2016 was a successful year for Deutsche Telekom. We continued to invest heavily and, once again, have grown strongly. At the same time, we maintain our ambition to be the leading telecommunications provider in Europe. This also applies to our role as a responsible company.
In geopolitical terms, 2016 was full of turmoil and unrest. A year of isolationism in which all too many emphasized that what separates people from each other and not what unites them. I believe this development is wrong, in principle, given the many global challenges we are all facing: be it climate change, the global prosperity gap, the refugee crisis or cyber security.
I am convinced that these challenges can only be resolved through mutual cooperation. Our corporate actions are also based on this principle: "Life is for Sharing" – this is who we are, and this is what we stand for. We will not stand for hate or isolationism. Instead, our networks create connections between people. They overcome boundaries. They promote sharing. And they contribute to the creation of communities.
In 2016, there were some positive signals for cross-border cooperation: On January 1, 2016, the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into force. In November, the climate conference in Marrakesh ratified the two degree target the international community agreed upon a year earlier in Paris. Just like with many other challenges, it is important that everyone works together to achieve these ambitious goals: politics, civil society and economy.
I firmly believe that digitization provides an effective tool to reach our common goals. It offers new opportunities to shape our coexistence on this planet. After all, digital technologies are based on the idea that boundaries can be overcome. And they are key for sustainable development. They can contribute, for instance, toward reducing greenhouse gases, conserving resources and improving health care. Just one example: Due to improved capacity utilization, our highly secure and energy-efficient data centers require up to 80 percent less energy than would be needed if customers operated this infrastructure individually.
But digitization goes hand in hand with data protection and security. We are especially committed to this area as we are developing solutions for secure e-mail traffic, protection against espionage for smartphones, solutions against cyber attacks or educating about risks and protection options.
Already, many of our products, services and activities contribute to greater sustainability. We are accounting for this process with the CR Report at hand. And we demonstrate specific progress made in reaching our sustainability targets.
Our philosophy: As a leading telecommunications provider, we take our social responsibility seriously - today more than ever. With this in mind, I would like to emphasize our commitment to the principles of the United Nations Global Compactand the German Sustainability Code.