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2020 Corporate Responsibility Report

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.