Corporate Responsibility

Climate protection in the supply chain: Deutsche Telekom once again Supplier Engagement Leader

Climate protection in complex supply chains is a real challenge for corporations. Every year, the independent organization CDP assesses how well large companies are promoting climate protection among their suppliers. Deutsche Telekom has once again been awarded the title of Supplier Engagement Leader, because we take a close look at where emissions are generated and how they can be reduced. In faraway Asia as well as in the fiber-optic expansion in Germany. 

Companies awarded by CDP receive the Supplier Engagement Leader logo.

Deutsche Telekom has once again been recognized as a Supplier Engagement Leader by the renowned CDP for climate protection in the supply chain. © CDP

Climate change is expensive: Between 2000 and 2021, at least 145 billion euros of damage was caused by the consequences of climate change in Germany (German only) alone. This is one of the reasons why investors and other interest groups are increasingly demanding climate protection from large global companies. This is not only about emissions from the company's own operations, but also from the complex supply chains. With the help of the CDP's Supplier Engagement Rating (SER), investors can more easily compare which companies are particularly good at meeting this challenge. On the basis of submitted evidence, the raters check how well companies record the emissions in their supply chain and what goals and measures they use to demand climate protection from their suppliers. Only four percent of the companies evaluated were named Supplier Engagement Leaders by the CDP. Deutsche Telekom once again made it into the top league. 

"Every year, Deutsche Telekom buys goods and services from all over the world. We use this lever to create economic incentives for more climate protection in the supply chain: Climate protection is part of our contract terms and conditions and is also included in major purchasing decisions with a weighting of 20 percent," says Melanie Kubin-Hardewig, Vice President Group Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Telekom. "The renewed award as a Supplier Engagement Leader is a valuable confirmation that we as a Group are on the right track in implementing our climate targets." 

Suppliers as the key to net-zero emissions 

Deutsche Telekom is the first major DAX company to have an approved, science-based net-zero climate target: by 2040, the Group wants to leave no more CO2 footprint, reduce emissions from the entire value chain (experts speak of Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions) by at least 90 percent in absolute terms, and offset only a maximum of 10 percent through high-quality CO2 sequestration projects. By 2030, emissions are to be reduced by 55 percent compared to 2020. The Group has already massively reduced emissions from its own operations (Scope 1 and 2). This means that 98% of the emissions now belong to the so-called Scope 3 emissions, which are generated, for example, during the production or use of products. These goals can only be achieved together with important suppliers. Since about three-quarters of so-called Scope 3 emissions occur in the supply chain, Deutsche Telekom founded a task force in 2023 to prioritize suppliers according to their relevance to the CO2 footprint in the value chain. The task force coordinates targets and measures in order to define binding emission reduction agreements together with suppliers. 

Fiber optic expansion and climate protection 

While technical devices such as smartphones or routers are mainly produced in Asia, the Group also investigates emissions on its own doorstep: civil engineering services account for a significant share of the purchasing volume in Germany. Laid fiber optic cables transmit data in a much more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way than the older copper cables. In the case of fiber optics, however, the path underground is crucial for climate protection: depending on the process, up to 6 tons of CO2 per kilometer of civil engineering can be saved compared to standard processes. For this reason, Deutsche Telekom is increasingly relying on alternative methods such as trenching, shallow depth or so-called earth hammers as far as possible. "If companies also demand climate protection from suppliers, a positive chain reaction for the climate is created," says Kubin-Hardewig. "At Deutsche Telekom, we are consistently working to strengthen this together with our suppliers in the coming years."

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.