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  • 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report

Commitment to the German "Code of Responsible Conduct for Business"

We were among the first to sign the German Code of Responsible Conduct for Business, which was presented to the public in November 2010. All of the members of our Board of Management signed the code, making an express commitment to responsible corporate governance in line with the principles of the social market economy, to fair competition, cooperation with employee representatives, business excellence and sustainability. We have incorporated this commitment into our actions and have assumed a leading role in putting our commitment into practice.

In the spirit of the code, we feel obligated to engage in sustainable business practices and responsible corporate governance for the good of the people. We are continuously working to ensure that these requirements are implemented in our core business and our supply chain. In addition, we take responsibility for our employees and our social environment. We work to guarantee respect for human rights without exception.

We use our products and services to connect people and to increase the productivity of many processes. In this way, we help ensure that Germany and Europe can continue to make strides in international competition and that our well-being can continue to grow. Our smart digital solutions are creating new ways to effectively address social challenges such as climate change. Our goal is to simplify our lives for the long term. Our network helps us implement this broad social mission by acting as a lifeline: fast, reliable, secure and easily accessible to everyone. Just like all of our activities, these efforts are focused on people. We provide transparent information on our plans and technologies, engage in fair practices and are always open to dialog.

In line with the code, we continue to expand our leading position as a sustainable company as well as our ongoing efforts to optimize our value-added processes. To do so, for instance, we are increasing the energy and resource efficiency of our networks, services and products. In this way we are reducing the environmental impact and CO2emissions produced by our business activities. In 2014 our Board of Management approved a Group-wide climate protection target for 2020. Building on this work, we have been implementing an integrated climate strategy since 2015. We also offer our customers sustainable products and services and encourage our over 30,000 suppliers to do business with an equal focus on sustainability. To assist this process, we engage in various activities such as a systematic supplier development program and complete audits and training measures. We also train our buyers on sustainability criteria in procurement. In these efforts – just like in everything we do involving our diverse stakeholders – we primarily rely on partnership and dialog.

As a responsible employer, we see an opportunity in digitalization to continue to improve employee cooperation. Our future work concept explains our vision of the working world of the future. The concept makes room for virtual collaboration and other new ways of working. Digital learning and working methods are also part of the future standard. Employees can enroll in our Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or continue their education with learning games and short learning units when they are on the road. In 2017 more than 30 percent of all learning hours at our company were completed in digital form, a number we hope to increase to 60 percent in 2020. Our working world has also become more appealing in the spatial sense. We successfully completed our reconstruction activities at the Group headquarters in Bonn and at the Hamburg and Frankfurt locations in 2017.

We want our employees to have their say at our company – regardless of their position in the corporate hierarchy – and promote an active feedback culture to this end. We use the advantages of digitalization for this as well; for example, with our social network YAM, which has about 115,000 users Group-wide. Our employees can not only obtain comprehensive information on YAM but can also engage in cross-hierarchical dialog and raise topics that are important to them for discussion within the Group. Another key element of our feedback culture is our Group-wide employee survey.

Digitalization not only affects cooperation but our employees' health as well. We started a three-year joint project with BARMER in 2017 that examines how corporate health management will have to change in a digital working world of the future.

Our social commitment, however, is not just to our customers, partners and employees. We feel it is our responsibility to support the development of media literacy in our community. Our efforts in this area include the Teachtoday initiative, which promotes safe and competent media use. For example, around 120 children discussed the topic of data privacy at our 2017 Summit for Kids. We also redesigned our website in 2017, where we present our activities for increasing media literacy and protecting minors.

All our efforts regarding CR were rewarded in 2017, when we were named the winner of the German Sustainability Award in the Large Enterprises category.