Corporate Responsibility

Climate change mitigation to the highest standards: Deutsche Telekom impresses SBTi and CDP

Deutsche Telekom is taking active, targeted steps to help limit the extent of man-made climate change. Renowned organization Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has confirmed that Deutsche Telekom’s ambitious climate targets uphold the Paris Agreement. For the eighth year running, Deutsche Telekom made it onto CDP’s Climate A List for the actions it’s taken to mitigate climate change.

Net zero by 2040: Deutsche Telekom has declared this as its long-term goal. The focus here is firmly on reducing emissions in absolute terms. At least 90 percent of emissions are to be cut out in absolute terms between 2020 and 2040, and that means all across the value chain from production and our own operations up to the use of the products and solutions we sell (Scope 1, 2, and 3). The remaining up to 10 percent of emissions are to be removed from the atmosphere in the long-term using high-quality carbon removal projects so our carbon footprint equates to net zero. To shine a light on how we intend to get there, the Group has set a clear interim target: by 2030, Deutsche Telekom will slash all climate-related emissions from across the entire value chain (Scope 1, 2, and 3) by 55 percent in absolute terms compared to 2020 levels. The thorough review and subsequent endorsement of the net zero targets by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) attests to the high demands the company places on itself. This makes Deutsche Telekom the first DAX heavyweight to set a science-based net zero climate target which conforms with the SBTi’s new stricter criteria.

Eine Blumenwiese vor der die Logos der renommierten Klimaschutzorganisationen SBTi und CDP erscheinen.

Telekom ist erstes DAX-Schwergewicht mit einem von der SBTi bestätigten, wissenschaftsbasierten Netto-Null-Klimaziel. Die Climate A List des CDP zeichnet die besten Unternehmen im Klimaschutz aus. © Deutsche Telekom

CDP A List: trailblazers in climate change mitigation 

Deutsche Telekom was also able to impress CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) and made it onto the Climate A List for the eighth year running. The non-profit organization reviews climate change mitigation goals and activities by companies across the world, creating transparency for investors and corporate customers. CDP’s great importance is reflected in the fact that an increasing number of companies are choosing to undergo this critical review and answer the comprehensive survey: while around 10,000 companies took part in 2020, an incredible 23,000 submitted their activities for assessment in 2023. 346 of them made it onto the Climate A List. Deutsche Telekom received leadership status (A) in 8 of 11 categories and made improvements in the categories “Risk Disclosure,” “Risk Management Process,” and “Emissions Reduction Initiatives” since the previous year. 

“Deutsche Telekom aspires to be the world’s leading digital and sustainable telecommunications company. To achieve this goal, we want to push forward with climate change mitigation and even use our products and solutions to facilitate the path to a net-zero future,” says Melanie Kubin-Hardewig, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Telekom. “Both the positive review of our goals by the Science Based Targets initiative’ and the great feedback from CDP confirm that we are on the right path.”

Tangible climate change mitigation: the key levers 

For years, Deutsche Telekom has been pursuing a consistent, integrated climate strategy to achieve its ambitious goals: ever since 2021, the Group has met all of its electricity requirements using renewable energy and supported the expansion of wind and solar energy by concluding long-term power purchase agreements –thanks to this, Scope 1 & 2 emissions have already been reduced by 94 percent. Energy-saving measures and new technologies like fiber-optic and 5G are helping to increase energy efficiency when operating networks, with the aim of doubling efficiency by the end of this year, compared to 2020. Decommissioning legacy technologies like 3G or phone booths can also help save energy. Emissions are also being reduced through continued efforts to electrify and downsize the Group’s vehicle fleet as well as building optimization measures.

One of the main difficulties is the reduction of Scope 3 emissions which primarily occur in the production, delivery, and use of network components and products. Deutsche Telekom is working closely with suppliers to make energy-efficient, climate-friendly models a priority right from the product development stage and has integrated its sustainability criteria into the conditions for invitations to tender.  

What are these science-based targets?
Heeding scientists’ warnings and keeping global warming firmly under 2 degrees: this goal was the big breakthrough made during the Climate Change Conference in 2015 in Paris. The Science Based Targets initiative is commissioned to review whether companies, nations, or cities are doing their bit. In addition to the target values for both long and short-term goals, this review requires organizations to submit the scope and basis for calculating emissions as well as plans to achieve the short-time goals. The SBTi provides a time frame of 5-10 years for short-term goals, with long-term goals to be achieved by 2050 at the latest. The SBTi compares company values with reduction levels that, according to science, all organizations must reach in order to limit global warming overall. It is only following a positive review that the SBTi will confirm that a company is helping to achieve the overarching 1.5 degree target by adhering to the targets set. Behind the Science Based Targets initiative are prominent organizations such as the WWF, the World Resources Institute, and CDP. The criteria used for the review were adjusted by SBTi in 2021 to align with the latest scientific findings. Back in 2019, Deutsche Telekom became the third DAX group to receive the SBTi’s confirmation for its climate goals in line with the then current criteria

What is CDP?
CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) is an independent organization which singles out the Climate A List companies who are leading the way in terms of the climate, have set themselves goals to achieve the 1.5 degree target, and have created and implemented appropriate management processes and plans for transitions and measures in order to make an active effort to reduce emissions both now and in the future.

Symbolic image: four hands with a green, grassy ball in the middle.

Net zero as a team sport

Suppliers are important partners on the road to climate neutrality. At Deutsche Telekom, ecological criteria for purchasing projects must be taken into account in the decision.