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“Look what we can do!” say Max and Jonas, proudly showing off their latest tricks to their grandma. The three of them see each other almost daily – even though they live 400 kilometers apart. No problem at all with a video call! That’s because in the worldwide web, we bridge distances that still separated us just a few years ago. But how sustainable is it to surf the web?


We are contributing to the twelfth goal of the United Nations Agenda 2030 with our sustainable products and services.

On the way to a green internet

Each click online consumes energy. That goes as much for our smartphones and computers as it does for the infrastructure in the background – networks, radio masts, and data centers. All things considered, this ends up consuming a fair bit of energy. That’s why we are turning the Deutsche Telekom network into a “green network” that obtains 100 percent of its power from renewable sources. Once the data of our customers in Germany is on the Deutsche Telekom network, it no longer impacts our climate.

But the internet can also help us save energy. With cloud computing, for instance: users who don’t store their data on their own servers, but “outsource” it to our efficient data centers instead, can reduce their energy usage by up to 80 percent. Thanks to solutions like these, our customers in Germany were able to save seven times more CO2 in 2020 than we at Deutsche Telekom actually generated.

“For us, sustainability naturally means more than just protecting the climate. That is why we offer a wide range of products that also score points in other areas of sustainability by conserving resources or improving medical care, for instance.” Birgit Klesper, Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability

Increasingly sustainable

Our range of sustainability-related products and services is growing all the time. In 2020, we generated 44 percent of our revenue with such products. A few examples:

Fewer resources

We are working on bringing products to market that are as resource-efficient as possible. By reducing the size of SIM card holders, for example, we are saving 50 percent in material – that was 20 metric tons of plastic in 2019.

Less energy

Heating that turns off automatically when a window is opened? Lights that only stay on when there’s someone in the room? Our smart home solutions help reduce energy consumption in the home.

Less CO2

Low Carbon Mobility Management (LCMM) is an app-based service that measures the performance of car and truck drivers. A personalized evaluation makes it possible to identify potential for improvement. Fuel savings of between 8 and 15 percent can be achieved in this way.

More recycling

In the USA, T-Mobile has collected more than 26 million used devices since 2013. 85 percent were reused or resold, and the rest recycled. That saves valuable resources.

More e-mobility

Hrvatski Telekom, our national company in Croatia, is a leading e-mobility provider. In July 2020, it introduced the espoTs app for charging electric cars without a subscription or fixed contract. The company has set up a total of 180 charging points in 80 Croatian cities.

Better health

Our telehealth platform enables better medical care. Patients, physicians, hospitals, nursing staff, pharmacies, and health insurers can share findings or lab results in encrypted form, for instance.


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Back into circulation

A new smartphone every year – for many of us, that’s just standard. The old device usually ends up in the drawer, and sometimes even in the trash. That’s certainly not sustainable, since every smartphone contains some 30 metals, including valuable ones such as gold, copper, coltan, and cobalt. Some metals are extracted from ores that are often mined under inhumane conditions akin to civil war that also have a major impact on the environment. In addition, some 75 percent of a smartphone’s CO2 emissions are generated during its production. The aim of our sustainable recycling scheme is to extend the life of smartphones. It works like this:

You sell your used smartphone to Deutsche Telekom – we recondition the phone, package it in 100 percent biodegradable packaging, and sell it in our shops at a fair price with a 12-month warranty. Each refurbished cell phone represents a resource saving of 70 percent. With every additional year of use, the CO2 balance is reduced by 31 percent.

We do, of course, also take all other used cell phones and smartphones – either in our shops, by mailing the device to us for free, or via the cell-phone collection center. Take-back via the cell-phone collection center is certified by the German ecolabel Blue Angel.

Recognizable at a glance

How can our customers tell which Deutsche Telekom products are particularly sustainable? To make deciding what to buy that much easier, we launched the “we care” label for Deutsche Telekom products, services, and initiatives in 2019. In 2020, this label was split into two new labels – #GoodMagenta and #GreenMagenta.

Digital participation (#GoodMagenta)

The category highlights positive contributions to solving social challenges in the digital world. We started by labeling our “Media sure! But secure! initiative with the “Digital participation” symbol.

Environment (#GreenMagenta)

This category identifies solutions that contribute to climate protection or the responsible handling of resources. In 2019, our more sustainable smartphone recycling scheme was labeled with the “Environment” symbol. Further examples in 2020 were our new reusable carrier bag and our green network.

In the future, additional products and initiatives will follow after careful examination. However, they will only be labeled with #GreenMagenta if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. For instance, a product that consumes more energy than comparable alternatives cannot be labeled just because it is packaged in a particularly environmentally friendly way.
More about our offerings with #GreenMagenta/#GoodMagenta labels

Thanks to its contribution to resource conservation, our reusable bag carries the #GreenMagenta label.

A new lease of life for plastic bottles

Our new reusable carrier bag with the “we care” label declares war on environmental pollution, replacing a single-use design with a reusable one that is suitable for recycling rather than having to be incinerated. The reusable bags are made almost entirely from recycled PET bottles. With each and every bag, our customers are giving up to five plastic bottles a new lease of life. These bags replace the paper bags previously used, saving some 35 metric tons of paper in 2020.


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Farmer to tractor

Who would have thought that the internet could also help farmers work more sustainably? One example of this is connected farm machines. Exact position data can be transmitted in real time directly to the steering system via the mobile network. This enables machines to be precisely guided in their lanes. That reduces fuel consumption and prevents unnecessary trips when sowing, fertilizing, and harvesting.

According to a study by GeSI  img , this kind of precision farming can save an incredible 2.2 billion metric tons of CO2 by 2030. This corresponds to 2.2 times the CO2 footprint of all of Germany. In addition, more efficient irrigation will enable reduced consumption of valuable drinking water: up to 250 trillion liters of water can be saved by 2030 – enough to supply 180 million people with water for an entire year. Deutsche Telekom is helping to connect agriculture, thus ensuring more sustainable and effective land management.

A network for sharing

We use a drill for an average of 13 minutes of its lifetime before we throw it away. It’s a similar story with other everyday items such as suitcases and lawnmowers – we buy them, rarely use them, and then get rid of them at some point. That makes consumption a one-way street. The solution: sharing! Something that’s become a whole lot easier in the age of the internet. Whether it’s clothes, cars, or gardening equipment – there are lots of sharing apps now available that let you borrow things in your neighborhood that you don’t own yourself. It saves resources and purchase costs, and reduces the mountains of waste. The basis for this “sharing economy” is a secure and stable network. It’s by providing the necessary infrastructure that we make sustainable innovations like this possible in the first place.