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  • 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report
2018 Corporate Responsibility Report

Sustainable products and services

Here is a selection of material topics from the 2018 CR-Report. More information can be found in the chapters Customers & products and Climate & environment.

Continued analysis of our products’ sustainability benefits

In 2014, we began analyzing our product portfolio together with external experts based on sustainability criteria. This is an ongoing process in which we most recently revised the filter logic of our approach in 2018 in order to better depict current developments. Along with slight adjustments we are placing greater emphasis on the role of information security and circular economy as part of our analysis. We measure the result with the Sustainable Revenue Share ESG img KPI. The share of such products was already 42 percent in 2018 (excluding T-Mobile US).

42% of Deutsche Telekom’s products and services provide a sustainable benefit

Examples of such sustainability benefits include:

  • Reduced CO2 emissions thanks to virtualization (for example, through online meetings instead of business trips)
  • E-health solutions (telemonitoring, for example, enables health care at home)
  • Internet of Things solutions (remote diagnostic solutions shorten repair cycles and help reduce field service calls)
  • Reduction in resource-intensive or harmful processes (the Park & Joy app speeds up the search for parking spaces, for instance)

Overall, we have carried out in-depth analyses for 29 product groups with regard to their sustainability benefits and the corresponding business potential (as of year-end 2018). We have illustrated the benefits of some selected products based on all three pillars of sustainability (ecological, social and economic):

To date, there is no industry-wide established system that provides customers with sustainability information about ICT img products and services. We have started to create just such a system using our product analyses – that is, to find out which sustainability contributions our products can make at all. Future plans also include keeping our customers better informed of these sustainability benefits, thereby sharpening our competitive edge.

Markus Göddertz

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Markus Göddertz

Internet of Things

Our contribution to the SDGs

Machines and products are becoming increasingly intelligent. Cars can communicate with repair shops, containers with logistics service providers. The technologies that make these developments possible are bundled under the term Internet of Things, or IoT. By 2020 the number of connected machines and devices worldwide is expected to increase to 2.5 billion. IoT is an important area of growth for us.

IoT can help ideally coordinate the processes of various devices, vehicles and entire industrial facilities. This helps increase industrial productivity, ensure efficient logistics, reduce energy consumption, and conserve resources.

We also support the German federal government’s Industry 4.0 img initiative through our involvement in IoT. The initiative’s objective is to maintain Germany’s competitive edge in the technology sector.

New wireless technology allows for innovative applications
Our networks are the basis for a number of IoT applications, as mobile network technology is the key transmission channel of every IoT connection. In this respect, the NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is gaining significance. As opposed to broadband applications, which enable transmission of large amounts of data, narrowband technology is specifically designed to reliably transfer very small data packages. Benefits of NB-IoT include its low energy requirements, extensive reach and low-cost device networking. NB-IoT is particularly suitable for use in logistics. When tracing transport containers, all that is needed is for the current position to be transferred once an hour. Only very small amounts of data need to be transferred in small data packages – and not necessarily in real time. NB-IoT is even used to protect biodiversity, in a technology that beekeepers can use to protect their bees.

We had a leading role in the development of a uniform NB IoT standard and are consistently driving its expansion: With available networks in ten countries, including nationwide network coverage in the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia and the U.S., we are one of the leading mobile providers in the NB IoT environment.

Across Europe, we work with more than 500 business customers from various sectors who develop and sell devices and applications based on NB IoT (as of the end of 2018). These include applications for measuring energy consumption (smart metering), traffic solutions (e.g., parking apps or applications to monitor train traffic) and solutions for waste management.

EU project AEOLIX: A platform for more efficient and climate-friendly logistics chains
The goal of the EU project AEOLIX is to build a new ICT img platform that networks numerous, previously isolated individual logistics systems across the EU. At the same time, practical services will be developed and tried out in 11 European test zones. T-Systems is participating in test zone 1: Intermodal Logistics in the Hamburg – Frankfurt Transportation Corridor. This zone will test a smartphone app that helps truck drivers drive in an ecologically responsible manner. Around 958,230 metric tons of CO2 could be spared in ongoing customer projects by analyzing driving profiles and ecodrive functions. The project will run until 2019.

