In the context of our integrated climate strategy, we address the environmental impact of our business and determine potential opportunities and risks that exist for us as well as for our stakeholders.
For example, extreme weather conditions as a consequence of climate change can have a negative impact on our business processes and lead to incidents or even network outages. A very real example of this was storm Friederike, which led to an outage of more than 600 cross-connect cabinets and over 200 mobile base stations in early 2018. Such failures can massively impact the management of rescue operations, if not render them entirely impossible. In order to be able to react appropriately in these cases, our internal “Group Policy on Continuity and Situation Management” defines responsibilities, processes, and measures. It also outlines how to handle emergency and crisis situations like floods. In addition, possible consequences of climate change are also taken into account when planning our future business activities. For instance, our network infrastructure is set up to be protected from storm conditions, changes in temperature, and high winds.
Climate change also carries financial risks, whether from the introduction of a levy on CO2 emissions or an increase in energy costs. Our contribution to the mitigation of these risks is that we measure our own energy efficiency and develop measures for improvement. We also work on the reduction of our own and our customers’ and suppliers’ CO2 emissions. Extreme weather events are another possible cause of infrastructure failures, and this could necessitate additional investment in a more robust infrastructure.
We report to the Board of Management quarterly on current climate risks within the context of our Group Risk Report. You will find more information on risk management in the “Risk and Opportunity Management” section of our annual report.
We also help our customers reduce their carbon footprint by providing them with innovative solutions (mitigation). Possible examples include innovative projects in the area of sustainable urban development and mobility, and real-time solutions for agriculture. These do not only help reduce emissions, but also optimize the use of fertilizer, seed, and machinery. Increasing yields can help us achieve the second sustainable development goal (SDG) of “zero hunger”. What’s more, telecommunications can be used to reduce the amount of food lost. For instance, the innovative product Roambee is a major help here. On top of that, we also help our customers deal with the adverse effects of climate change (adaptation). In the event of an imminent catastrophe, our infrastructure can be used, for example, to send alerts via early warning apps.