Minimizing the Carbon Footprint in IT Operations – Meet Jörg Schwuchow and Daniel Geisel of Mercedes-Benz

Posted on April 30th, 2024

“We need to continue to reduce our carbon footprint and for this, green software is one of the most important levers for the future.”

Minimizing the Carbon Footprint in IT Operations – Meet Jörg Schwuchow and Daniel Geisel of Mercedes-Benz

Jörg Schwuchow is Vice President IT Infrastructure & Cross Functions at Mercedes-Benz. With previous positions in Europe, Asia, and NAFTA he has over 30 years of experience in the company. He has recently started sponsoring the Green IT initiative to further drive the sustainable and digital transformation of Mercedes-Benz. 

Daniel Geisel has been with Mercedes-Benz since 2009 and took over as CEO of Mercedes-Benz Tech Innovation in April 2022. With expertise in the areas of IT Sales & After-Sales, Research & Development, and Marketing & Sales, he is setting the strategic course for the future of the 100% subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.

Can you give us an idea about the solutions your organization provides?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: As part of the global IT organization of Mercedes-Benz, we provide the IT Infrastructure and hardware, software-ecosystems, and digital solutions to our internal business partners across the company.  

  • Daniel Geisel: As a subsidiary, strategic partner, and innovation driver, Mercedes-Benz Tech Innovation develops digital products and software solutions exclusively for Mercedes-Benz.

What is your main goal concerning sustainability within your organization?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: A core element of our sustainable business strategy is “Ambition 2039”. The ambition is to make our entire fleet of new vehicles net carbon-neutral along the entire value chain and over the vehicles' entire life cycle by 2039. In the IT organization we support this ambition with a clear strategy to minimize our carbon footprint by focusing on avoiding and reducing carbon emissions in our own IT operational business and along our value chain. To achieve this, we are raising awareness among our employees and business partners for sustainability and establishing standards and tools for an easy, intuitive, and holistic measurement of CO2. 

What does green software mean to you?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: We started our Green IT initiative a few years ago. In the beginning we focused on energy efficiency measures within the workplace area. Apart from that, we put a lot of effort into further optimizing and standardizing the data centers we use, so that they consume as little energy as possible. And, of course, we use renewable energy where available and switch to cloud services where possible. But this was just the first step: We need to continue to reduce our carbon footprint and for this, green software is one of the most important levers for the future.  

  • Daniel Geisel: As a driver of innovation sustainability is very important for us, especially in the development of software. A few years ago, a group of passionate “tech innovators” at our company established the first sustainability group. Their focus encompassed a diverse range of sustainability topics, including CO2 measurement, workplace enhancements, and exploration of green IT and green coding. Since then, various workshops and information sessions have taken place on topics such as green cloud, green AI, sustainable Data Engineering, or Dark Data. Recently, we have started developing further measures for green IT and green software in our company and will certainly benefit from the exchange with the Green Software Foundation and other members.

Are you applying any principles of green software engineering and development in your organization?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: Yes, we have initiatives underway that are working on making our application landscape greener. These initiatives provide frameworks, for example for green UX or green coding, as well as tools for our developers to implement the most energy-efficient IT products possible. 

  • Daniel Geisel: We at Mercedes-Benz Tech Innovation are also exploring a set of various topics, such as energy efficient programming or shared libraries, reusable code, and engagement in open source. We are also focusing on measuring the carbon footprint of our company.

Why did you join GSF?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: In order to work on the root cause of the carbon emissions within IT we have to make our software greener. This applies not only to Mercedes-Benz but to all companies that take the issue of environmental protection seriously. We are convinced that exchange and collaboration between experts from various industry sectors is the best way to address the importance of this topic as well as learning and encouraging each other along the transformation journey. 

  • Daniel Geisel: For that, we need to get in touch with other parties across industries and exchange knowledge about green software and sustainability, learn from each other, support the development of green software, and raise awareness for the importance of sustainability within our IT departments and our company.

What do you see as the main challenges with regard to green software, and how can we overcome them?

  • Jörg Schwuchow: One of the challenges we see is: How can we measure the environmental impact of software in a standardized way, so that not every company does it in its own way? In our opinion the best way to overcome this is through the exchange and collaboration of experts in organizations. That is one reason why we wanted to join the Green Software Foundation.  

  • Daniel Geisel: Further challenges include the need to develop expertise, implement necessary changes by means of effective prioritization, and address outdated systems and technical debt through sundowning and refactoring where feasible. To tackle these challenges, we are committed to investing in our employees' professional development, working closely with our customers, and driving innovative solutions to ensure our software is efficient, reliable, and sustainable.  

Will you be actively contributing to the GSF?

  • Daniel Geisel: Yes, we have attended our first appointment with the community group. We will also make the registration available to all employees soon, expand membership, and include anyone who is interested in participating in working groups and projects that align with their interests and strengths. 

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