmental protection technologies and products. Around 13,000 people attended the event at the invitation of the German President and the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).

Cornelia Szyszkowitz

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Cornelia Szyszkowitz