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2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
News …… My vote counts! …… News …… Time to act …… News …… Pioneers wanted ……

„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.


My vote counts!

We can’t afford to take democracy for granted!

It’s clear that “the sovereignty of the people” only works as long as the people are ready to play their part – and that’s just what the citizens of Athens did over 2,500 years ago. Democracy was to last for almost 200 years in Athens. This was followed by more than 2,000 years in which emperors, kings, and feudal lords controlled our destinies. It was in modern times that democracy was first rediscovered. Democracy was only to see its definitive victory after the Second World War. But it is still far from being a given.

Stopping massive bee death, introducing a speed limit of 130 km/h on German freeways, blocking plans for the intended upload filters – more and more people are regaining the sense that they can actively take part in politics and effectively influence their own lives – at home on the sofa, at the bus stop, or even from their hospital bed – and a click on the internet makes that possible. In the new edition of “We Care”, “My vote counts”, you will learn about the possibilities offered by digital democracy, what dangers are hiding around the corner, why the smartest way to protest is by voting, and what might happen if Europe were to break up.

Would you like to learn more about the subject together with friends? 1001 Truth tells true stories of our digital world – in German, English, and simple language – and provides suggestions on how to master the topics together. “Digital Democracy” includes subjects such as the difference between forming opinions and spin, as well as what each and every one of us can do to strengthen democracy in the age of the internet.

On the site, Deutsche Telekom puts together resources to help people deal with the digital revolution safely and competently. Our Teachtoday initiative is aimed primarily at children, teens, parents, and grandparents, and promotes the safe use of media from an early age. The current feature dossier, “Co-determination,” provides information on democratic participation and co-determination online, scrutinizing its pros and cons, and risks and opportunities. Only those who know how the digital world works, the forces present within it, and the goals pursued by those forces are equipped to protect themselves effectively and use the opportunities that the internet offers for the benefit of our democracy and our freedom.

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.

Ethical principles honored

Deutsche Telekom among the “World’s Most Ethical Companies 2019”

We are very proud: For the second time in a row, the Ethisphere Institute has honored Deutsche Telekom as one of the world’s most ethical companies. Only four companies in the telecommunications industry were included in the list. In addition, Deutsche Telekom is the only company from Germany to make it into the group of most ethical companies. A total of 128 companies from 21 countries were honored.

The Ethisphere Institute evaluates companies using a comprehensive rating system developed together with international experts from business and science. Factors taken into account are “compliance program” (35%), “responsibility and sustainability” (20%), “corporate culture” (20%), “governance” (15%) and “leadership, innovation and reputation” (10%). The companies have to answer more than 350 questions and provide supporting documentation as verification.

“Our customers, shareholders and politicians expect us to stand by our responsibility as an international, listed company and live out an ethical value culture,” says Manuela Mackert, Chief Compliance Officer at Deutsche Telekom.

From a blessing to a curse

Plastic - once a useful product became a threat to our health and our planet.

Our sustainability magazine We Care provides information on current challenges. The new issue "plastic" shows, how a useful product became a threat to our environment in just a few decades.

You may also find tips on how each of us can contribute to change the situation. You have further tips? Then share them in the article “Bye-bye, plastic”.

A place on the podium

Deutsche Telekom Sustainability Report among the best

In the 10th ranking of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the business association future e.V., Deutsche Telekom won a place on the podium: It achieved third place in the large companies’ category with its 2017 Sustainability Report.

We impressed, among other things, by precisely quantifying the sustainability benefits of products and services and, in combination with the HR Factbook, in reporting especially comprehensively on the topic of employee responsibility. Compared with the previous ranking, Deutsche Telekom once again improved significantly: Last time it took 8th place.

In the ranking, IÖW and future analyzed a total of 69 reports published by large companies and 40 by small and medium-sized enterprises using a predetermined set of criteria.


Special merit

Study rates Deutsche Telekom as the most valuable European telecommunications brand

It’s not only movies, but also brands that can be awarded special merit. In both cases it takes a high degree of quality. According to a recent study by “Brand Finance Global 500”, Deutsche Telekom achieved the highest brand value in its history in 2018, making it once again the most valuable European telecommunications brand.

Deutsche Telekom’s brand value in 2018 stood at 46.26 billion U.S. dollars. That’s an increase of 15.2 percent over the previous year. Since the realignment of the brand in 2008, Deutsche Telekom has steadily increased its value by a total of 420 percent.

