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Combined non-financial statement

Sustainability is at the heart of Deutsche Telekom’s business activities. Tim Höttges, the Chair of our Board of Management, reiterated this at the shareholders’ meeting in Bonn in April 2023. To emphasize this claim, we further strengthened our existing governance structure in the reporting year: clear responsibilities for implementing the Group sustainability strategy, including measuring progress using ESG KPIs, were defined in the Germany, United States, Europe, and Systems Solutions operating segments in 2023. This supplements and reinforces the existing network of CR managers in more than 50 Group companies. We also realigned the Global CR Board as a Group-wide steering committee in the reporting year. Our revised CR Policy was adopted by the Board of Management in 2023 and started to be rolled out across the Group.

These clear responsibilities are enabling us to establish the basis for achieving our ambitious goals – for example in the area of climate protection: we aim to make our entire value chain climate-neutral by 2040 – from device production through to power consumption by customers. On our journey towards climate neutrality, we defined new, more ambitious interim and final goals in the reporting year that were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi): 55 % less CO2 by 2030 compared with 2020 and achieving climate neutrality in 2040. To do this, we want to cut emissions by at least 90 % and offset up to a maximum of 10 % using compensatory measures. This means that we once again obtained confirmation in 2023 that our current climate protection goals contribute to compliance with the Paris Agreement. The implementation plan that we want to deploy to put our climate goals into practice focuses on core levers such as the power consumption of our networks, fuel consumption in our fleet, thermal energy consumption in buildings, reducing emissions in the production of upstream products at our suppliers, and increasing product efficiency in the utilization phase. These and other measures have helped us reduce our CO2 emissions even further over the past years.

A growing range of sustainable products and solutions also enables our customers to reduce CO2 emissions and conserve other resources. Our approach to resource conservation is holistic: our goal is for almost all fixed-network and mobile products we bring into circulation to be recyclable or returned to the circular ecosystem by 2030. The return ratio for mobile and fixed-network devices in the reporting year was 28 %.

A more sustainable way of doing business not only has an ecological dimension, but also a social one. We want to give everyone access to the digital world. Making our products and services as accessible as possible is a new key aspect of doing this. We drafted the Design for All product development guide in the reporting year. It aims to avoid marginalization, stigmatization, and discrimination right from the start when new products are being developed.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be particularly helpful in making processes more accessible. AI opens up new opportunities, but also confronts us with new challenges. We at Deutsche Telekom are committed to bringing about digitalization that focuses on people and values. We were one of the first companies in the world to adopt Digital Ethics Guidelines on AI back in 2018. In the reporting year, we launched a ChatGPT/GenAI expert group to advise us on how to integrate generative AI into our business.

Putting people at the heart of digitalization – for us, this also means ensuring that people can use the internet safely. This includes in particular protecting children and young people. We therefore launched the #ShareWithCare campaign in the reporting year to raise people’s awareness about how to use children’s photos responsibly online.

Ultimately, 2023 was another year when our commitment was required on a very practical level to help people in emergency situations: following the devastating earthquakes in Morocco, Syria, and Turkey, we immediately provided telephony and data traffic across the Group to and from the affected areas free of charge. We also provided immediate assistance in the wake of the forest fires on the island of Maui in Hawaii and the hurricane that struck Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

From climate protection and resource conservation through to digital participation and practical emergency aid: Deutsche Telekom has committed to being an optimistic and reliable partner for people in challenging times. This is what the new brand claim, which we introduced in the reporting year, stands for: T – Connecting your world.

AI – Artificial Intelligence
Describes the ability of a machine or software to imitate human capabilities, such as logical thinking, learning, planning, and creativity. Generative Artificial Intelligence (also known as GenAI) – as a branch of artificial intelligence – is used to generate new content, such as text, images, music, or videos.
SBTi – Science Based Targets initiative
Initiative that helps companies to set climate goals that comply with emissions budgets determined based on scientific data. Companies can forward their goals to the initiative for review. The initiative was set up jointly by several organizations: CDP, United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).