EU Taxonomy

The EU Taxonomy (Regulation (EU) 2020/852) is a uniform, binding classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities. Companies are obliged to report on the results of this classification on an annual basis. The aim is for them to provide an overview of which of their activities and investments are environmentally sustainable. Article 9 of the EU Taxonomy Regulation sets out six environmental objectives. The 2023 reporting period saw the introduction for the first time of concrete specifications ( technical screening criteria ) for environmental sustainability for all six environmental objectives (Commission Delegated Regulation (CDR) (EU) 2021/2139 and CDR (EU) 2023/2486).

As was the case in the previous year, United   Internet determined both Taxonomy eligibility and Taxonomy alignment for the first two environmental objectives

  • Climate change mitigation and
  • Climate change adaptation

for the reporting period.

In line with the European Commission’s requirements, only Taxonomy eligibility was determined for the four other environmental objectives

  • Sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
  • Transition to a circular economy
  • Pollution prevention and control, and
  • Protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

for the reporting period . Reference will be made to these environmental objectives later on.

Taxonomy-eligible Economic Activities  

United   Internet reviewed and reassessed its Taxonomy-eligible economic activities for the reporting period. The following turnover-generating economic activities from Annex   1 of CDR 2021/2139 (environmental objective: climate change mitigation) and Annex   2 of CDR 2023/2486 (environmental objective: transition to a circular economy) were identified as Taxonomy-eligible:

As regards the first environmental objective (climate change mitigation), United   Internet’s business activities can be assigned in particular to Activity 8.1   “Data processing, hosting and related activities” . United Internet’s Business Applications Segment offers domains, home pages, web hosting, servers, cloud solutions and e-shops, group work, and online storage, among other things. This segment’s offering is therefore responsible for the majority of the United Internet Group’s Taxonomy-eligible activities. The Consumer Applications Segment is home to United Internet’s consumer applications such as online storage and personal information management. Activities relating to Activity   8.1 were also identified in this segment. To a limited extent, the Consumer Access and Business Access segments contain Taxonomy-eligible activities that fall within Activity 8.1, since they provide online storage and cloud telephony.

As in the previous year, United Internet identified those activities (such as online storage) in which hosting and data storage play a key role as Taxonomy-eligible activities for the reporting period. No distinction was made between hosting and data storage activities using the Company’s own or third-party data centers . Other activities that only tangentially involve data transfer are not included under Activity 8.1.

The only turnover-generating economic activities by United   Internet that can currently be assigned to environmental objectives 3–6 relate to the “transition to a circular economy” objective. The Consumer Access Segment refurbishes returned smartphones and resells them to customers as reconditioned second-hand goods; this corresponds to Activity 5.4 “Sale of second-hand goods” .

Based on our current understanding, the core businesses of other United Internet Group areas are not covered by the EU Taxonomy. As a result, activities relating to the expansion and use of telecommunications networks were classified as Taxonomy non-eligible, as was the case in the first two years’ reporting. This includes expansion of the public fiber-optic and mobile network and those business activities and investments relating to the expansion of the network infrastructure, including the equipment locations.

In addition, material horizontal issues and infrastructure-related topics were identified in connection with CapEx and OpEx at United Internet:

“Climate change mitigation” environmental objective

  • 6.5 “Transport by motorbikes, passenger cars and commercial vehicles,” i.e., expenditure relating to the vehicle fleet

  • 7.7 “Acquisition and ownership of buildings,” especially via IFRS 16 leases and rights of use in assets

The economic activities mentioned above are assigned solely to the “climate change mitigation” environmental objective, since there are currently no adaptation plans containing specific measures for the activities concerned. Because of this, no CapEx nor OpEx has been assigned to the “climate change adaptation” environmental objective pursuant to Commission Notice C/2023/305 (FAQs). Since the activities concerned are also not enabling activities within the meaning of this environmental objective that provide adaptation solutions that can enable another economic activity to reach a substantial contribution, no turnover has been assigned to this environmental objective. This avoids double-counting.