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  • 2017 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, for example 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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Business activities and organization

With 168 million mobile communications customers, around 28 million fixed-network and around 19 million broadband lines, we are one of the leading integrated telecommunications companies worldwide. We offer our consumers fixed-network/broadband, mobile, Internet, and Internet-based TV products and services, as well as ICT img solutions for our business and corporate customers. We have an international focus and are represented in more than 50 countries. With a staff of some 217,300 employees throughout the world, we generated revenue of 74.9 billion euros in the 2017 financial year, around 67 percent of which was generated outside Germany (December 31, 2017).

We believe that economic, social, and ecological aspects can be reconciled; sustainability is the guiding principle behind all our actions. A range of sector-specific and general conditions are crucial to the success of business activities. These include first-rate quality at reasonable costs – in data privacy and security, in customer service, in network build-out and in materials procurement – as well as qualified staff and good working conditions within our own Group as well as at our suppliers. It is also important to consider the potential consequences of climate change for our business activities: for example, to construct our network infrastructure in such a way that it is protected from severe weather conditions, changes in temperatures and higher wind speeds. We also help our customers reduce their carbon footprint with innovative products and services. Furthermore, we want to reduce the Group’s CO2 emissions despite rapid growth in data traffic and the network build-out that this requires. We do everything we can to ensure that our actions are socially acceptable, even beyond our core business. For us, this means conducting ourselves in a way that is ethical and compliant with the law and informing and involving our stakeholders in a transparent way.

You can find additional information on our business development in the 2017 Annual Report.

As illustrated in the diagram, our Group consists of five operating segments.

Grafik: The organizational structure at a glance

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

Grafik: Simplified illustration of Deutsche Telekom’s supply chain

Material sustainability topics: Systematic process based on recognized methods

We systematically identify which topics are of particular importance 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. The analysis is based on knowledge from previous year's results and assesses these in the light of recent developments.

Since 2015, we implement this materiality process at our company 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 into nine categories: digital inclusion, employee relationships, climate change, circular economy, sourcing and manufacturing, customer relationships, freedom of expression and privacy, governance and management, 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. The materiality topics have been developed to pertain to a variety of companies and are therefore recognized in the industry.

You can find an assessment of our materiality process here.

Material topics from the stakeholder perspective
In our continuous online survey, our stakeholders can not only rate topics according to their importance but also assess our performance in the respective areas (click here for the online survey). 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, 2017. The assessment was based on evaluations submitted by 218 people:

  • 93 customers
  • 55 employees and potential employees or employee representatives
  • 17 analysts and investors
  • 15 participants from the worlds of science, research and education
  • 19 NGO representatives
  • 4 suppliers
  • 3 representatives from regulatory authorities and political decision-makers
  • 12 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 open-ended questions. 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. In contrast, they see potential for improvement in the topics of open sourcing and conflict materials (as of December 2017).

Material topics from the corporate perspective
New developments that are of importance to our sustainability engagement are also evaluated internally. We hold workshops at the Group when required so that various topics can be weighted internally. 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:

The next workshop on internal weighing of topics is slated for the third quarter of 2018.

Inaluk Schaefer

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Inaluk Schaefer

Results of the materiality analysis

In our materiality analysis topics are rated 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 overall 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 2017

Top topics for Deutschen Telekom's sustainable business development
We consider all topics that achieved more than 70 points on average in the materiality process to be top topics. They are presented on a scale of 60 to 100 below.

Materiality Matrix of Deutschen Telekom

Top-Subjects for 2017 (excerpt)

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   Customer privacy   Protecting consumers and minors
2 Privacy   Customer privacy  

Ensuring effective data privacy

3 Service quality   Stakeholder engagement   Ensuring excellent service quality
4 Cyber safety   Customer privacy  

Protecting ourselves and our customers

5 ICT img solutions for a low-carbon economy  

Products and services

  Developing sustainable products and services

Talent acquisition, employee retention, development and staff reduction


Employment, training and education


Preparing ourselves for the digital working world

7 Employee involvement  

Labor/management relations

Freedom of association and collective bargaining


Shaping change at the company

How we protect human rights

8 Climate change mitigation  



  Protecting the climate
9 ICT and child safety   Customer health and safety   Protecting consumers and minors
10 Socially relevant application of ICT products and services   Products and services   Developing sustainable products and services
11 Network expansion   Indirect economic impacts   Expanding our infrastructure
12 Transparency and reporting  

Identified material aspects and boundaries

Report profile

13 Ethical business practices and compliance  

Socioeconomic compliance


  Ensuring integrity and compliance
14 Supply chain labor standards  

Procurement practices

Forced or compulsory labor

Supplier social assessment


Improving sustainability in the supply chain

How we protect human rights

Managing sustainability in procurement processes

Ensuring integrity and compliance

15 Employee health, safety and wellness   Occupational health and safety   Promoting the health of our workforce
16 Inclusion of stakeholders   Stakeholder engagement  

Fostering stakeholder engagement

17 Employee diversity and anti-discrimination  


Diversity and equal opportunity


How we protect human rights

Supporting diversity