Session Chair

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Session Info

Session Title: Leveraging Digitalization to Drive Sustainability

Date: 27.08.2020

Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm

Session Type: Presenting Session

Presenters: Martina Prox, Tim Lohse, Kristina Kerwin, René Itten

Session Abstracts


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Andreas Schiffleitner


Reaching Sustainability Goals like Carbon Neutrality by 202x, increasing Circularity of all products to 80% or 90% by 2030, or removing toxic and hazardous substances from the overall portfolio, requires a totally different access to and scale-up of the use of life cycle information in a corporation.

Cost KPIs are broken down to business unit and individual targets. The task is to reach the same permeation for sustainability goals and bring systems into place which allow to enable and monitor the achievements and short-comings real-time.
The state of practice of preparing and interpreting Life Cycle Information is a time-consuming expert-task. With the digital transformation new opportunities come into play to overcome this situation.
The presentation will share the insights from several workshops held with industry participants from electronic, automotive and construction industry to better understand the roles and organisational structures and their current and future involvement in achieving sustainability targets through individual business activity and day-to-day decisions.
The audience will understand the role of people involved in environmental data management, e.g. Environmental Compliance Manager, Production Site Manager, Product Design & Construction, etc. The questions answered are: Which information do the various internal and external stakeholders need? What are the actual important indicators Sustainability Executives need to analyse and monitor? How can we harmonize and accelerate data management?
The answers to these questions have been already used for pilot implementations of a platform to explore further how the requirements learned during the workshops can be fulfilled. So the presentation will also show how selected roles like Product Design and Sustainability Management become capable of taking life cycle information into account to monitor achievements and assess individual decisions.


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Andreas Ciroth


Aim: easyEPD is a project that aims to develop a software tool that can generate environmental product declarations (EPD) for the wood and sawmill industry. It is a collaboration between GreenDelta, TU Munich and the German sawmill and timber industry association (DeSH) and its members.

Background: Creating EPDs by hand is a time and cost intensive process. Most sawmills in Germany have less than 10 employees and have neither the time nor the financial means to pay for an EPD. This project aims to change that and empower small and medium sized enterprises to participate in the EPD scheme.

In practice: The EPDs generated by the tool are supposed to be published by the ‘Institut Bauen und Umwelt’ (IBU), an EPD programme operator specialised on construction materials. Since EPDs must be verified before being published, an essential part of the project is to develop a semi-automatic verification process with IBU, to make it fast and affordable.

GreenDelta will develop the software easyEPD that can generate EPDs automatically based on inputs from employees working in the sawmill industry. We will make sure that the software is easy to use and has guided steps. It is supposed to be used by people who are neither experts in life cycle assessments nor EPDs. This will be achieved by pre-selecting the process steps that occur in the sawmill industry and presenting only the necessary steps to the user. They can then enter several plant-specific parameters (e.g. volume of sawn logs per year and energy consumption per year) and the software will generate the EPD automatically.


IBU – Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V.


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Deborah Andrews

Manoj Ponugubati

Beth Whitehead

Naeem Adibi


From personal lives to global management – our society depends on fast, uninterrupted 24/7 data transfer. Data Centres (DC) across the globe process billions of gigabytes of data every day and the demand for more data processing power due to technological advancements is ever-increasing, which directly translates to the energy requirements of Data Centre Industry (DCI). The industry’s energy demand is predicted to reach nearly 200TWh by 2021 (IEA, 2019; Masanet et al., 2020) and a major chunk, approximately 40%, is spent on thermal management.

Because sectoral data processing and energy requirements continue to grow, sustainable design and innovation in line with 2020 EU Circular Economy Action Plan are crucial in promoting best practices and keeping sector energy demand under control in the future.

The reduction of power required for cooling DC equipment has led to the evolution of energy-efficient ways of cooling.

A cutting-edge approach to reducing power consumption is through the use of liquid cooling technologies such as direct-to-chip, fully immersive and chassis-based immersive cooling. The technology offers up to 30% on energy savings and increased Power Usage Efficiency (PUE).

While fully immersive and direct-to-chip technologies have been around for a number of years, the emerging chassis-based immersive cooling technology is a new concept.

The prime focus of hardware design so far has been on energy efficiency. Yet, Circular Economy (CE) implies a complete life cycle of a product which includes embodied impacts. Present design thinking lacks in the balance between striving to optimise the performance and operational energy requirements and designing for circularity.

If traditional air-cooled server equipment has partially adapted to fit CE, with growing appetite for repair, refurbishment, recycling techniques and a market segment that drives sustainability within the sector, liquid cooling draws new challenges when it comes to the handling of the equipment at end-of-life (EoL).

This paper describes the constraints Data Centre Industry is facing in its efforts towards optimum energy efficiency and sustainability and proposes a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach as a decision-making instrument to encourage design for circularity within the sector.


IEA (2019) Data centres and data transmission networks – Tracking Buildings – Analysis – IEA, Available from: [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Masanet, E., Shehabi, A., Lei, N., Smith, S. and Koomey, J. (2020) Recalibrating global data center energy-use estimates. Available from: [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Schneider Electric (2020) Feel the Heat: Putting Liquid Cooling Front and Centre in the Data Centre, Available from: [u][email protected][/u] [Accessed 31 March 2020].


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Marleen Jattke

Matthias Stucki


Problem and Aim
Global food value chains, such as coffee, are complex systems, which pose major challenges in terms of product transparency. New approaches are needed to give farmers and consumers more transparency as well as co-determination. The blockchain technology offers many opportunities to address these challenges. The aim of the coffee blockchain is to show the possibilities, opportunities and limits of the distributed ledger technology in the agro-food business for automated Life Cycle Inventory modelling as well as explore new approaches for co-determination within the coffee value chain.
A blockchain for the coffee value chain will be designed, implemented and tested in cooperation with the coffee processor Delica and the coffee trader Volcafe. Additionally, we make use of an already digitised data collection system developed by Volcafe using an agronomic coaching programme to collect information on agricultural practices of individual coffee farmers. The blockchain technology will enable simplified data management, partial automation of data collection and individualised Life Cycle Inventory modelling for actors within the supply chain.
The first major innovation aspect of the coffee blockchain is an improved digitisation process of relevant information on the quality and sustainability of coffee. The information on the cultivation provided by Volcafe is complemented with data on processing as well as logistics and recorded in the coffee blockchain. This data then can be used to create partly automated up-to-date Life Cycle Inventory models of individual coffee farms.
The second major innovation aspect is the possibility for consumers and retailers to obtain transparent sustainability information on their coffee using QR codes. Besides the exchange of information, the coffee blockchain brings the consumer and the producer closer together. With the coffee blockchain, the consumers will have the possibility to support the farmers directly or specific community driven projects within the coffee value chain. These transactions will be verified using the blockchain. In this way, the coffee blockchain will help to increase the earnings of the farmers and incentivize a more equal distribution of the added value within the value chain.
Blockchain poses a number of challenges to benefit from the technology. In order to achieve high data quality, errors in data entry must be avoided with the combined use of automated quality checks and smart digitized data collection systems. Another challenge is to balance the confidentiality of the data with the accessibility of the blockchain technology.

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