AUTOPILOT – autonomous driving services for more efficiency
The goal of the EU project AUTOPILOT is to test autopilot services on the market. This also includes self-driving cars in short-distance traffic, self-parking cars and real-time car sharing. Such solutions are particularly efficient and environmentally friendly, resulting in an estimated 10 percent fewer CO2 emissions as compared to conventional driving practices. The project launched in 2017 will run until 2019. Thereafter the services will be incorporated into regular operations. T-Systems is the project partner of AUTOPILOT and supports analyses on the feasibility and market launch of the new services.

Connected Car: Preventing traffic jams with connected cars
T-Systems has been developing and operating Daimler’s Connected Car platform (Daimler vehicle backend) worldwide since 2013. The platform is the technical basis for the Live Traffic service, which provides drivers with real-time traffic information, thereby helping them avoid traffic jams. Live Traffic prevents about 30% of traffic jams per vehicle. This means that the approximately 7.5 million vehicles equipped with Live Traffic consumed about 9.3 million liters less fuel. This translates into CO2 savings of about 22,500 metric tons.

Roambee: “Bees” make the logistics chain transparent
Since the beginning of 2017 we have offered businesses a real-time solution for tracking and locating deliveries and assets and for monitoring the status of goods: Shipment & Asset Monitoring powered by Roambee. Our solution gives businesses – worldwide, regardless of transport route – answers to the most important questions about their goods: Where is the freight? What condition is it in? Will the delivery arrive on time? This is made possible by a “bee” included with the shipment. The device has sensors that record information such as temperature, humidity, light and movement and store the information in the cloud. The bee measures all information in real-time. A web portal gives users anytime access to a full overview including the device status, location and details on deliveries and assets.

Combating smugglers
T-Mobile Netherlands is working with Dutch app developer Itude Mobil to develop another product for the logistics sector – the “Babbler” cargo tracker. It looks like an ice hockey puck and is affixed to the inside of container doors. The device measures light, temperature, impacts, movement and magnetic fields and can be activated via an app on a smartphone. Every movement of the container is recorded. If anyone anywhere in the world removes the container door hinges, the transportation company will receive a notification. Deutsche Telekom is providing the required network for the application, which has to reach deep into the hold of container ships.

Intelligent building monitoring for improved indoor climate
Which room is being used when? Are the doors and windows closed at night? How is the air quality in the conference room? The new IoT complete solution, Building Monitoring & Analytics, offers answers to these questions. Room sensors log movements of people, the status of windows and doors, temperature, humidity, brightness and CO2 content. This information is encrypted and transmitted to Deutsche Telekom’s Connected Things Hub IoT platform where it is stored in compliance with data protection regulations. If certain threshold values are exceeded or problems detected, in-house technicians are notified and can take action. This helps lower costs for facility management and improve service.

Digital health care: opportunities for the best medical care

Our contribution to the SDGs

A uniform telehealth platform permits cross-case, standardized data sharing among health care providers. Telehealth assistance systems can support patients and their families in everyday tasks, help bridge long distances to medical care, and optimize the care process. We are helping shape the digital health care system with numerous pilot projects:

  • We are involved in developing a solution for antibiotic treatment consultation at the St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig. The primary goal is to enable fast, secure data exchange between doctors, patients, and health insurers. The State of Saxony sponsored the project with over EUR 1.2 million at the beginning of 2017. It will run until mid-2019.
  • The main objective of the “Psychological Trauma Telehealth Network for Saxony (Tele-NePS)” project is to sustainably improve the integrated treatment chain for post-traumatic stress disorders. The goal is to enable straightforward and location-independent access to the treatment network, make expertise universally available among general practitioners and specialists in Saxony, and guarantee cross-institution documentation and coordination of the health care process. The EU and the State of Saxony will be funding the project, which will run until 2020, with EUR 1.4 million.
  • We are supporting hospitals in Essen (Kliniken Essen-Mitte, KEM) in advancing their digital transformation. During the course of the partnership, set up for ten years, the aim is to develop standardized information systems, and implement electronic patient files and connected appointment management systems. All drug administration and diagnostic findings are to be recorded digitally in future, which should reduce the organizational overhead and allow more time for patients. By January 1, 2019, we had replaced the existing hospital information system with our iMedOne solution at two of the clinic’s locations.

