Deutsche Telekom has been awarded the 2017 National German Sustainability Award in the "large companies" category for its comprehensive, Group-wide sustainability management.
"This award gives me great joy, especially because Deutsche Telekom might seem – at first glance – not to be one of the traditionally "green" companies," noted Timotheus Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO. "But we do indeed take sustainability seriously. We strive to ensure that our actions as a company are not only economically responsible, but also ecologically and socially responsible. And, apparently enough, our efforts are succeeding to an ever-greater degree. At the same time, we help other companies make their own business operations more sustainable. We are able to do so because digitization, when used intelligently, can be an effective instrument in such efforts as decreasing resources consumption and enhancing social participation."
Europe's leading award for ecological and social commitment honors top performance in the area of sustainability. In the "large companies" category, it is bestowed on companies that pioneer new approaches to sustainability – with innovative products and services, high ecological standards in production and an extra measure of social responsibility in their value chains. It is awarded by the foundation Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e. V., in cooperation with the German government and other partners.
Deutsche Telekom has placed its sustainability management on a systematic basis. As a result, its award application was able to stress its comprehensive perspective on corporate responsibility, covering the three dimensions of ecological responsibility, social commitment and economic responsibility, within the framework of a mission entitled "Act responsibly. Enable sustainability." Examples of specific areas within the scope of these dimensions include the company's sustainable supplier management, its commitment to media skills and its efforts to optimize the energy efficiency of its network infrastructure.
Another prominent example consists of the climate protection aims that Deutsche Telekom has set itself, calling for the company to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 percent, in comparison to their level in 2008, by the year 2020. The company is using a range of performance indicators to monitor the effectiveness of the measures it is taking toward this goal.
Deutsche Telekom sees its greatest opportunities to contribute to sustainable development, however, in its efforts to harness digitization for such development on a larger scale – for example, by developing and offering solutions with which customers can reduce their own ecological footprints. According to the international #SMARTer2030 report of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), digitization (ICT solutions) can save up to ten times as much energy as they consume. Digitization is thus an important element in any efforts to actually achieve climate objectives, instead of simply agreeing on them – and to achieve the objectives without forcing people to give up any of their prosperity. As it happens, digitization can, in practice, make many things easier, better and more accessible.
What's more, digitization provides answers for many social challenges, such as challenges in health care and in education. A comparison with the UN's 17 sustainable development goals, for example, has shown that Deutsche Telekom's efforts, including its products and solutions, can contribute to nearly all of the goals. The effectiveness of such contributions depends on the effectiveness of the underlying data privacy and data protection structures, however – and Deutsche Telekom is also fully committed to providing such structures.