Holistic “We care for our planet” environmental project
In the context of adopting our new climate targets, the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management issued a mandate in 2019 to further expand our existing commitment to climate, environmental protection and resource conservation. We then identified areas along our value chain in which we can improve resource efficiency and make an effective contribution to achieving our climate targets. We summarized the measures required for this in the “we care for our planet” program. Group Corporate Responsibility (GCR) manages implementation of the program. Deutsche Telekom’s segments and departments are implementing numerous measures as part of the program, which have been divided into different workstreams. To measure our progress, we adopted new KPIs in 2020 (see below).
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“Green Pioneers”, our internal ambassadors for sustainability, participate in all the workstreams of the “we care for our planet” program. The Green Pioneers are also firmly integrated in the program management of “we care for our planet”. In our national companies, employee-led initiatives are also working to reduce our environmental footprint.
We care for our planet international
Our international companies are already implementing various measures as part of “we care for our planet”. 2020 saw the start of intensive international cooperation in our environmental program. The aim is to synchronize activities as much as possible and, in the long term, establish a regular exchange of experience between the departments in Germany and the national companies.
- GRI 305-5 (Emissions)
Which Deutsche Telekom products are particularly sustainable? How does the sustainable smartphone recycling scheme work? Our customers should get answers to these questions in our shops. That’s why we introduced a variety of measures in 2020 under the slogan “Green Point of Sale”: At our flagship stores in Stuttgart and Frankfurt, for example, we present selected sustainability highlights on tablet computers in the waiting area. We also held training courses for our shop employees, with more than 3,500 employees taking part. To find out how our customers perceive our sustainability efforts, we have included questions on sustainability in the regular surveys of our customers in Germany and Austria. This survey will also be conducted in other countries in 2021.
Since 2018, we have added ecological floor coverings and plant walls – “green walls” – at all new or renovated larger shops in Germany. Recyclable LED lights have been installed in around 70 percent of our shops. The “Green Shop” concept is also being implemented at many of our national companies’ stores: We have installed ecological flooring in around 100 stores; 34 international locations have plant walls. We are also eliminating single-use plastic and reducing our paper consumption. Digital invoices and online payment methods are offered across the board at all national companies. At the beginning of 2021, a virtual workshop was held with representatives from all national companies to discuss best practice examples related to “green stores”. The topics included sustainable clothing for shop employees, paper reduction, and our sustainable cell phone recycling scheme.
Sustainable products and services KPI
We are offering our customers more and more sustainable products and services. The basis for these is Deutsche Telekom’s “green network”, which is powered 100 percent by renewable energies. We identify our sustainable range of products and services with the #GoodMagenta or #GreenMagenta labels. That makes the decision to buy easier for our customers, and shows transparently and credibly which products make a positive contribution to environmental protection or digital participation. We also want to help our business customers meet their sustainability goals and implement regulatory requirements – such as the EU Green Deal. We use communication campaigns like “Sustainable with IoT” to inform our customers about sustainability issues: The campaign focuses on the potential of Internet of Things solutions for business and corporate customers to contribute to ecological sustainability. Our range of sustainable products and services will be further expanded in 2021.
Implementation at the national companies
We also offer a variety of sustainable products and services at our national companies: For example, T-Mobile Polska introduced a series of green products in 2020, including recycled mobile phones. In Romania, customers can rent routers and modems so that they can be reused after they are replaced. “Green rates” are offered by Maygar Telekom in Hungary and T-Mobile in the Netherlands, among others.
Measuring progress with KPIs
We measure our progress in expanding our sustainable product portfolio using various key performance indicators (KPIs), e.g., unit sales or revenue and gross profit for sustainable and refurbished equipment in the mobile and fixed-network segments. We also specify the ratio of sales from sustainable products to total sales of all devices. In addition, we collect KPIs on the collection of devices for recycling purposes and on the compensation of CO2 emissions through shipping with DHL GoGreen and tree planting campaigns.
Sustainable product packaging
We have set ourselves the goal of reducing packaging materials. From 2021, we want to use only sustainable product packaging for all newly launched Deutsche Telekom-branded products throughout the entire value chain. To that end, we have developed and defined appropriate sustainability criteria in a packaging guideline. This is part of our “Standard Design Specifications”, which also include requirements for product components and design. All product manufacturers must meet these criteria when developing Deutsche Telekom devices.
In particular, we are eliminating plastic as a packaging material. We carried out a comprehensive analysis to examine the potential for replacing plastic. The result: In 2021, we expect to be able to save more than 60,000 square meters of plastic film in Germany - the size of nearly 8.5 soccer fields. By producing packaging based on demand, we have already been able to reduce paper consumption by 80 percent. By introducing a cardboard scrap/shredding machine, we have been able to lower the use of additional paper for filling material by a further 50 metric tons per year. We are also increasingly using PaperFoam, a biobased and biodegradable alternative to conventional packaging materials. PaperFoam is non-toxic, recyclable in paper recycling streams, and reduces the carbon footprint by up to 85 percent compared to other materials. In 2020, we offered several Deutsche Telekom-branded products in sustainable packaging in Germany, including the Smart Speaker Mini and the MagentaTV Box.