In addition to customer projects like these we are also developing our own solutions for digital health care:

  • Our telehealth platform is being used by increasing numbers of participants in Germany. The platform is based on the first Europe-wide open, trans-regional network, East Saxony CCS Telehealth (THOS). The platform allows patients, doctors, hospitals, nursing staff, pharmacies, and health insurers in a specific region to exchange data such as health parameters, findings, drug administration, or other information over a specially encrypted data network. New applications are added to the platform continually. In April 2018, we presented the new “Teleneurologie Parkinson” application at the world’s largest health care IT trade fair ConhIT: In addition to the family doctor or neurologist, the new solution also allows patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease to consult with a teleneurologist. The teleneurologist follows the physical examination of a patient by means of a video consultation, guides colleagues and the patient, and poses questions to the patient’s relatives.
  • Diabetes is one of the most widespread diseases in Germany. Together with the partner Emperra, the telehealth platform is currently being used as the basis for developing a therapy-supporting solution for patients with type 2 diabetes. The patient is offered recommended treatments by means of special algorithms that analyze blood glucose readings and the amount of insulin used. Based on a simple traffic light system, patients can better understand the effects of their lifestyle on their illness and thus positively influence the course of their illness on a long-term basis. 
  • Our Telekom Healthcare Cloud (THC) provides health professionals with a reliable and simple path toward the digital transformation of their work structures. One of our customers in this area is Gesundheit Nordhessen Holding (GNH). We support the group of hospitals by providing our cloud for its daily work.

Product certifications: demonstrably sustainable

Sustainable products are a key factor in competition for us. In order to inform our customers about the sustainability benefits of our products, we rely on recognized ecolabels, such as the Blue Angel in Germany. Most fixed-line phones and our entire media receiver product family boast the Blue Angel label. In 2018, the 401 and 601 SAT media receivers also received the certificate as additional models in the series. Devices certified with this ecolabel also contain information for customers as to how the products can be used in an energy-efficient manner. In addition to the Blue Angel, we have also increasingly been using the TÜV Green Product Label. In addition to ecological criteria, this also requires inspections of working conditions at production sites. A number of our routers, including the Speedport Neo, have already been certified by the TÜV Green Product Label.

The labels not only serve as information for our customers, however. Their strict requirements also help us see how we can further improve our products.

Cornelia Szyszkowitz

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Cornelia Szyszkowitz

Measurable success: Reduced CO2 generation at data centers

We keep our goal of reducing our carbon footprint in mind when planning and operating our data centers. To achieve this goal, we take a two-step approach. It starts with optimizing energy consumption at each data center site and then continues with improving processes throughout the global data center landscape.

The key indicator for energy efficiency at our data centers is the PUE img factor. Since 2008, we have succeeded in reducing the average PUE factor img at the T-Systems data centers in Germany from 1.85 to 1.57. Compared to the previous year, the figure in 2018 remained virtually constant (2017: 1.54). The reason for this is the ongoing consolidation of the data centers, where applications from less energy-efficient sites are migrated to new, highly efficient data centers. This increases the PUE value of the decommissioned data centers in the short term. Overall, this process led to a constant PUE value across all data centers in the reporting year – and saw the value shrink further in the medium term.

Data centers are becoming more energy-efficient

The “DC11@2018” program for improving processes throughout our global data center landscape ran from 2013 to 2018. This project combines physical data center consolidation (i.e., reducing data center space and sites) with logical consolidation (i.e., virtualizing data center infrastructure). The objective of the “DC11@2018” program was to globally consolidate data center capacity at FMO (future mode of operation) data centers using the latest IT technology. The consolidation project was completed by the end of 2018 as planned. Within the scope of the physical consolidation, we decommissioned three old data centers in Germany. At the same time, we optimized the air conditioning at the existing data centers in Biere and Munich and other international data centers, including Barcelona in Spain.

The aim was to achieve an average PUE factor of 1.4 across the Group in all FMO data centers by the end of the project. At the end of 2018, we reached a PUE value of 1.57, meaning that we did not attain our target. This is in part due to the gradual shutdown of old data centers – which become less efficient during decommissioning as less capacity is used – and the negative impact this has on the PUE value. Achieving our target calls for further homogenization of our IT landscape combined with optimum capacity utilization of data center infrastructure, IT hardware, and the software running on the systems. Other factors that have a positive impact on PUE development in a data center are selective cooling and increasing the temperature as far as possible – while simultaneously observing set thresholds. For the year 2020, the latest program plans indicate accumulated reductions in CO2 by up to 51 percent compared to 2012. The PUE value for the network infrastructure is predicted to drop to below 1.4 by 2020.

