Our business operations and added value
More than 165 million mobile communications customers, 29 million fixed-line customers and roughly 19 million broadband connections make us one of the world's leading ICT companies. We offer consumers a wide range of products and services in the areas of fixed-line/broadband, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV. corporate and business customers also rely on our ICT services. Deutsche Telekom operates in more than 50 countries. With a staff of some 218,300 employees throughout the world, we generated revenue of 73.1 billion euros in the 2016 financial year, around 66 percent of which was generated outside Germany (December 31, 2016).
So that we can continue to be successful, we are already evolving from a traditional telephone company into an entirely new kind of service company. Our core business, i.e., the operation and sale of networks and connections, remains the basis. But at the same time we are proactively committing to business areas that open up new growth opportunities for us. Because increasingly larger amounts of data need to be transported at ever faster speeds, we offer our customers fixed-line, mobile communications and IPTV from one source. This also calls for ever more efficient networks, which is why we invest in network expansion more than any other provider in Germany – more than 34 billion euros in total from 2010 through 2016.
Our subsidiary T-Systems offers integrated solutions for business customers, including secure operation of their systems, traditional ICT services and cloud solutions as well as new business models and innovation projects in forward-thinking fields such as data analysis, the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and Industry 4.0.
As illustrated in the diagram, our Group consists of four operating segments. The 2016 Annual Report provides more in-depth data regarding our business development.
We strive to make an effective contribution to sustainable development along all parts of our supply chain.
Consistent materiality process
Every year we identify which topics are of particular relevance in defining Deutsche Telekom's sustainability management and sustainability reporting focus from the perspective of our stakeholders as well as from an internal corporate perspective. We use previous year results as the basis and assess these in the light of recent developments.
This materiality process has been in place at our company since 2015 in compliance with the methodology of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). This methodology covers 55 topics that are material to the ICT industry. These can be placed in nine categories: digital inclusion, employee relationships, climate change, circular economy, sourcing and manufacturing, customer relationships, privacy and freedom of expression, governance, and local community and environment impacts. The advantage of using the GeSI methodology is that it allows us to focus on our core business as an ICT service provider. In addition, the materiality topics have been developed to pertain to a variety of companies and are therefore recognized in the industry.
You can find the analysis of our materiality process here.
Material topics from our stakeholders' perspective
Our online survey is always available for our stakeholders to weight topics based on their importance as well as, since 2016, our performance in the different areas. In the survey, stakeholders are asked to rate the topics that have been identified through our internal materiality process. This ongoing, logical process makes it possible to achieve comparable results. To help us identify which aspects are most material for our stakeholders, we assessed the results of the survey for the period from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. You can find the online survey here. The assessment was based on evaluations submitted by 143 people:
- 53 customers
- 41 employees and potential employees or employee representatives
- 9 analysts and investors
- 10 participants from the worlds of science, research and education
- 12 NGO representatives
- 4 suppliers
- 3 representatives from regulatory authorities and political decision-makers
- 11 employees who associated themselves with none of the groups mentioned
In addition to giving stakeholders a chance to rate the importance of topics and assess our performance, the survey also includes questions open to comment. You can find our stakeholder feedback from the reporting period here.
Stakeholdersalso have the opportunity to assess our performance in different areas. Our stakeholders rate our performance high in the key areas of privacy, data security and cyber safety. However, they do see potential for improvement in the areas of sustainable product design and the socially relevant application of ICT products and services.
Material topics from the company perspective
We continue to reevaluate the importance of topics every year, conducting internal workshops to assist us in this process as needed. Most recently in November 2015, numerous experts from different departments, including Human Resources, Innovation and Communications, participated in one of these workshops. They went through the 55 GeSI topics and identified those that had the most impact on five key value drivers behind our business success from a corporate perspective (see below). These value drivers are also based on the GeSI methodology:
- Technology and innovation: Our customers' increasing demand for secure, encrypted services has made topics like data privacy and cyber security two of the most significant drivers of innovation at our company.
- Revenue growth: We are able to tap new markets and reach out to new customers through network expansion. High service quality is decisive when it comes to customer satisfaction and therefore has a direct impact on winning over customers and customer loyalty. Customer inquiries on sustainable products are still limited in number but continue to grow, which is why this topic has been identified as an important driver.
- Business operations: Which topics have a positive impact on business processes or help reduce costs? Extensive employee involvement and fundamental basics like data privacy, service quality, stakeholder involvement and compliance are particularly important.
- Employee relations: Talent acquisition, retention, development and staff reduction, employee involvement, employee health, safety and wellness and employee diversity and anti-discrimination all have a tremendous impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. Maintaining a service-oriented corporate culture (service quality), ethical business practices and transparency also have a positive impact on employee relations.
- Reputation: A high degree of transparency and extensive reporting create lasting trust in Deutsche Telekom. Topics such as business practices, service quality, privacy and supply chain labor standards, on the other hand, can pose risks to our reputation. If the media negatively reports on our brands, products or services in connection with these topics, this can damage our reputation.
Results of the materiality analysis
In our stakeholder survey and at our internal workshop, participants can rate topics as "very relevant," "relevant," "less relevant" and "not relevant." We translate their weighting results onto a 100-point scale. Here are the results of the analysis.
The following illustration shows how all of the topics were rated by our stakeholders and from a corporate perspective on a scale of 0 to 100.
All Subjects for 2016
Key aspects for Deutsche Telekom's sustainable business development
All topics that earned more than 70 points on an average in the materiality process are considered to be key aspects. They are presented on a scale of 50 to 100 below.
Top-Subjects for 2016
Material aspects matched with GRI aspects
The following overview indicates which GRI aspects can be matched with the material areas of the stakeholder survey.
|#||Material aspects||GRI aspects||Management approach|
|1||Data security|| ||Protecting consumers and young people|
|2||Privacy||Protecting our infrastructure|
|3||Cyber safety||Laying the foundation for effective data privacy|
|4||ICTsolutions for a low-carbon economy|| ||Developing sustainable products and services|
|5||Employee involvement|| ||Shaping employee relations as a responsible employer|
|6||ICT and child safety|| ||Protecting consumers and young people|
|7||Service quality|| ||Ensuring excellent service quality|
|8||Talent acquisition, retention, development and staff reduction|| ||Investing in training and development|
|9||Transparency and reporting|| |
|10||Climate change mitigation|| ||Protecting the climate Operating energy-efficient networks|
|11||Socially relevant application of ICT products and services|| |
|12||Network expansion|| ||Expanding our infrastructure|
|13||Ethical business practices and compliance|| ||Ensuring integrity and compliance|
|14||Stakeholder engagement|| ||Ensuring integrity and compliance|
|15||Supply chain labor standards|| ||Ensuring integrity and compliance Improving sustainability in the supply chain|
|16||Sustainable product design|| |
|17||Employee health, safety and wellness|| ||Promoting the health of our workforce|
|18||Employee diversity and anti-discrimination|| ||Protecting human rights|