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 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.
We strive to make an effective contribution to sustainable development along all parts of our 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 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 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 2017).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
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:
- Technology and innovation: Our customers' increasing demand for secure, encrypted services has made topics like data security 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 about 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? Above all comprehensive employee involvement and fundamental requirements such as data security, service quality, stakeholder involvement and compliance have an impact here.
- Employee relations: The topics of talent acquisition, employee retention, development and downsizing, employee involvement, employee health, safety and well-being as well as diversity and anti-discrimination also have a big impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. A service-oriented corporate culture (service quality), ethical business practices and transparency as well 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.
The next workshop on internal weighing of topics is slated for the third quarter of 2018.
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.
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|
|3||Service quality||Stakeholder engagement||Ensuring excellent service quality|
|4||Cyber safety||Customer privacy|
|5||ICTsolutions 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
|7||Employee involvement|| |
Freedom of association and collective bargaining
|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
|13||Ethical business practices and compliance|| |
|Ensuring integrity and compliance|
|14||Supply chain labor standards|| |
Forced or compulsory labor
Supplier social assessment
|15||Employee health, safety and wellness||Occupational health and safety||Promoting the health of our workforce|
|16||Inclusion of stakeholders||Stakeholder engagement|
|17||Employee diversity and anti-discrimination|| |
Diversity and equal opportunity