Dear reader,

  • GRI 2-22

Current world events are posing major challenges for politics, the economy, and society alike. Ongoing armed conflicts, inflation rates that remain high by long-term standards, and the effects of global climate change that are being felt throughout the world are occupying people everywhere. In turn, companies are also being called on more than ever before to make an active contribution and help find solutions.

We are aware of our responsibility as one of Europe’s leading internet companies and are continuing to increase our focus on economic, social, and environmental sustainability in what we do. We want to improve continuously and systematically, which is why we again refined our sustainability strategy in 2023. We enhanced our mission statement and defined target approaches for our material topics. We have also anchored and extended our sustainability expertise in all four of our business areas, so as to be able to manage the measures we take even more efficiently. This enables our sustainability teams to work together even more effectively across individual brand boundaries and ensure end-to-end sustainability management for our Group.

At the same time, we need to keep on top of all of the ever-growing regulatory requirements. For example, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) that entered into force throughout the EU in January 2023 and that will be applied as from fiscal year   2024 will radically change the form and content of sustainability reporting . We have set up a dedicated Group-wide project to prepare in detail for the new reporting requirements.

We see ourselves as building bridges to the digital future with more than 28   million fee-based customer contracts worldwide, roughly 40   million ad-financed free accounts, and a workforce of around 11,000 people. Our goal is to provide private and business users with broadband internet access and powerful cloud applications. We want to enable customers to securely access all the internet’s vast opportunities as a universal information, communications, entertainment, and e-business infrastructure. We are leading the way with innovative products, new technologies, reliable infrastructure, and user-friendly services and helping to make our society fit for the future.

This applies in particular to the role of Germany's fourth mobile network operator that we have assumed with 1&1. 1&1 is the first provider in Europe to be operating a 5G network based on innovative OpenRAN technology, which is connected to 1&1 Versatel’s fiber-optic network. This innovative network architecture is cloud-native and vendor-neutral, permitting extremely rapid transmission times that are vital for real-time applications. We are proud to be able to offer our customers real added value with 1&1’s O-RAN.

Our high standards apply to our environmental footprint as well as our technological innovations. We are aware of the impact that our business model has on the climate. We aim to use energy and resources efficiently and responsibly, to improve continuously, and to help protect the environment and the climate in everything from green logistics through to the highly efficient operations of our own data centers using green electricity.

As a successful Group, we consider ourselves to be part of society and take social responsibility. One way in which we do this is by leveraging our strong brands with their substantial reach. Our social commitment revolves around our work with the United   Internet for UNICEF foundation, which United   Internet launched in 2006 together with the United Nations Children's Fund. The regular appeals for donations that we make to our GMX, WEB.DE, 1&1, and IONOS customers, coupled with the additional amounts donated by the United Internet Group itself, have raised roughly €69 million for global UNICEF programs since then. We are proud to be able to contribute to UNICEF’s valuable work through the foundation.

Our long-term success as a company depends on our qualified, highly committed staff. We want to remain an attractive employer going forward – one that creates an open, respectful space in which individuals can develop and that actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are convinced that only a workforce that mirrors the many different facets of society can offer the best possible conditions for creativity and productivity, and make us – the United   Internet Group – unique.

However, for us responsible corporate governance does not stop at our own activities. We are also a reliable, fair, and trustworthy partner for our many service providers and suppliers. We have also underlined this commitment in our Policy Statement under the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz – LkSG). This document is publicly available on our website.

Acting sustainably and taking responsibility for our activities as a company have become part of our Group’s DNA. We shall continue rising to the evolving challenges in our business areas openly and proactively. We are proud of the improvements we are achieving. Yet we don’t want to leave it at that, but to go on getting better and better. The Management Board is looking forward to updating you on the progress we make.

Ralf Hartings