Our target PUE factor for our highly efficient data center in Biere is 1.3. To achieve this target, it will be necessary to adhere to a prescribed temperature range, achieve a capacity utilization of at least 80 percent, and create an IT landscape that is as homogeneous as possible. We were not yet able to achieve the PUE target value in 2018 because the level of capacity utilization is not yet as high as originally planned. In addition, it was necessary to cool the data center on multiple occasions during the hot summer. As outlined above, the data centers were consolidated as part of “DC11@2018”, with the data center in Biere successfully expanded by May 2018 to make up for lost capacity.

Don’t buy, rent

We want to make sure that used routers and media receivers don’t just end up in the trash. That is why we promote the “Don’t buy, rent” approach. Our rental services conserve resources, reduce electronic waste and CO2 emissions. Customers return the devices if they cancel their contract. The devices are then either refurbished and rented out again or properly recycled. We have simplified the return process by introducing a returns portal. The online portal enables customers to manage their own returns. We actively and effectively promote the rental service in many ways including at Telekom Shops, online, via customer service and in product flyers. The offer has been well received by our customers; the number of people using the rental service increased to just over 10 million by the end of 2018.

Number of users of the router and media receiverrental service

Collection of used mobile devices in Germany

Our contribution to the SDGs

Germany’s recycling and reuse rate for small electronic appliances is too low. Too many used cell phones, smartphones and tablets are stuck in drawers or disposed of illegally with the household waste. But these devices should be refurbished and reused or properly recycled to help us conserve valuable resources. We have been offering different ways for people to hand in their devices since 2003. Customers have been able to return their used, high-end cell phones and smartphones to Telekom Shops under a buyback program since 2013. They receive store credit from the Telekom Shop reflecting their old device’s current value, which they can use to purchase a new device, or they can choose to have the amount booked to their customer account. Business customers can send in their used cell phones and smartphones through a special buyback portal, which we created in 2016. After the device’s value has been determined, the amount can be paid out or donated to a charitable organization. Together with company Teqcycle Solutions we also operate the Cell Phone Collection Center online portal. Through this portal, authorities, associations and other organizations have the opportunity to start collection campaigns for donating used cell phones and smartphones. The website provides an overview of these partners and the collection campaigns they conduct. Campaigns took place in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia during the reporting period. At the end of the year we donated the proceeds from the devices collected through recycling and reuse to Netzwerk Entwicklungspolitik Saarland e.V. and the Freiburg “Natur und Mensch” (Nature and man) musuem to thus support educational projects.

In 2018 we collected exactly 187,028  used cell phones and smartphones throughout Germany and either reused them or had them properly recycled. During the cell phone collection campaign we use a data erasure process that is DEKRA certified and complies with strict data protection requirements. Defective cell phones or devices where certified data erasure would be too costly are properly recycled using state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly processes at the Telekom Recycling Center. Up to 100 percent of the materials can then be reused – as recycled metals or for energy generation.

We depict the relationship between commercially sold and collected cell phones with our Take Back Mobile Devices ESG img KPI img. Around 368,000 mobile devices were collected throughout the Group (not including T-Mobile US, AMC, Maktel, Crnogorski Telekom) in 2018.

Support of various collection campaigns
As in previous years, we supported the Die-Handy-Aktion cell phone campaign conducted by different church-affiliated groups in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2018 as well. Together with the Ministry of the Environment of Baden-Württemberg, the campaign partners carried out a large number of measures in the educational sector. For example, they redesigned the “cell phone raw materials kit” with the German Mineral Resources Agency and presented it to school classes and youth groups. The kit contains various minerals that are used in cell phones. Using accompanying teaching materials, teachers can explain the significance of the raw materials in smartphones to their students.

The “Responsibility and Sustainability. Join in!” collection campaign in the state of Saarland, which we have been supporting since 2014, was renamed “Handy-Aktion Saarland” (Saarland cell phone campaign) in 2018. We are still a cooperation partner to the campaign, which focuses on projects such as providing special course material on the topics of cell phone collection and resource efficiency. Mutual cell phone collection campaigns with Saarland companies and institutions are a further focus.

Information and recycling for World Environment Day
As part of World Environment Day we informed our customers in June 2018 about sustainable smartphone use and recycling used phones. On a special website set up for World Environment Day they were able, for example, to find out how the life of a smartphone can be extended and which collection points they can take their phone to at the end of its life cycle for it to be repaired or recycled. The tips were compiled by the Deutsche Telekom “Computerhilfe” service and additionally provided in the form of a readily understandable infographic. The infographic also includes current facts and figures on valuable resources in smartphones and their recycling. In the short video “Telekom Netz Tour 2018: Zerstören für die Nachhaltigkeit” (Telekom network tour 2018: destroying for sustainability) we also explain how we recycle and re-use smartphones.

