United Internet AG’s successful track record as a leading European Internet specialist stretches back more than 30 years. Today, the Company has more than 25 million fee-based customer contracts and over 39 million users of ad-financed free accounts, plus a workforce of roughly 9,600 people. We take the social and business responsibilities resulting from this strong market position very seriously.
Sustainability has grown in importance in recent years, both socially and politically. The increasing interest shown by external stakeholders is demonstrated particularly clearly in the growing number of queries received from analysts and rating agencies. We are delighted that our efforts to achieve sustainability are being seen to bear fruit in this area as well.
This year marks the publication of United Internet AG’s fourth sustainability report, in which we provide transparency on all our action areas, plus their associated goals and measures. We combine our corporate values – a commitment to success, agility, a sound approach, fairness, openness, and responsibility – with the three core sustainability factors (ESG – environmental, social, and governance). We are also aiming to be a reliable partner for our investors, customers, employees, and other stakeholders in coming years – a partner that addresses the constantly changing framework in this area both in depth and critically.
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for us in 2020 – we had to respond both rapidly and extremely carefully to protect our employees’ safety to the greatest extent possible while also keeping all our business processes running. We were very successful in this thanks to the joint efforts of everyone involved.
What is more, I am pleased that we have good news to report in relation to environmental and climate protection. We expanded our internal data collection activities so as to obtain an even better overview of the positive and negative impacts of our economic activity. For example, we are focusing not only on getting the balance between availability and energy efficiency right in our data centers – something that we ensured in 2018 by obtaining ISO 50001 certification – but also on efficient, state-of-the-art standards at our new site in Karlsruhe, which was completed in 2020. In addition, we launched our “Jobrad” initiative last year, which gives staff an attractive incentive to switch from high-emitting means of transportion to environmentally-friendly bicycles. In addition, we significantly extended our further education and occupational health management offerings so as to create a value-driven, healthy working environment.
What is more, we also implemented other diversity promotion measures and consolidated activities as part of this process. We were also named a “Top Employer” for the ninth time in a row and won the HR Excellence Award sponsored by Quadriga and “Human Resources Manager” magazine in the “Diversity & Female Empowerment” category for our “Women explore” development and networking offering. Our expansion of our Supervisory Board to total six members, two of whom are women, is another clear sign of how we are strengthening diversity within the Company.
Corporate Digital Responsibility (or CDR for short) remains a key topic, and one that – in the form of the core issues of data protection and information security – is vital to our business model. Data security plays a key role in our company’s long-term success, since it forms the basis for customer trust. As a result, CDR will continue to be a core component of our sustainability strategy in the coming years.
Another milestone that we reached in the past year relates to United Internet AG’s social responsibility. The United Internet for UNICEF foundation cracked the 50 million € mark for donations in 2020, supporting a wide range of projects in the fight against hunger and poverty all over the world. The foundation has played a key role in United Internet AG’s CSR activities for the last 15 years, and it is important to us to be part of something good.
As a new Management Board member, I am looking forward to actively helping shape United Internet AG’s progress on sustainability going forward.