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  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Material sustainability topics: systematic process

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 materiality analysis is based on experience from previous years and incorporates current developments. In 2018 we expanded the materiality process to include a document analysis.

We have utilized the methodology of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative img (GeSI img) since 2015. The methodology covers 55 topics that are relevant for the ICT img industry, and places them in 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. These topics have been developed to pertain to a variety of companies and are therefore recognized in the industry

Identifying material topics
In order to determine our stakeholders’ expectations of  our sustainability management, we have used an online survey since 2014. In this survey, our stakeholders can rate topics according to their importance and assess our performance in the different areas. However, willingness to participate in the survey has declined. In 2017, 218 people took the survey; in 2018, it was only 24. In order to still obtain representative feedback, we conducted an additional document analysis in 2018. This took into account legal texts, studies, position papers and media publications that provide information about the demands and expectations made of Deutsche Telekom with regard to sustainability management. The analysis also considered whether Deutsche Telekom has any influence on the respective topic and whether the expectations have an impact on Deutsche Telekom’s business activity. You can see in the following tables when a topic is assigned high relevance.

Stakeholder perspective
High expectations for the relevant topic when …


…the majority of NGOs express specific expectations or demand compliance with certain targets or standards.


…multiple competitors actively communicate a more ambitious strategic objective or development concepts.


…there are concrete regulatory objectives, laws or guidelines that directly impact the company.

Financial market …the topic is part of the criteria for the ratings in question and is considered a top issue in the industry.
Company perspective
High expectations for the relevant topic when …
Value creation

…all stages of the value chain are affected by the topic.

Sustainable Development Goals

…the topic is directly related to several SDGs.

Industry …the industry is considered a major contributor and Deutsche Telekom holds a leading industry position on the topic.

In an internal workshop with experts from various departments, we compared the results of this document analysis and the current stakeholder survey with the results of our materiality process from the previous year. We also reviewed whether there was any change in the weighting for a topic from an internal perspective. To ensure that all of the topics are being addressed in full, interviews with other experts were conducted in the run-up to the workshops. The results of these interviews have been added to the workshop results.

We then used them as the basis for defining the material topics for our CR reporting. We presented the results of the analysis in a materiality matrix in accordance with the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Evaluating our sustainability performance
In connection with our survey, stakeholders also evaluated our sustainability performance – with the following result: Our stakeholders gave the major topics of service quality, data security and cyber security a good performance rating. In contrast, they see potential for improvement in the topics of EMF img, and ICT and gender (as of December 2018).

Inaluk Schaefer

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Inaluk Schaefer