We also use sustainable product packaging for devices that we do not manufacture ourselves but source from third-party suppliers; by the end of 2022, we also want to use sustainable packaging for these third-party products. We are currently examining the sustainability of existing packaging as part of our quality audits. If our sustainability standards are not met, we will discuss this with the manufacturers. Some manufacturers do not yet fully meet our requirements, but have introduced promising plans for sustainable packaging. In 2020, more than 20 percent of all smartphones sold by Deutsche Telekom in the EU (as of Q4/2020) used sustainable packaging.
Our “Standard Design Specifications” will also be applied in our national companies (with the exception of T-Mobile US) in the future. The new media receiver and router in the European hardware portfolio already complies with the specifications and has a sustainable design and packaging. We also want to make logistics more sustainable and optimize parcel packaging, for example. To that end, we are involved in internal dialog with our international companies, and are developing innovative concepts.
Paper-free and low-paper work
Running a large company like Deutsche Telekom involves high paper consumption. We have gradually been reducing our paper consumption for several years. With the Paperless Office project, we aim to completely eliminate paper by 2025.
Given the immense paper consumption of around 4,000 metric tons currently at our German locations alone, and the large number of processes that require paper, it is a very ambitious goal to achieve a paperless Deutsche Telekom. To minimize our consumption, we implemented various measures in Germany in 2020:
- Correspondence with our millions of customers is one of the biggest levers for saving paper. Thanks to online billing and increasingly digital communication, we sent out around 28 million fewer items in 2020 than in 2019.
- In our shops, paper bags were replaced by bags made from recycled PET bottles.
- By reducing paper bags, “thank-you folders” and other paper materials, we saved 75 metric tons of paper.
- Our internal HR processes are also being gradually digitalized: salary statements, sick notes, etc. can be retrieved and submitted digitally. This saved around 25 metric tons of paper in 2020.
- We are also raising awareness among our employees to print less. Flipcharts, notebooks and the like are also increasingly being shifted to digital alternatives.
- Until we reach our target, we will obtain our paper from sustainable sources and use certified paper.
The next step is to network more closely with our national companies, which can also already boast a number of successes:
- DTSE Slovakia: 3.35 million fewer printed pages in 2020
- Croatia and Romania: Reduced paper consumption through digital contract signing
- Greece/OTE: The “MyNet.Go” app enables employees to submit paperless vacation requests, among other things.
Circular economy in the network and IT infrastructure at Deutsche Telekom
We are carrying out projects in various Board departments. The common goal: We want to achieve our climate protection targets, implement the circularity requirement, and introduce a holistic TCOapproach for our network and IT infrastructure.
- Projects to promote energy efficiency and energy saving measures in Germany and Europe
- Project to optimize energy use and costs
Promoting the circular economy at our national companies
Our international companies are also implementing measures to promote the circular economy in the network and IT infrastructure. In the United States, efficiency in data centers is being improved through cold aisle containment. Hungary is promoting the use of renewable energies: For a donation, employees sponsor solar modules that supply electricity to a training building. In return, employees receive various benefits, such as an extra day of vacation. In the Netherlands, the dismantling of the Tele2 network results in savings of 36 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Other examples include PC recycling at Magenta Telekom in Austria and the refurbishment of mobile masts in Romania.
Greener Deutsche Telekom buildings
Our goal is to promote sustainability in our buildings. To that end, we are implementing various measures to reduce CO2 emissions, improve the energy balance, optimize waste separation, and promote longer use of furniture.
Reducing vacancy is a major lever for greater sustainability, as this can lead to significant CO2 and energy savings. We are currently examining the future demand for office space and how we can make the best use of this space. This involves developing and testing new and more flexible space and office concepts.
Internationally, we are also implementing measures to reduce energy consumption, such as optimizing the energy efficiency of major sites, switching off advertising pylons at night, and carrying out simulation tests to identify energy-saving potential in technical buildings. We also have an energy-saving campaign to raise awareness among our employees.
In Greece, three OTE Group buildings received LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. In addition to the Kerameikos office building and the Cosmote TV Services building, the office building in central Athens, renovated in 2020, was also certified Gold under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) international LEED certification scheme for green and sustainable buildings. The Mill Park building of IT Services Hungary Szolgáltató Kft. in Budapest also received LEED certification.
Promoting green mobility at Deutsche Telekom KPI
We are promoting a green DT mobility strategy throughout the Group. This includes promoting e-mobility in our fleet, as well as sustainable travel and commuting for our employees. In particular, we want to promote micromobility (bicycles, pedal scooters, scooters, etc.). We are also committed to expanding e-mobility by building and supporting the e-charging infrastructure.
