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Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.

Our approach to resource conservation and environmental protection

As a service provider, we use considerably fewer resources than manufacturing companies. The resource utilization for the manufacturing and use of our products and network infrastructure occurs in up- and downstream stages of the value chain – with our suppliers and customers. This is why we are committed to the responsible handling of resources within our value chain. 

Here are the most important activities along our value chain:

We reduce the use of plastic, paper, and packaging in key processes throughout the value chain. For example, we have halved the size of SIM cards, thereby saving 20.8 metric tons of plastic in the reporting year. It is planned to implement the half-size SIM card in all European national companies in the course of 2020.

We promote the responsible use of raw materials among our suppliers and the reuse of materials. For example, we support cell phone collection initiatives in various countries. 

With our health, safety, and environmental management system (HSE img) we have made a commitment to continually improving our performance in these areas. The system is based on the international standards ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety, ISO 14001 on environmental management, and ISO 9001 img on quality management.

Our environmental guideline summarizes all of the current voluntary commitments in effect throughout the Group. 

With the new Group-wide initiative “We care for our planet”, we are bundling existing and new projects for resource conservation under one new roof. The initiative strengthens the movement for more sustainability throughout the Group. Our Green Pioneers have already motivated employees at Deutsche Telekom AG to take part in numerous campaigns inside and outside Deutsche Telekom to make better use of resources.

Resource efficiency is also a priority at the workplace

We regularly collect Group-wide data on the amount of waste we produce. Our International Waste Management Framework guarantees standardized guidelines for all of our national companies. They are required to use this framework as a basis for identifying their own measurable targets and then monitor target achievement. This approach, coupled with the absence of quantitative specifications, gives us flexibility when addressing the specific requirements of each country and company.

The Take Back Mobile Devices ESG KPI measures the ratio of mobile phones in circulation to the number of used devices collected (excluding T-Mobile US). We have also introduced a binding Group-wide guideline with requirements for the recycling of copper cables, which are being partially replaced over the course of our fiber-optic roll-out.

Employee communities promote sustainability

Green Pioneers (Telekom Germany):
The internal “Green Pioneers” ambassador program was launched in September 2018. The aim of this grassroots initiative is to promote a fundamental shift toward more responsible management and conduct in all parts of the Group.

There are now more than 200 employees at 40 locations and in more than 20 departments acting as Green Pioneers who specifically look out for improvement potential in their area of activity.

The Corporate Responsibility department creates the framework conditions for the Green Pioneers. Its community management is responsible, among other things, for providing the initiative’s communication platform in the internal social network You and Me (YAM). Regular virtual and personal meetings allow users to exchange information and experiences, share knowledge through internal and external expert talks, and plan activities.

Depending on their location, interests and expertise, the Green Pioneers come together to form thematic or regional “hubs”.

Many Green Pioneers are active within the scope of flexible working methods, using them to establish modern work models ("80/20" and "Jobvisit") and gain new technical and methodological knowledge while strengthening Group-wide collaboration.

The Green Pioneers act as internal multipliers for change: they motivate employees to be involved in numerous resource conservation campaigns, such as organizing an exchange for office supplies, clothing exchange campaigns, plant and waste collection campaigns, and an internal company ride-sharing agency.

Numerous employee initiatives aimed at sustainability and environmental protection are also active at the national companies of Deutsche Telekom AG, as at the following companies, for example:

T-Mobile Netherlands:
In 2019 T-Mobile Netherlands has created a committed employee community to engage as many people as possible regarding recycling, efficiency and circular ambitions. Three teams have been set up: Climate & Energy, Circular business, and Sustainable Business Operations. The teams in turn are made up of three groups: 1) experts - employees who are dealing with waste, recycling and product streams on a daily basis, 2) ambassadors – people who feel committed to the topic and want to contribute to “Stop Wasting“, and 3) our most important waste and energy partners/suppliers. Together these teams are responsible for creating a long-term vision, setting annual goals, formulating action plans on how to realize these goals, but also to inspire the rest of the organization to join them.

T-Systems Iberia (Spain):
During the last quarter of 2019, T-Systems Iberia created the community T-OGETHER, the launch followed in the beginning of 2020. T-OGETHER is a group of volunteers committed to promoting sustainable initiatives. At the heart of the community is the executive committee consisting of currently ten committed employees. These volunteers are supported by an advisory committee, comprised of environmental, Corporate Responsibility and communications experts. The aim of T-OGETHER is to drive ideas around sustainability in line with the company's environmental and social objectives and also to raise awareness regarding environmental issues among all employees. The members develop initiatives and propose them to the company's management. Once an initiative and a budget has been approved, the executive committee starts with the implementation.

