COP 23: Fiji, Bonn and Deutsche Telekom working together to protect the climate

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By Birgit Klesper, until December 2021 Senior Vice President Group Corporate Responsibility / Human Resources.

Starting on November 6, Bonn will become a major center for efforts to protect the climate, and Deutsche Telekom will of course be part of the action. Not only because our company's headquarters is located in Bonn, but also – and especially – because we contribute very significantly to climate protection! As part of our efforts, we're working to highlight digitization's real potential for climate protection, potential that is still being underrated.

Birgit Klesper

Birgit Klesper, until December 2021 Senior Vice President Group Corporate Responsibility / Human Resources.

The 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 23), the UN's 23rd climate change conference, will bring representatives from around the world to Bonn. A total of over 20,000 participants are expected. The aim of the conference is to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with a view to limiting the global temperature rise in this century to well below two degrees Celsius.  These efforts, so it is hoped, will lead to the development of a "Rulebook," or implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, which can then be adopted at the next COP (24), scheduled for December 2018 in Poland. While the official COP 23 negotiations are in progress, climate protection advocates from around the world, including representatives of many different sectors of society – such as scientists, business leaders, policymakers, religious leaders and leaders of environmental groups – will also meet in a framework of their own. The Presidency for this year's COP is held by the Republic of Fiji, while Germany is serving as the technical host. Fiji, a small archipelago in the South Pacific, is especially at risk from impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, storm surges and changes in rainfall patterns. Extreme weather events have of course been making headlines worldwide, in a climate-change context, for some time now.  Surveys have found that 9 out of 10 Germans view climate protection as an important issue, so a basic will to make necessary changes is thus certainly apparent in the host country for this year's UN climate change conference. And many German citizens also stand ready to do "their part," drawing on the many available ideas for reducing carbon footprints, such as cutting down on driving, turning up heating thermostats at home and eating less meat. But what should companies be doing, and what answers is Deutsche Telekom offering? 

Deutsche Telekom has been at the forefront of climate protection efforts since long before the Paris climate agreement

Sustainability is a key criterion for our entrepreneurial activities. We always seek to be mindful of the sustainability aspects – and the social aspects – of our business operations.

We continually monitor our consumption of resources, and we are working hard to reduce our own carbon footprint. Examples of our efforts include ensuring that our ambitious program of infrastructure expansion does not rapidly increase our energy consumption, and curtailing our CO2 emissions wherever possible. Significantly, IP technology has helped us in these regards by making our network's data transports both faster and more energy-efficient.

What's more, our networks are having a highly leveraged impact, by supporting solutions with which both private consumers and a great variety of businesses are reducing their own emissions. Users can lower their emissions by storing data in the Telekom Cloud, for example – and save resources at the same time, by reducing their own disk-storage requirements. Such emissions reductions result in that our secure data centers, thanks to their optimized capacity use and high efficiency, have much lower per-unit energy use for data storage.

According to the "SMARTer2030" study of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, ICT products and services have the potential to save nearly ten times as many CO2 emissions, in other industries, as the ICT industry itself produces.  This is why our industry has a special role to play. In agriculture, for example, the study has shown that digitization – involving targeted use of ICT systems – could cut CO2 emissions by about two billion tons by 2030. Another example is provided by our contribution to efforts in the "Smart Cities" framework. In Skopje, Macedonia, street lights automatically brighten when pedestrians approach and dim back down when they have passed. A similar system will soon be operable in Bonn. In our digital We Care magazine (available in the app store), we explain how the system works and how we are involved.

This year's world climate conference, taking place (almost) right in front of our doorstep here in Bonn, will provide a great many opportunities for direct exchanges with participants from throughout the world. In honor of this event, we plan to open our Group headquarters:

On the occasion of COP 23, we plan to hold a one-day event on November 14 entitled "The Impact of ICT on Climate Change – Curse or Blessing?" During the event, which will last from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the company's Bonn headquarters will focus intensively on climate protection.  I have no doubt that digitization's real potential to contribute to climate protection is still being underrated. We thus hope that our event can help raise awareness about this potential. For further information visit:

Image "UN Climate Conference 2017"

UN World Climate Conference 2017

The conference is the biggest intergovernmental meeting that has ever taken place in Germany.