Since the 1990s, we have been taking on responsibility for the major issues of our age – climate change, social justice, and digital participation are key action areas for Deutsche Telekom. However, the challenges are growing exponentially and range from threats to our democracy from media phenomena such as fake news and filter bubbles all the way to resurgent populism in sections of our society. That’s why I firmly believe we need more than just a focus on sustainability – we need a sustainable business model. In 2019, we therefore modified our Group strategy to explicitly make “acting responsibly” a core element. This is something we’re working toward, step by step.
For example, we have set ourselves new, ambitious climate protection targets – 90 percent lower emissions by 2030 and electricity generated solely from renewables from 2021. Furthermore, these are targets that apply to our entire Group. However, 80 percent of our CO2 footprint comes from the manufacture and use of our products. We are committed to reducing these emissions by 25 percent per customer by 2030. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) confirmed us as the third DAX company whose climate protection targets are helping achieve compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. We have also examined our value chain to identify other areas where we could help improve climate protection and resource conservation. Our “We care for our planet” Group program combines selected initiatives in which we’re working as a Group toward gradually becoming “greener”. Examples include our sustainable smartphone recycling initiative, reducing packaging, and switching our service fleet to alternative drives.
Our media literacy initiatives promote safe and proficient use of digital media. After all, digitalization also has its dark side. How do we identify extremist propaganda on the net, for instance? In 2019, these initiatives ran under the banner of “Digital democracy”. Our aim is to connect everyone to present and future digital opportunities, whether in a private or social context. That’s why our mission is “We won’t stop until everyone is connected.”
Digitalization is also having a huge impact on the world of work – and Deutsche Telekom is no exception. We are keen to have all our employees on board as we navigate the increasingly complex digitalized economy. To that end, we have made learning an integral part of our everyday work. In 2019, in conjunction with the Group Works Council, we set out guidelines for shaping the digital world of work with our “Manifesto of Agile Work”.
We are also committed to responsible digitalization. We are the first company that has introduced guiding principles for the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI). In 2019, among other activities, we carried out training and workshops on implementing the principles, integrated them into contract-relevant provisions for our suppliers, developed an internal test seal for ethical AI products, and held a conference on digital ethics.
We want to be measured by our actions and not by our words! We also report extensively and transparently on our diverse sustainability activities in this year’s Sustainability Report.
We remain committed to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the German Sustainability Code. Both of these frameworks, along with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, guide us in what we do.
I hope you find the report enjoyable reading!