Cornelia Szyszkowitz

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Cornelia Szyszkowitz

Comfort Charge: expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles

Since the fall of 2018, we have been working with our subsidiary Comfort Charge to expand our German network of charging stations for electric vehicles: We are upgrading parts of the existing telecommunications infrastructure into charging stations. To do this, we are using the power supply from our street cabinets which is needed for our fixed line and internet connections. The gray boxes at the side of the road, which house a separate power supply and digital measuring point from the broadband expansion, can be upgraded to include charging points relatively easily This sustainable use of existing infrastructure will help avoid additional structures in the cityscape and enable rapid implementation. Each charging station can supply two vehicles with 11 kW each through type-2 charging plugs. These “destination charging points” will supply enough power in one hour for a range of 50-75 kilometers – depending on the vehicle type. While the first destination charging points will be set up in selected cities in 2019, we have been at work since the fall setting up a nationwide rapid charging network at network nodes with charging capacities of more than 100 kW which is already fit for the next generations of vehicle batteries. The electricity for our charging network comes from renewable energy sources.

Our charging points in Germany have a uniform price per minute, although rapid charging costs around a third more than regular charging due to higher set-up costs.

Comfort Charge: expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles

More sustainable SIM cards from the supermarket

Customers who value sustainability when shopping at the supermarket have also been able to buy more sustainable mobile SIM cards at EDEKA since 2018. The new “EDEKA smart” mobile rate, developed by Deutsche Telekom and EDEKA as part of a strategic partnership, offers various sustainability benefits: These include a smaller SIM card holder that saves 50 percent material, and packaging that is climate-neutral and printed on grass paper. This paper is made half from sun-dried grass and recycled paper. Production of this grass packaging – which takes place entirely without process chemicals – saves up to 75 percent in CO2 emissions. What’s more, one euro of each start kit sold goes to the WWF’s forest conservation program. If a cell phone breaks later, “EDEKA smart” customers can have their device repaired at a discount. And if a repair is no longer viable, old cell phones and SIM cards that aren’t needed anymore can be sent to the Telekom Recycling Center. We have hence created an additional mobile device return option, in addition to our other various drop-off sites and collection campaigns, which we discuss in our CR Report.

We already started reducing the size of SIM card holders at the company in 2017. In 2018, we successfully saved 1.4 metric tons of plastic within the Group. For 2019 we expect to achieve savings of more than 17 metric tons. 

Clothing that connects

Clothing has many functions: It should keep us warm, flatter our figure and type, and at times also make a statement. But clothing can do even more. In the future it will help us, for example, to lead a healthier life. Or it will transform the idea of inclusion into material and thread. 

The designers of “Project Love” show what that could look like. They help provide people whose bodies don’t match “normal sizes” with fashionable clothing that fits perfectly. They produce tailor-made items of clothing using body scanners, 3D printers and conventional sewing machines. The two German designers from “Smart Orthosis” also focus on another important topic. They have developed a top that eases back pain. It’s equipped with heating areas and vibration elements. It thus corrects the posture of the wearer and reduces pain. The top can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and controlled by an app. 

Deutsche Telekom wants to promote ideas at the interface between technology and fashion, which is why we launched the “Fashion Fusion” program in 2016 together with partners. As part of the program, an ideas competition was held for the third time in 2018, aimed at start-ups and young entrepreneurs from the fields of fashion, technology and product design – such as “Project Love” or “Smart Orthosis”. Those taking part in the competition had the opportunity to develop prototypes of their ideas. They were provided with the necessary work materials and could draw on expert knowledge. In 2018, a top-class jury selected three winning teams from eight finalists at the Berlin Fashion Week.

Sustainable product and packaging design

Our aim is to make our products as sustainable and green as possible – from the packaging to the device. One example is the new Speedport Pro router. Its inner workings consist of recycled plastic. To protect it during transport, we also use PaperFoam – a material made of industrial starch, cellulose fibers and water that can be disposed of with paper waste or composted. The soft surface of the material means that we can also omit the additional protective casing when packaging the Speedport Pro. The router will come on the market in 2019.

The use of sustainable materials and processes when designing a product is usually associated with higher costs. This is especially critical with products for which our customers are less willing to pay more. It is therefore important in these cases to find compromises between our sustainability standard on the one hand and economic constraints on the other.