#movegreen – getting there sustainably
Our Green Pioneers organize various campaigns to raise awareness and motivate our employees toward “greener” forms of mobility. Under #movegreen, the “New Mobility Concept Squad” project team invited employees at five locations in Germany to take part in campaigns on the topic of sustainable mobility in the late summer and fall of 2020. Colleagues from different areas were able to exchange ideas in discussion events on eco-friendly options for the daily commute. A total of around 20 sessions were held with over 400 participants. In addition, employees had the opportunity to borrow bicycles or electric bikes free of charge for a week and attend interesting presentations and training sessions. They were also able to participate in the “Bike to Work” campaign of health insurer AOK: more than 360 participants had cycled over 313,900 km by the end of November 2020, saving around 59,640 kg of CO2 compared to traveling by car. The #movegreen campaign weeks went down very well with our employees; posts on our internal social network “You and Me” (YAM) were viewed around 5,000 times.
Expanding the charging infrastructure
To drive e-mobility forward, it is crucial to provide the appropriate infrastructure. We are therefore upgrading parts of our existing telecommunications infrastructure to charging stations, primarily using our large technical facilities such as main distribution frames. Using the existing infrastructure eliminates the need for additional constructions in the cityscape. The electricity used for charging comes from renewable energy sources.
The nationwide electric charging network is being equipped with rapid charging points with up to 150 kW capacity by Comfort Charge GmbH. Comfort Charge is part of the Deutsche Telekom Group and is funded by the Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP). The company operates charging stations for electric vehicles throughout Germany and offers services related to electromobility. The company is thus creating the necessary infrastructure for the breakthrough of e-mobility in Germany.
Around 500 rapid charging stations are planned over the next three years. They are not part of the existing telecommunications infrastructure and will be set up at Deutsche Telekom locations with medium-voltage installations, which give users up to 150 kW of power. This enables charging for an approximately 100-kilometer range in just ten minutes. We also offer installation and maintenance services for wall boxes/wall charging stations (44 kW) for business customers. Some of them are also provided and operated by Comfort Charge.
E-mobility is also being promoted at our national companies: in Croatia, for example, a digital charging service for electric vehicles via app has been offered since July 2020. Charging columns have been installed in front of the T-Systems Netherlands building in Utrecht.
We measure our activities to promote greener mobility at Deutsche Telekom using various KPIs, which we reported for the first time in 2020.
- Amount of standard e-charging stations (AC) | standard chargers
- Amount of high-power e-charging stations (DC) | fast chargers
- Enabling: Saved CO2 emissions per customer in Germany
In the reporting year, we provided a total of 569 e-mobility rapid charging stations and 1,542 standard charging stations.
Ecological sustainability program at T-Systems
As part of the Deutsche Telekom Group, T-Systems has also committed itself to the Group-wide climate targets and integrated sustainability into its strategy, setting up its own program to support the Group goals. The fundamental areas and goals are:
Enablement of our customers
T-Systems wants to increasingly identify sustainability aspects and present them transparently to customers so that they can take them into account in their purchasing decisions. For example, to determine the carbon footprint of its products, T-Systems uses an impact measurement approach that also includes social and economic factors. It looks at the entire value chain. An important factor in impact measurement are the positive CO2 effects produced for our customers through the use of T-Systems’ ICT products.
Reducing T-Systems’ own carbon footprint
T-Systems aims to consistently lower its own CO2 emissions. To that end, a baseline was established and the largest emissions sources were identified. Further analyses followed, including impact assessments for products and the inclusion of waste. These will identify areas that present particular potential for reducing the ecological footprint.
Reducing CO2 in operations
The Group-wide conversion of all our own buildings to renewable energy by the end of 2021 does of course also include the T-Systems data centers. We are also gradually making the data centers more energy-efficient and sustainable, for example, with the aid of innovative technologies, photovoltaic systems, and artificial intelligence. At T-Systems’ largest office location in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, a pilot project is currently underway to expand it into a sustainable development site. This will produce findings for other T-Systems sites.
Raising employee awareness
Employees also play an important role in improving our carbon footprint at T-Systems. In this connection, we are reducing travel and making increasing use of digital meetings – and will continue to do so even after the coronavirus pandemic. T-Systems is also raising employee awareness for thinking and acting sustainably (e.g., by taking part in sustainability-related workshops or through tips on saving electricity). The goal is to establish the sustainable mindset and corporate culture among employees in all T-Systems countries and production sites.
International activities at T-Systems
The Mill Park building at IT Services Hungary in Budapest received LEED certification in 2020 and uses around 25 percent less energy than traditional office buildings. Employees at T-Systems Mexico can bring their private waste to the company for recycling. In 2020, this helped recycle around 60 metric tons of PET bottles, paper, and cans. In addition, laptops were donated and energy-saving measures implemented in T-Systems’ office buildings in 2020. In Spain, a new SmartCity platform was introduced that includes services such as air monitoring, lighting, and energy efficiency in buildings.
More information on the topic of green IT at Deutsche Telekom can be found here.