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2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
News …… Time to act …… News …… Pioneers wanted …… News …… #TAKEPART – that’s what matters ……

„I make heating oil out of plastic waste.“

IT entrepreneur Günther Bonin and his maritime waste collection mission.

New ways to combat
plastic waste in the oceans

Researchers forecast that there will be more pieces of plastic in our oceans than fish by the year 2050. Over time, the plastic disintegrates into tiny micro particles that end up in our bodies through food. Munich-based IT entrepreneur and enthusiastic sailor Günther Bonin gave up his old life and founded the organization One Earth – One Ocean. His goal: Maritime waste collection that picks up plastic from the ocean. His vision: To turn plastic into fuel for ships in the medium term.

Simply save plastic We show in our sustainability magazine WeCare why 44 grams less plastic waste a day already helps, and what simple tricks can be used to avoid plastic. More information can be found here.

sometimes make
it too easy
for themselves.“

  • An interview with Dr. Maja Göpel

    We need to raise awareness about resource conservation not only in relation to plastic, but also in many other areas. Dr. Maja Göpel is familiar with the scope of the challenge and what it means for companies, politics and each individual consumer. She has been Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) since September 1, 2017.

  • Ms. Göpel, you have been focusing on sustainability and resource conservation for many years. What is your personal motivation for this work?

    I grew up with people who placed value on intact nature, peace on earth and social justice. My thoughts then were: “If that’s what everyone wants, why aren’t we as a society putting it into practice?” And since I’ve had children, the sense of responsibility to leave behind a planet you would have wanted yourself has grown even stronger.

  • How can we picture the work you do in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)?

    The WBGU is a council that advises the government. Politics is often influenced by short-term requirements and individual interests. There also needs to be a voice that puts everything into a wider context and shows how these short-term changes add up to make a long-term impact. Every two years we publish a report in which we assess future economic and social developments and compare them with the goal of global sustainability. At the same time, we want to point out ways in which we can shape the developments accordingly. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate accord serve as guides for our work.

  • It’s not just politics but also companies that need to contribute to more resource conservation. Are companies already assuming enough responsibility in your view?

    I think that awareness in companies of their responsibility has risen rapidly over the past years. That’s essential, because politics also always needs a sign from business that supply security and competitiveness can be reinterpreted and implemented in a sustainable manner. But from my point of view, one major change still needs to be made. If we really want to make business models and production chains circular, in other words, in line with a closed-loop economy from cradle to grave, then we need a rethink along the entire value chain: from the selection of materials and extraction methods from the ground, to more durable product design and entirely new usage and business models. That requires new forms of collaboration, also across company boundaries and sectors.

  • The WBGU is currently preparing a new report that looks at the impact of digitalization on sustainable development. Do you think that the digital transformation can help save resources?

    The finding from our report can be summarized as “both one and the other”. In any case, there’s great potential. This includes, for instance, shifting energy supply to renewables and energy use driven by actual demand through smart grids and smart buildings. Or digitally-supported precision farming and a digitally-supported circular economy. Other examples show that the answer is not always clear: Streaming services instead of DVDs may improve the resource balance, but above a certain streaming quality can worsen the CO2 balance.

    So the question is: How can we conserve resources without radically ramping up the energy supply needed to operate all the new digital services? We can’t simply shift the problem. And another important question is: What does that do to people’s consumer habits? When exciting technological innovations replace current products that were actually still useful, it’s associated with a large boost in consumption. If smart clothing becomes a mass product, for instance, some people might want to replace their entire wardrobe. And because digital products rapidly become obsolete, the result will also be a rapid rise in the amount of electronic scrap. The raw materials used are often so small and melted during assembly that recycling becomes very difficult. So: The answer is not simple. We have to look at the whole picture rather than take a one-sided view of CO2 and energy figures.

  • Speaking of consumption: What possibilities do you see for persuading people to become more sustainable consumers?

    As a consumer, I can only make a decision in connection with a given offer. If there are hardly any sustainable options on offer, that puts a tight limit on my power. And if environmental costs continue to be externalized, sustainable products will remain far more expensive. Responsibility for restructuring the offering therefore lies first and foremost with policy makers and companies – and consumers can then make their mark within that framework. Companies sometimes make it too easy for themselves. A car maker can’t run one ad after another touting its SUVs and then say that its customers don’t want smaller cars. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about the extent to which companies use their marketing messages to suggest what we must have in order to lead a good life. And ask ourselves: Will my life really be worse if I drive a smaller car, eat less meat or take fewer trips by plane? Or: What could these companies change in their value chain with this marketing budget?

