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  • Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.
  • 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report
2016 Corporate Responsibility Report

Added value and materiality

Which sustainability topics are relevant for our revenue development, capacity for innovation and reputation? Which topics matter to our stakeholders, e.g., our shareholders, customers and employees, as well as the public? In what areas and in what ways do our business operations impact society and the environment? We need to know the answers to these questions if we want to be successful in financial and ecological terms as well as in the eyes of society, which is why our materiality process is not solely based on our own perspective but also takes into account the needs and interests of our stakeholders.


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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 img 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 img.

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.

The organizational structure at a glance

We strive to make an effective contribution to sustainable development along all parts of our supply chain.

Simplified illustration of Deutsche Telekom’ssupply chain

Consistent materiality process

GRI-Indikator G4-18

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 img 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 img 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.

Stakeholders img also 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.

Inaluk Schaefer

Do you have questions on this topic?
Ask our expert:

Inaluk Schaefer

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 result
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.

Materiality Matrix

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.

Material aspects matched with GRI aspects

GRI-Indikator G4-19

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  
  • Customer privacy
  • Customer health and safety
  Protecting consumers and young people
2 Privacy   Protecting our infrastructure
3 Cyber safety   Laying the foundation for effective data privacy
4 ICT img solutions for a low-carbon economy  
  • Products and services
  Developing sustainable products and services
5 Employee involvement  
  • Labor/management relations
  • freedom of association and collective bargaining
  Shaping employee relations as a responsible employer
6 ICT and child safety  
  • Customer health and safety
  Protecting consumers and young people
7 Service quality  
  • Product and service labeling
  Ensuring excellent service quality
8 Talent acquisition, retention, development and staff reduction  
  • Employment, training and education
  Investing in training and development
9 Transparency and reporting  
  • (no matching GRI aspect available)
10 Climate change mitigation  
  • Emissions
  • energy
  Protecting the climate Operating energy-efficient networks
11 Socially relevant application of ICT products and services      
12 Network expansion  
  • Indirect economic impacts
  Expanding our infrastructure
13 Ethical business practices and compliance  
  • Compliance
  • anti-corruption
  Ensuring integrity and compliance
14 Stakeholder engagement  
  • Stakeholder engagement
  Ensuring integrity and compliance
15 Supply chain labor standards  
  • Supplier assessment for labor practices
  • supplier human rights assessment
  Ensuring integrity and compliance Improving sustainability in the supply chain
16 Sustainable product design      
17 Employee health, safety and wellness  
  • Occupational health and safety
  Promoting the health of our workforce
18 Employee diversity and anti-discrimination  
  • Non-discrimination
  • equal remuneration for women and men
  • diversity and equal opportunity
  Protecting human rights