Once a year, the British consulting firm Brand Finance determines the most valuable brands worldwide. Brand Finance attributes Deutsche Telekom’s position in the list to the successful implementation of its international brand strategy. In addition, the Group scored points through its positive economic development and sustainable investments in network quality, innovations and customer service.

Among the best

Deutsche Telekom is among the leading companies in the fight against climate change

The independent organization CDP annually recognizes companies that assume a leading role with regard to climate protection. Deutsche Telekom is part of the “A-Team” for the third time in a row.

More than 7,000 companies worldwide took part in the CDP investor program in 2018. 127 of them made it onto the climate A list. The criteria that determine admission to the top group: appropriate climate protection measures, efficient monitoring, transparent reporting and a dedicated commitment to more climate protection that goes beyond the company’s borders. As CDP is a leading ranking organization in the area of climate protection, its rankings are also incorporated into other important sustainability ratings.

The award is no reason for Deutsche Telekom to rest on its laurels. In 2019, among other things, we will approve a new and ambitious climate protection target. More on this in the next CR Report, to be published at the end of March.


Deutsche Telekom CEO starts new employee initiative

In view of the growing mountains of waste, Deutsche Telekom is taking responsibility with a new initiative. "We simply need a more sustainability-oriented way of thinking in everything we do," said DT CEO Tim Höttges at an employee meeting in September. That's why I started the 'Stop Wasting - Start Caring!' initiative." The goal is to systematically and permanently reduce plastic, packaging and scrap metal at the Group.

But how? By employees presenting existing as well as new innovative projects in Deutsche Telekom's social network and sharing experiences, thus learning from each other. And there are plenty of good ideas. For example, one team is targeting customers who are still receiving paper invoices by mail in order to convince them to switch to online invoices. In another area, quick reference guides are only printed for customers on a per order basis by means of "print-on-demand" – thereby omitting pre-production as well as temporary storage. Thanks to the new initiative, ideas such as these will be disseminated throughout the company more quickly and are sure to find copycats.

Furthermore, 20 dedicated colleagues have banded together in the "Stop Wasting - Start Caring!" core team. Together they are examining existing approaches so as to identify the greatest leverage for more resource efficiency: for example, how cafeteria catering can become more sustainable and plastic and packaging waste can be reduced. But – true to its name – the core team is also looking at the company's current core processes: from product design to device management. Here too, Deutsche Telekom is on the right track. For example, the internal part of the current Speedport PRO router is made from post-consumer plastic – that is, from recycled plastic. PaperFoam is used for the inside of the packaging. This is sustainable material that can go into the paper bin or compost heap.


T-Systems wins prize for smart beehives

The beehive of today is more than just a nesting hole: It is a fully-networked smart home. Fitted with sensors, it constantly collects information, such as the temperature or air moisture level, and transmits it digitally to the beekeeper. This helps to protect the insects, which are very sensitive to their environment.

T-Systems' design for the smart bee hotels was recently honored at the 2018 ISG Paragon Awards™. With these prizes, the marketing research and advisory firm ISG recognizes the achievements of industry leaders. The prizes are awarded for innovative approaches in diverse categories that seize upon the latest developments related to nature, technology and economy. This year the prizes, which are offered to candidates from all over Europe, received nearly 100 nominations. A committee of independent industry experts chose the winners of the individual prize categories.

Industry example

Once again the "Industry Leader" in the oekom sustainability rating

ISS-oekom has rated Deutsche Telekom the most sustainable company in the telecommunications sector again this year. We have already repeatedly been chosen the "Industry Leader" among telecommunications companies.

This result means that we continue to boast "prime status" in the oekom rating. We did particularly well this year in the "Eco-Efficiency," "Environmental Management" and "Employees and Suppliers" categories. ISS-oekom is among the leading agencies for sustainability ratings internationally. This year 121 companies from across the globe were rated in the "Telecommunications" category. They were analyzed using a standardized procedure and on the basis of an extensive list of around 100 individual criteria.

And the winner is…

1st place in the Good Company Ranking 2018

It is a race revolving around corporate responsibility rather than speed. All set and ready to go: The 30 largest German companies listed on the stock exchange.

Whoever has an edge over the others at the end is decided by a six-person jury of experts. They rate the candidates based on the four subject categories of "Employee," "Environment", "Society" and "Financial Integrity." This year, with 65.2 out of a possible 100 points, Deutsche Telekom was able to assert itself in competition with the other companies, and as a result achieved a 1st place in the Good Company Ranking.