We simply need
to adopt a more sustainable manner
of thinking in
everything we do.

Timotheus Höttges CEO Deutsche Telekom

What we’re doing
to conserve

We want to improve the responsible use of resources in all stages of our value chain, both within our company and with our suppliers and customers. We have already been working with our suppliers for years on finding ways and opportunities to make ICT products as resource-efficient as possible. By reducing packaging, we reduce waste for our customers. We are also forerunners when it comes to collecting used devices and having our fixed-line products certified with the Blue Angel environmental label. In addition to this, we are notably promoting resource conservation by virtualizing our products. And thanks to our network, it’s easier to make use of “sharing economy” offerings that contribute to resource conservation by dispensing with bought goods. With our “Stop Wasting – Start Caring!” initiative, we gave even more emphasis to resource conservation at our company in 2018.

SDG 12
Saving our natural resources

The strategy of avoiding waste is our contribution to the twelfth United Nations SDG, to save our natural resources.

We’re helping to reduce the
mountains of waste.


volunteer Green Pioneers are committed to saving resources at the company.

„Stop Wasting
– Start Caring!“

The aim of our “Stop Wasting –Start Caring!” initiative is to use and recycle resources as efficiently as possible in line with the concept of a circular economy – for example, by reducing the amount of plastic, paper, and packaging we use even further and avoiding it wherever possible. In September 2018, Tim Höttges called on all employees to join in the initiative in their own work environment. Existing and new innovative measures and programs will be presented in the You and Me (YAM) internal social network so that we can learn from and inspire one another. Many new ideas have already been developed and initial measures implemented in connection with the initiative: In one unit, quick guides for customers will now only be printed on demand for individual orders, eliminating preproduction and storage. Around 20 dedicated colleagues have banded together in the “Stop Wasting - Start Caring!” core team. In keeping with its name, the team examines core processes at the company: from product design to device management, always looking for ways to leverage greater resource conservation.

In January 2019, we launched the “Green Pioneers” movement. Some 80 employees from 25 cities have signed up and taken on the role of sustainability ambassador. On their own initiative they develop green ideas for greater sustainability at Deutsche Telekom: from motion detectors in restrooms to lower electricity costs for lighting, or the “flower meadow instead of golfing green” idea to attract more insects and birds at Deutsche Telekom locations, to the Magenta ride-sharing agency for employees. More Green Pioneers will strengthen the movement during this year.

A cloud that conserves resources

With cloud computing, our customers no longer need to be bothered with their own servers and storage media. Cloud computing is more resource and energy-efficient than running your own infrastructure outside of the cloud. Our data centers require up to 80 percent less energy thanks to more effective capacity utilization and less hardware.

Less is more

One example of resource conservation is the new Speedport PRO router. Its inner workings consist of recycled plastic. To protect it during transport, we use PaperFoam – a material made of industrial starch, cellulose fibers and water that can be disposed of with paper waste or composted. By reducing packaging, we also reduce waste for our customers. Since 2017 we have been using two new packaging machines that produce custom-fit boxes for our products. This also results in up to 95 percent less filling material.

Dedicated to
a longer
life for devices

22 . 9

T-Mobile USA has been able to resell 22.9 million electronic devices since 2008.

Recycling and reuse of devices plays an important role for us – the same is true for our national companies. One example is the OTE Group: It is one of the first companies in Greece to recondition modems and TV decoders. Returned devices are given a comprehensive check, repaired and returned to use. If repair is not possible, the equipment goes to licensed disposal companies where it is recycled in a professional and environmentally friendly manner. In 2018, the Group collected more than 190,000 devices and more than 170,000 of them could be reconditioned for use.

In the USA, mobile customers can turn in their electronic devices to T-Mobile USA to have them recycled – whether a cellphone, battery, accessory, tablet or laptop, and regardless of brand and model. These devices are also reconditioned to be returned to use or, if that's not possible, they are recycled. Since 2008, more than 22.9 million devices have been resold. In 2018 alone, T-Mobile USA collected almost 4 million used cellphones.

