Gütersloh, 06/05/2020

Using ‘Green Screen’ To Gather Data For Our Climate

Subject: Media & Services, Environment
Country: International
Category: Project

The “green screen” platform designed by Arvato Systems and further developed with the “be green” team is used to determine Bertelsmann’s carbon footprint and to increase the efficiency of facilities and buildings. On the occasion of today’s World Environment Day, Hartmut Entrup of Arvato Systems explains why the platform is unique on the market in terms of its range of functions.

Electricity, water, heat and paper - Bertelsmann companies around the world consume large quantities of these resources on a daily basis. Be it for the manufacture of products or for the operation of the company’s own facilities and buildings. Our companies generate waste, and employees use IT equipment and other services. Before the coronavirus pandemic, there were also business trips by company car, plane, or train. The central online platform “green screen” is used to record all these processes at more than 500 Bertelsmann sites, so that Bertelsmann’s “carbon footprint” can be calculated on this basis. The platform was originally developed to automate and professionalize sustainability, climate-neutrality and environmental-reporting projects at Arvato Systems. The Bertelsmann “be green” working group played a key role in its further development. “‘Green screen’ is unique on the market in terms of its range of functions,” reports Hartmut Entrup on the occasion of today’s International Environment Day. As the Product Business Owner, Entrup is responsible for “green screen” at Arvato Systems.

For many years, environmental data was compiled in Excel spreadsheets and emailed to central offices. “Of course, this was no longer appropriate when Bertelsmann began to increasingly publish environmental data for the whole Group,” says Hartmut Entrup, recalling the year 2017. At that time, he received a call from Mark Fabisch from the Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management department. Fabisch heads the “be green” committee and coordinates the “Climate Neutrality by 2030” project. His call concerned the cloud-based IT platform that Arvato Systems had launched two years earlier. “It was developed as a concrete use case as part of our ‘Internet of Things’ strategy and was originally intended to take over the energy and resource management of buildings and facilities, that is, to measure data and increase efficiency with the support of artificial intelligence,” explains Hartmut Entrup. In other words, it would also be an ideal tool for Bertelsmann to take environmental data reporting across the Group to a new level. In their search for a software that not only meets Bertelsmann’s reporting requirements, but also provides intelligent tools for on-site energy management, the “be green” team had discovered the employees at Arvato Systems.

Usage data from a hundred Bertelsmann sites

In accordance with the requirements and specs of Bertelsmann’s environmental experts, the IT employees at Arvato Systems expanded the functionalities of “green screen” to enable it to handle the annual environmental data surveys. “It wasn’t until we had this platform that it became possible to gather all the necessary data in reliable quality, much less complicated than before,” confirms Mark Fabisch. The IT solution sends emails containing links to about 700 contacts in the Bertelsmann Group. These links lead to an online input mask where the employees can enter all the relevant local data in one of four languages. “This information is centrally stored in a private Arvato Systems cloud, and converted into ‘CO2 equivalents’ using certain factors,” explains Hartmut Entrup. Among other things, the national specifics of the electricity markets are taken into account, as is the electricity mix of the particular energy supplier. “All in all, therefore, we not only learn how much electricity and water a company consumes, but also what volume of climate-damaging greenhouse gases this corresponds to. We need both for Bertelsmann’s reporting - and we get the data very quickly thanks to ‘green screen’,” says Fabisch, citing a key advantage.

In more and more Bertelsmann companies, however, even the aforementioned emails are no longer needed to transmit energy data: This is because at about a hundred locations - initially in Germany - consumption data is transmitted daily to “green screen” by the respective electricity or gas suppliers. Using intelligent measuring devices called smart meters, data can in future be transmitted directly and automatically to “green screen” at even shorter intervals, without additional effort. Data from travel management and, in the future, from IT purchasing as well, will be imported directly into “green screen” for many Bertelsmann companies for further processing. This also serves to measure progress on Bertelsmann’s climate-protection goal “Climate Neutrality by 2030.” “We want to use digitization to further accelerate processes and increase the quality and usefulness of the data,” says Fabisch. After all, a lot of the environmental data also is incorporated into Bertelsmann’s external reporting and must therefore be valid and verifiable.

Optimizing energy efficiency

“‘Green screen’ isn’t just capable of centrally compiling figures on consumption, emissions and other data from properties and production sites, but also of processing this data in such a transparent way that concrete measures can be derived locally to increase efficiency, and reduce CO2 emissions,” continues Hartmut Entrup. More and more Bertelsmann companies are using “green screen” to be able to improve transparency about their energy consumption and ultimately to optimize their energy efficiency. In Germany, according to Entrup, these include various Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, Arvato Systems, and Arvato Financial Solutions sites, as well as Mediengruppe RTL and UFA sites, and the Bertelsmann Corporate Center. The platform has also met with great interest from other companies from other divisions. And it is to be further expanded. Enumerating further options, Entrup explains that connecting the energy measurement data can also lead to greater coordination and thus more favorable conditions in energy purchasing.

In case you have questions regarding "green screen", please contact Hartmut Entrup (hartmut.entrup@bertelsmann.de). Further information about Arvato Systems is available at: www.arvato-systems.com.