IT-Services Hungary:
At IT-services Hungary a community called “ITSH Environmentally Conscious Club” focusses on raising awareness among the employees in order to reduce electricity and water consumption, decrease paper usage and promote a more effective company and pool car usage as well as selective waste collection. Additionally, IT-Services Hungary is currently in the process of founding an Environmental SPoC (Single Point of Contact) network enabling employees to connect with their colleagues more easily regarding environmental concerns and ideas.

Similar to the Green Pioneers in Germany, twenty Change Agents work to promote sustainability at T-Systems Singapore. In other national companies, such as T-Mobile Poland, Hrvatski Telekom (Croatia), T-Mobile U.S. or Crnogorski Telekom (Montenegro), employee communities are already active or at the stage of creation.

To find out more about the commitment of your employees and corporate responsibilities at our national companies please visit the company profiles.





Resource efficiency at the workplace

We try to use as many green office supplies as possible in order to improve resource efficiency at the workplace. In 2019, the percentage of sustainable products ordered was 30 percent. We also have the following measures:

  • Our “IT Remarketing” project: used IT hardware is refurbished so that it can be reused. 
  • Some of our office products are labeled with the EU Ecolabel, the Fairtrade seal, the Organic Farming seal, the Blue Angel eco-label, and the FSC® and PEFC environmental labels. 
  • A total of 26 percent of the products in our office products catalog in Germany are classified as sustainable.
  • Office supplies are delivered largely in accordance with the CO2-neutral certificate.
  • Since January 1, 2018, we have procured only environmentally certified office paper, which has been awarded the “Blue Angel” label or the “Nordic Swan" certificate, through a paper wholesaler. 
  • To reduce the amount of paper used throughout the Group, we ask our employees to opt out of having salary statements sent by post and have them provided online instead.
  • On our “You and Me” social network, we also offer employees a platform where they can exchange unneeded office supplies instead of reordering them.
  • Our partnership with the charitable organization “AfB gemeinnützige GmbH”, which offers jobs for people with limitations. We give some of our used IT hardware (e.g., laptops) to the organization for reconditioning and reselling.
  • We are working on modernizing the media technology used within our company to meet the requirements laid down in the Minamata Convention img. We are therefore currently replacing devices that still contain this heavy metal with new mercury-free versions while sending the old devices to be professionally recycled or disposed of. 
  • Where possible, we are opting for projectors with state-of-the-art lasers or laser-LED hybrids that work without any conventional lamps. 

Online billing for mobile and fixed-line customers in Germany KPI

More than 224 million online bills were sent out in 2019. This is the equivalent of around 78 percent of all bills and credit notes for mobile and fixed-line customers in Germany. Since 2017, the data has been collected using a more precise calculation method.


Reporting against standards

By reporting data on the number of online customer bills, we partially cover the V04-13 (Percentage of services or products for increasing eco-efficiency of own products) EFFAS indicator. This data is also relevant for criteria 2 (Implementation of the sustainability strategy) and 10 (Innovation and product management) of the German Sustainability Code. It is also used for reporting on the Global Compact principles 7 (Precautionary approach) and 8 (Promoting environmental responsibility).

Further resource protection measures KPI

The advantage of the print-on-demand approach is obvious. Brief job-related instructions are printed on a daily basis and do not need to be produced in advance, transported, or stored. Changes to document templates are in use with the customer the very next day, which results in a far shorter response time and means out-of-date materials no longer need to be destroyed as was sometimes previously the case. The new concept has significantly reduced material usage, which is in keeping with the Deutsche Telekom goal of ensuring sustainable management that conserves resources. Brief instructions for the MagentaZuhause rate plans marked the first step. In this initial project phase, paper consumption is already being reduced by 37.6 metric tons per year.
The next step will be to investigate whether print on demand can also be used for other equipment documentation with particular specifications (several sheets, brochure included, enclosure of SIM card, etc.).

  • Reduction of paper consunption since project start:  140 t Paper
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions since project start:  180 t CO2

RECUP returnable cup
In 2018, Deutsche Telekom and Sodexo – the company running our canteens in Germany – joined forces to introduce the sustainable alternative of RECUP returnable cups. A reusable RECUP can replace around 500 disposable cups and can then simply be recycled. In return for a deposit of 1 euro, our employees get their coffee in a reusable RECUP. This can be returned to any participating partner, where the deposit is returned and the RECUP rinsed and reused.                                                                  

The initiative started at the Deutsche Telekom sites of Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt and Munich, Dachauer Strasse in November 2018. Many more sites were added in 2019, boosting the number of RECUPS by 115 % to more than 12,000 pieces.