Deutsche Telekom’s climate protection targets count toward the Paris Agreement
Jun 11, 2019
In March, Deutsche Telekom published its new climate protection targets and submitted them to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for evaluation. SBTi is an independent group of experts that evaluates companies’ climate protection targets to determine whether, on the basis of current science, they will contribute toward limiting global warming to no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels. The result of the evaluation is gratifying: SBTi approved Deutsche Telekom’s targets as in line with levels required to keep warming within a 2° C threshold.
Deutsche Telekom aims to use only electricity from renewable sources by 2021 and, by 2030, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 90 percent compared with 2017 (scope 1 & 2). Also by 2030, Deutsche Telekom wants to lower the emissions from the production and utilization phases of its products and customer solutions by 25 percent (scope 3).
“As one of the biggest DAX-listed companies, we take climate protection very seriously. We want to build the future for the generations to come, not rob them of it. Climate protection is an integral part of any future-proof business model,” says Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, explaining the company’s climate protection targets.
Only just over 200 companies worldwide have climate protection targets that have been certified as science-based and will thus contribute toward implementing the Paris Agreement of 2016. Deutsche Telekom is the third DAX-listed company alongside SAP and HeidelbergCement to have received a positive evaluation.
Alexander Farsan, Global Lead for Science Based Targets at WWF, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners, said: "Congratulations to Deutsche Telekom on being just the third DAX company to have their emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. By setting targets that align their business with global efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, Deutsche Telekom is positioning itself to thrive as the global economy transitions to a low-carbon future."
Assuming responsibility for a low-carbon society has been one of the three main fields of action of Deutsche Telekom’s corporate responsibility strategy since 2008. The current climate protection target expires in 2020 and is set to be reached by the company. As Birgit Klesper, Senior Vice President for Group Corporate Responsibility, emphasizes: “We are recording and reducing our CO2 emissions across the entire value chain, enhancing energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy we use, conserving resources, and reducing environmental impacts.” The Group formulated its first climate protection target back in 1995 and has been firmly committed to climate protection ever since.
A particular challenge in reaching the new target will be to achieve a substantial reduction in emissions amid rising data volumes and network build-out, and the associated rise in energy consumption. In addition to its energy efficiency measures, e.g. retiring outdated, energy-intensive technology and migrating to more efficient state-of-the-art systems, the Group is also sourcing a greater proportion of renewable electricity – not just in Germany, but worldwide.
Lowering the company’s own emissions is just one aspect. Deutsche Telekom can also help protect the climate with its products and services: many of its digital solutions can promote energy-efficient processes and conserve resources for both corporate customers as well as private individuals. Thanks to cloud computing, for instance, customers can do without their own servers and storage media. In most cases, this is more resource- and energy-efficient than running their own infrastructure, as Deutsche Telekom’s data centers require up to 80 percent less energy thanks to more effective capacity utilization and less hardware. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can use these solutions to reduce their emissions on average by 21 metric tons of CO2 a year. Products such as smart household devices can help private individuals contribute toward climate protection.
In order to meet the exacting requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative, companies have to prove that their targets satisfy a rigorous catalog of criteria, e.g., that they have been calculated on the basis of recognized scientific standards or that the time frame for achieving an absolute reduction in emissions is feasible. What is more, as of a certain relevance threshold, a company’s entire CO2 footprint must be taken into account, i.e., including emissions from the supply chain as well as those from customer utilization of the manufactured and/or marketed products. Only then are the targets recognized as being science-based.
“We are proud that our climate protection targets have been recognized as science-based by an independent body like the SBTi. This strengthens our resolve to continue along the path we have taken: both within the company and in its partnerships with other companies, the political sphere, society, and our customers,” says Birgit Klesper.
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