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Our process for identifying material CR topics

We annually identify which topics are of particular importance in defining Deutsche Telekom’s sustainability management and sustainability reporting focus from the perspective of our stakeholders as well as from an internal corporate perspective. We have also analyzed and adjusted the material topics for this report. This process factored in changes in stakeholder expectations and current external and internal developments.

We have utilized the methodology of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative img (GeSI) to assess materiality since 2015. It covers 55 topics that are relevant for the ICT img industry, and places them into nine categories: digital inclusion, employee relationships, climate change, circular economy, sourcing and manufacturing, customer relationships, freedom of expression and privacy, governance and management, and local community and environment impacts. These topics have been developed to pertain to a variety of companies and are therefore recognized in the industry. 

Step 1: Document analysis
Document analysis is the starting point for our materiality process. This takes into account new legal texts and draft laws, studies, position papers, and media publications that provide information about the demands and expectations made on Deutsche Telekom with regard to sustainability management. The analysis also considers whether Deutsche Telekom has any influence on the respective topic and whether the expectations have an impact on Deutsche Telekom’s business activity. The tables below set out the criteria that determine whether or not a topic is highly relevant.

Stakeholder perspective
High expectations for the relevant topic when ...


... the majority of NGOs express specific expectations or demand compliance with certain targets or standards.


... multiple competitors actively communicate a more ambitious strategic objective or development concepts.


... there are concrete regulatory objectives, laws or guidelines that directly impact the company.

Financial market ... the topic is part of the criteria for the ratings in question and is considered a top issue in the industry.
Company perspective
Highly influenced by the relevant topic when ...
Value creation

... all stages of the value chain are affected by the topic.

Sustainable Development Goals

… the topic is directly related to several SDGs.

Industry ... the ICT has a big influence on it and Deutsche Telekom holds a leading industry position on the topic.

The 2020 document analysis shows a further increase in our stakeholders' expectations, particularly with regard to

  • topics related to climate and human rights,
  • social relevance of ICT products, and
  • stable network infrastructures.

Both the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic are drivers of these growing demands. In this context, issues regarding digital ethics are increasingly prioritized.

Step 2: Interviews with experts
In the past years, stakeholders have grown less interested in taking part in online surveys. We were therefore no longer able to use our 2020 online survey to obtain representative results. Instead, we conducted interviews with experts from various stakeholder groups. In these interviews, we asked for their assessment of opportunities and risks for Deutsche Telekom and asked them to rate our material topics. In particular, the experts emphasized the importance of climate and environmental issues – and primarily highlighted the contribution of Deutsche Telekom’s products and activities to tackling the climate crisis. In addition, they repeatedly underscored that the role of companies in more sustainable development and the credibility of their commitment are continuing to grow in importance. The issue of the resilience of companies and the future viability of their business models was also highlighted several times as especially relevant for the coming years, as was Deutsche Telekom’s responsibility as an ICT company for equal opportunity and competent digital participation. Last but not least, the importance of digital ethics was emphasized in the interviews.

Step 3: Internal analysis and validation
In a workshop with experts from our company, the results of the document analysis and expert interviews were compared with an internal evaluation.

The result is the basis for our 2020 CR reporting. We are presenting the results of the analysis in a materiality matrix in accordance with the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). 

We have included the following topics in our materiality matrix for the 2020 reporting year:

  • Circular economy (previously electronic waste)
  • Disruptive img technologies
  • Tax transparency and contribution
  • Water consumption at operating sites
  • Waste generation at operating sites


Inaluk Schaefer

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Inaluk Schaefer

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-40 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-44 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)

Results of the materiality analysis

Topics were rated as “very relevant,” “relevant,” “less relevant” and “not relevant” in the materiality analysis. We translated their weighting results onto a 100-point scale. Here are the results of the analysis.

Materiality Matrix

All Subjects for 2020

Top topics for Deutschen Telekom's sustainable business development
We consider all topics that achieved more than 70 points on average in the materiality process to be top topics. They are presented on a scale of 50 to 100 below.

Materiality Matrix of Deutschen Telekom

Top-Subjects for 2020 (excerpt)

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-47 (General Disclosures)

Material topics matched with GRI aspects

The following overview indicates which GRI aspects can be matched with the material areas of the stakeholder survey.

# Material aspects    GRI aspects    Management approach
1 Network expansion  
  • Indirect economic impacts
2 ICT img solutions for a low-carbon economy  
  • Products and services

Climate change mitigation

  • Emissions
  • Energy

Data security

  • Customer privacy

Data privacy

  • Customer privacy
6 Circular economy (including electronic waste)  
  • Waste and waste water
  • Products and services
7 Supply chain labor standards  
  • Procurement practices
  • Forced or compulsory labor
  • Evaluation of suppliers with regard to compliance with human rights

Talent acquisition, employee retention, development, and staff reduction

  • Training and development
  • Employment
9 Ethical business practices and compliance  
  • Socioeconomic compliance
  • Anti-corruption
10 Employee diversity and anti-discrimination  
  • Non-discrimination
  • Diversity and equal opportunities

Socially relevant application of ICT products and services

  • Products and services

Digitalization and the world of work

  • Training and development

Sustainable product design

  • Products and services

Employee health, safety and wellness

  • Occupational health and safety
15 Disruptive img technologies  
  • Products and services
  • Compliance
16 Product energy efficiency  
  • Products and services
  • Energy

Media literacy (including ICT and child safety)

  • Customer health and safety
  • Customer privacy
18 Transparency and reporting  
  • Identified material aspects and boundaries
  • Report profile


19 Service quality  
  • Stakeholder engagement
Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 102-46 (General Disclosures)
  • GRI 102-47 (General Disclosures)