Corporate responsibility and non-financial statement
Deutsche Telekom again contributed to the response to the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. In times of physical distancing, we made it possible for people to stay in contact, to obtain information, and to work or learn from home. Our multi-billion investments in the network infrastructure have paid off: our networks ran stably, even under high loads. We also implemented a range of other measures to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis on society. For example, in Europe we provided our customers, medical facilities, and care homes for the elderly with free internet connections and data volume. We also provided school and university students with access to technical equipment that would support them during distance learning. The Corona-Warn-App, which traces contacts between users of the app and which we developed jointly with SAP, has become one of the most important tools for individual protection during the pandemic both in Germany and abroad, with more than 34 million users.
We often do not realize just how much we rely on mobile network and internet access in our day-to-day lives until there is a network outage. The catastrophic flooding in summer 2021 caused devastation in central Europe, including to our networks. Our employees made exceptional efforts again in this trying situation: The mobile network was restored extremely quickly, with a return to full coverage in the affected areas by the end of July 2021. We quickly came to the aid of those living in the area, distributing some 5,000 cell phones, including SIM cards, power banks, and quick-start packages, and increasing the data volume available to those affected. We are also working to rebuild the fixed network as quickly as possible. Over 96 % of the 103,000 fixed-network lines damaged in the flood disaster in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were fully operational again by the end of 2021. In particularly hard-hit regions, we are rebuilding telecommunications infrastructure from scratch in close cooperation with the municipalities and other utility providers. This new infrastructure comprises an FTTH network that connects some 40,000 homes and businesses directly to our network via optical fiber. To keep everyone connected during the work to rebuild the network, our technicians arranged interim solutions. For example, in Eschweiler and Stolberg, street cabinets were fitted with free Wi-Fi. We also supported our employees who live in the areas affected by flooding, for example by providing paid leave from work and emergency financial aid.
For further information, please refer to the section “Employees.”
An international study by the World Weather Attribution initiative in cooperation with Germany’s National Meteorological Service, the Deutscher Wetterdienst, indicates the strong likelihood that climate change played a role in the torrential rainfall. To mitigate climate change, in 2021 we again stepped up our climate goals considerably: We want to achieve climate neutrality for our direct and indirect emissions by 2025, and for all emissions throughout the value chain by 2040 at the latest. Deutsche Telekom has been powered exclusively by electricity from renewable energy sources since 2021 – across the entire Group. Direct procurement, guarantees of origin, and own energy production are included in this calculation. In the United States, we achieved this by means, among other things, of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with two additional wind farms that were commissioned during the reporting year. The importance of our climate goals to us is also demonstrated by our performance management and incentive system using variable remuneration for members of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG, introduced in 2021.
For further information, please refer to the section “Management of the Group.”
We can do even more to protect our climate by helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint. In 2021, the positive CO2 effects facilitated for our customers in Germany were 380 % higher than our own CO2 emissions (enablement factor of 4.8 to 1). We made major progress in other areas besides climate protection in the reporting year: All T-branded devices launched in Germany since 2021 have come in sustainable packaging, for example recycled cardboard boxes. We will expand this to the whole of Europe in 2022.
Another key priority for us in 2021 was our commitment to digital participation. We continued our #TAKEPART – No Hate Speech campaign in 2021, and also launched a new priority focus with Gaming – Where the Fun Ends. We are working with the #equalesports initiative to foster greater diversity in esports and gaming, among other things, and we support increased participation by women in professional and recreational esports.