• GRI 2-22

Dear reader,

The world is in the throes of profound transition. In particular, Russia’s continuing war against Ukraine has shocked both Europe and the world as a whole. Business, policymakers, and society as a whole are faced with an energy crisis that we must overcome together. The talk is of a “historical turning point” that will further increase the pressure on companies and others to ensure their activities are sustainable and future-proof. As one of Europe’s leading internet specialists, we take our digital responsibility seriously and are focusing on it even more in what we do.

With more than 27 million customer contracts, over 40 million ad-financed free accounts, and a workforce of roughly 10,000 people, United Internet sees itself as building bridges to a sustainable digital future. We aim to enable consumers and companies alike to leverage the many and growing opportunities offered by the internet as a universal infrastructure for information, communication, entertainment, and e-business, and to do so safely and confidently.

Our goal is not merely to comply in full with the increasingly rigorous regulatory requirements here: We also intend to continuously enhance and delve deeper into our action areas, and to ensure transparency about them. We performed a large number of projects for this last year, professionalized our processes and systems even further, and set up teams to enhance and expand our sustainability strategy.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which was adopted in November 2022 by the European Parliament and will come into force starting in 2024, will lead to far-reaching changes in both the form and content of sustainability reporting. We updated our materiality analysis in line with these new requirements in fiscal year 2022 and defined United Internet’s core action areas, which we shall measurably progress for the long term.

Given our pioneering activities in the areas of 5G, fiber optics, and cloud services, the area of “digital responsibility” with its focus on digital participation, data privacy, security, and digital participation is at the heart of what we do. We have positioned ourselves as a technology pioneer and at 1&1 we are building the first mobile network in Europe to be based on innovative OpenRAN technology – efficient, fully virtualized in a private cloud, and connected to 1&1 Versatel’s fiber optic cables. The United Internet Group’s goal with this new network architecture is to help get Germany ready for real-time applications.

Environmental and climate protection remain another key action area. Our measures are deliberately designed to ensure we are continuous improving everything from our logistics through our office buildings down to our IT infrastructure. We monitor our most energy-intensive areas closely to ensure they are highly efficient. In addition, our own IONOS and 1&1 data centers use 100% renewable energy for regular operations. We source TÜV-certified green electricity from naturstrom and EHA for our office and logistics locations in Germany and for a large proportion of our fiber optic network.

Equally, we aim to act as a reliable and trusting partner in our business relationships, and to meet our due diligence obligations as a company. In line with this, we have reviewed our value chain in detail for transparency, especially with respect to the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – LkSG), and have examined the processes needed to prevent human rights risks.

The United Internet Group’s employees are actively shaping the digital future. Our “WORK UNITED” initiative aims to give staff an attractive working environment with individual development opportunities and a wide range of tasks and roles. We are therefore delighted that we have again been named one of Germany’s best employers this year by the Top Employers Institute. This organization assesses companies’ people strategies plus areas such as professional development, working environments and well-being, diversity, onboarding, and talent management. The award shows that the United Internet Group with its strong brands is and remains a key player when it comes to international human resources benchmarks and standards. We want to be an attractive employer in the future too, and to actively live and develop our open, agile, and diverse culture together with our employees.

As a successful internet company, we see ourselves as part of society and take the responsibility that goes with this seriously, too. Our social commitment revolves around our work with the United Internet for UNICEF foundation, which United Internet set up together with the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2006. The regular appeals for donations that we make to our GMX, WEB.DE, 1&1, and IONOS customers, plus additional money from the United Internet Group itself, have raised more than €64 million for global UNICEF programs since then. One of the foundation’s main emergency aid programs in 2022, which was launched following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, was and is to support children and families directly in the country. The aid programs cover psychosocial and medical care, and the provision of vital supplies such as generators, warm blankets, and drinking water. We are pleased to be able to contribute to this important and valuable work via the foundation.

We will continue to address changing social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities closely and critically in the years to come. We intend to go on confronting them openly and farsightedly, and developing continuously, so as to ensure a digital, sustainable future. And I myself am also looking forward to being part of this.

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