Corporate Responsibility Report 2021:O2 Telefónica significantly improves climate footprint and strengthens digital participation
O2 Telefónica reduced CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 97 percent in 2021 compared to the reference year 2015, emitting only 6,266 tons of CO2. By comparison, annual CO2 emissions per capita in Germany are around 11.6 tons. In the same period, electricity consumption per byte fell by 78 percent. The company is thus making great strides toward its target of being net-CO2-neutral by 2025 at the latest. In addition, O2 Telefónica further expanded its sustainable offering in the reporting year with a cell phone purchase program and the "Eco Rating" for smartphones. The company reached around 6.5 million people with programs to promote digital participation. O2 Telefónica has thus achieved the most important goals set in the Responsible Business Plan for 2021.
"Part of our understanding of sustainability is to reliably stand by people in challenging times. In over two years of the pandemic, we have always been able to deliver stable and steadily expanding network performance despite massive increases in usage. During the flood disaster in western Germany, our teams enabled the rapid reconstruction of mobile coverage. In this way, we impressively demonstrated our role as the digital backbone of Germany," says Markus Haas, CEO at O2 Telefónica.
"In a world that loses, no company can win. This is one of the reasons why we are taking corporate responsibility in and for an increasingly digital world with our sustainability commitment. By achieving the sustainability targets we have set for 2021, we are making a significant contribution to decarbonization and digital participation. We are making people inside and outside our company fit for the digital world," says Valentina Daiber, Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at O2 Telefónica.
Less CO2 Emissions
O2 Telefónica reduced CO2 emissions by 77 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year. This reduction resulted primarily from the 100 percent use of electricity from renewable sources throughout the company. In addition, the promotion of digital-centric collaboration among the workforce contributed to the reduction in CO₂ emissions. Travel decreased significantly and is expected to remain significantly below previous levels even after the pandemic. Unavoidable emissions have been successively neutralized since 2021 through high-quality CO₂ reduction projects. In addition, O2 Telefónica is currently analyzing the CO2 emissions of around 1,000 suppliers in order to decarbonize the supply chain (Scope 3). In the future, the holistic cloud strategy for core systems developed in 2021 and IoT-based building technology in the data centers will also make an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
Energy efficiency target raised
In the reporting year 2021, O2 Telefónica reduced electricity consumption per byte in the data network by 25 percent compared to the previous year. Central to this were, above all, the 5G and 4G rollout and the shutdown of the UMTS mobile network after around 18 years of operation. This is because new mobile communications generations are considerably more energy-efficient. For example, 5G consumes up to 90 percent less power per byte than previous generations. By the end of 2021, a population coverage with 5G technology of around 30 percent has been achieved. Modernizations, software updates and the deployment of around 17,600 smart meters and the new "all-in-one" mobile communications antenna, which supports all frequency bands and mobile communications standards, also improved power efficiency in the network. In view of the good performance, O2 Telefónica has tightened its power efficiency target and aims to reduce power consumption per byte by at least 87 percent between 2015 and 2025; 5 percentage points more than originally planned.
Expansion of the range of sustainable products and services
O2 Telefónica also wants to strengthen customer satisfaction with more sustainability-oriented products and services. As part of the "Let's Keep the Planet Blue" sustainability statement introduced in 2021, customers can use the "Eco Rating" to evaluate smartphones from a sustainability perspective. The associated SIM cards are shipped in half-size format. In this way, the company saved over 17 tons of plastic in 2021 alone. To extend the use phase for digital devices, the company launched a program to buy and remarket used smartphones in 2021, repaired around 36,000 cell phones, and refurbished and returned over 77,000 DSL routers to the market. 163,100 end-of-life cell phones were recycled for the benefit of NABU environmental projects; an increase of almost 50 percent compared with the previous year.
Attractiveness as an employer increased significantly
As an attractive employer, O2 Telefónica is driving forward the digital working world of tomorrow. The Employee Net Promoter Score is an important measure in this regard. In 2021, this increased by 5 points compared to the previous year to over 60 points. At the same time, 94 percent of employees confirmed that the company offers a high level of equal opportunities. O2 Telefónica relies on programs that promote learning and further development across generations and career levels. The company-wide program "5 Bold Moves" takes into account the advantages of mobile and on-site work, strengthens flexibility as well as diversity through digital collaboration and thus promotes a better compatibility with different life models. O2 Telefónica is aiming for a share of women in senior leadership positions (including the Executive Board) of 31 percent in 2022 and 33 percent by 2024. At the end of 2021, the proportion was around 29 percent.
Participation in the digitalized world strengthened
For O2 Telefónica, democratizing access to a sustainable digital future also means promoting digital skills and participation among people of all ages. With the programs "WAKE UP Now!", which primarily targets children and young people, and "Digital mobil im Alter", the company reached a total of around 6.5 million people in 2021. Almost twice as many as planned. Supported by O2 Telefónica, the online counseling platform of Cybermobbing-Hilfe e.V. also started its work in 2021. In addition, children and young people received free mobile devices, Internet access and tutoring on how to use these digital tools. The company also broke down access barriers with the new O2 service hotline for hearing-impaired customers and a service hotline for senior citizens.
Responsible corporate governance with recognition
O2 Telefónica implements the principles of responsible corporate governance in all business processes. For example, in 2021 nearly 98 percent of employees were trained in corporate principles and human rights in almost 7,000 training hours. The bonus rule for top management weights the achievement of sustainability targets at 20 percent. In 2021, the consistent and transparent pursuit of sustainability goals led to top ratings in ESG Industry Sustainalytics, EcoVadis, and the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), among others, as well as - for performance in the healthcare sector - first place in the Corporate Health Award 2021 in the information and communications technology industry. The complete Corporate Responsibility Report 2021 entitled "Connecting people - reliable.sustainable.inclusive" is available for download here in German and English: