Technical progress and inventions such as cars, computers and the Internet simplify our lives, but also result in increased CO2 emissions. For this reason, Deutsche Telekom provides climate-friendly offerings and solutions, helping our customers to cut millions of tons of CO2 emissions every year.
When it comes to the subject of sustainability at Deutsche Telekom, Andreas Kröhling from Group Corporate Responsibility (GCR) is one of the main contact persons. The sustainability strategy of GCR provides the strategic direction for all of the Group's corporate units. Activities focus on three main action areas: connected life and work, connect the unconnected, and a low carbon society. Kröhling sees himself as an educator, because sustainability is a complex topic with many facets. Another one of his major activities, as he puts it, is to "persuade people that sustainability is crucial to our core business and that it helps us perform our duties and ensure our success for the long term." New information and communication technologies (ICT) can make a significant contribution toward solving global problems – such as the alarming progress of climate change. Contribution to protecting the climate and the environment When people collaborate through web meetings and video conferences on the Internet, they avoid lengthy trips and the harmful emissions associated with personal travel. Cloud services, smart clients and intelligent energy grids also help protect the environment: "We have to recognize the opportunities that information and communication technologies provide in terms of sustainability. At the same time, our industry can contribute toward protecting the environment in a variety of ways," says Kröhling. "There are good reasons for Deutsche Telekom to pursue these approaches – after all, our customers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly solutions." Companies that incorporate sustainability elements in their offerings can score bonus points with customers, says Kröhling. Thanks to digitization, stacks of files and CDs are becoming bits and bytes. Databases and download portals make it possible to store everything in a climate-friendly manner. Through these and other possibilities, Europe's largest telecommunications company is saving lots of paper and energy, both in-house and for its customers. Kröhling also assumes that electricity prices will continue to increase in both the short and medium terms: "That's why green offerings and solutions make good economic sense, as well." Deutsche Telekom as a sustainable employer Studies show that job-seekers prefer working at companies that act in a sustainable manner. "People want to work for a company they can identify with. That's why it is important for companies to take responsibility for the environment and for society." Green IT is also transforming the demands for IT specialists. "The business aspect has been expanded to include the conservation of natural ecological resources." Kröhling expects applicants in the IT area to be interested in social issues, and to contribute key social competencies such as teamwork and resilience. A profitable strategy Green IT stands for the contribution of information and communication technologies to a new ecological awareness, and especially for the need to take responsibility and set good examples. Deutsche Telekom is emphasizing this with efficient data centers, like the one in Biere (Saxony-Anhalt). The Biere site requires a third less energy than average data centers. Kröhling reports, "At your average data center, cooling and lighting require nearly as much electricity as the servers themselves." Biere is an excellent example of how companies can profit from green IT if they recognize and utilize the opportunities that information and communication technologies offer in terms of sustainability. ICT is also making other exciting contributions toward solving problems in society, such as new processes for monitoring heart patients. Important vital data can be recorded at home and sent to medical staff automatically. "Once green IT becomes integrated in a company's processes, people will expect it as a matter of course," predicts Kröhling. Sustainable climate protection In the past year, Deutsche Telekom participated in the SMARTer2020 study. A central finding was that ICT solutions can help to cut 16.5 percent of global CO2 emissions by 2020. That corresponds to the gargantuan quantity of 9.1 billion metric tons of CO2, or around 10 times Germany's current overall CO2 emissions. Innovative communication technologies can result in a reduction in emissions seven times higher than those generated by their use. As the driving force on the path to sustainable climate protection, the digital industry can help to achieve the ambitious national and international emissions reduction targets.