Turning electronic scrap into treasure

In light of the switch to IP technology and the dismantling of analog infrastructures, we will disassemble tons of old electronics over the coming years. We intend to recover precious metals such as gold and tantalum from the scrap. However, we don’t yet have suitable recycling methods for all metals, such as for tantalum, which is produced from coltan ore. Coltan ore is classed as a conflict mineral because it mainly comes from civil war regions in the DR Congo where human rights violations are frequently committed. Together with the bifa Umweltinstitut environmental institute, we are working on the most suitable method of recovering tantalum from electronic scrap.

Closing the circle

Resources used must be fully returned to the production process after the product’s or good’s lifecycle has ended. We have to stop being a throwaway society and become a circular economy. To learn about how we are promoting the circular economy, click here.


Time to act – new Group-wide climate target

Deutsche Telekom to switch to electricity from renewables

Schoolchildren across the globe are giving it their all for the environment. They have a question for politicians – and businesses, too: “Are you building the future, or wrecking it?” We have listened. We have set ourselves a new, ambitious climate target to use only electricity (Scope 2) from 100-percent renewable energy sources across the entire Group from 2021. By 2030, emissions from gas, oil and other energy sources (Scope 1) are also to drop so we can reduce our CO2 emissions (Scope 1 & 2) by 90 percent compared to 2017 levels.

We are also focusing on CO2 emissions from our supply chain and that our customers generate when using our products and solutions (Scope 3). By 2030, we aim to reduce CO2 emissions per customer by 25 percent compared to 2017. In the future, T-Mobile US will also be included in the Group climate protection target. Our previous climate target of decreasing Group-wide CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008 will continue to apply until 2020. We are currently on track to achieve this target.

Climate protection from 2020 onward – new climate goal and revised climate protection strategy

Pioneers wanted

Turning employees into sustainability ambassadors

Cycling more often, creating less waste, lowering energy consumption – the list of ideas for improving sustainability at Deutsche Telekom is long. There are many employees who want to get involved and inspire others to do the same. In January 2019, CEO Tim Höttges invited the first Green Pioneers to a meeting in Bonn.

83 employees from 25 cities and countless green ideas: The results from the first meeting are impressive. “I want to be a pioneer and encourage my colleagues,” says one colleague about her motivation for being there. As part of the “Stop Wasting – Start Caring” initiative, the Green Pioneers movement is bringing together everyone who shares the same idea.

Workshops, discussion sessions and lectures gave participants the opportunity to learn more about Smart Home, artificial intelligence and design thinking. The Group Corporate Responsibility (GCR) unit provided insight into the sustainability work of Deutsche Telekom. And Tim Höttges made clear what is important to him: Rethinking your own pattern of behavior and reaching out to colleagues with emotional, interesting projects to raise awareness and enthusiasm for sustainability.

The first joint campaign: an internal collection drive for old cell phones. Used devices lying forgotten in drawers will be collected and properly disposed of or professionally recycled. The location that collects the most cell phones in relation to the number of employees will win an evening barbecue with Tim Höttges.

The Green Pioneers are also pursuing their ideas individually or in small teams, because even the smallest effort makes a valuable contribution. The movement is set to grow every quarter: Every three months, new company employees have the opportunity to join in.

#TAKEPART – that’s what matters

Deutsche Telekom launches campaign on digital participation

According to the latest D21-Digital-Index study, some 13 million people in Germany are in digital no man’s land. They feel overwhelmed and even left behind by the pace of digitalization. Deutsche Telekom sees it as its responsibility to give everyone the opportunity to have a stake in the increasingly “digital” society. To underline the importance of its aspiration, Deutsche Telekom is launching a new campaign called #TAKEPART on March 1, 2019.

An emotional, fast-cut TV commercial shows a range of people in different everyday situations. It homes in on their feelings and affections. It’s about community and taking part. The message: “You are whatever you #TAKEPART in. You show responsibility for yourselves, for many, for everyone. For everything that you #TAKEPART in. You are one country, one community. You are whatever you #TAKEPART in. And we, Deutsche Telekom, are only happy when everyone, without exception, can #TAKEPART.”

“We enable people to have a stake in the digital world via our products and services. And the best network is the basis,” says Michael Schuld, Head of Communications and Sales Marketing at Telekom Deutschland. Over the course of the year, special offerings will be advertised as part of the campaign that open up access to the digital world.