Jan Brecht, Chief Information Officer of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, wants to make the Daimler IT CO₂-neutral in four years. As the first host at CIOmove 2021, he will give some insights about this plan on the opening day, Thursday, July 8, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
For Jan Brecht it is important to make the digital transformation sustainable. Since the lion´s share of energy consumption comes from the data centers, he will explain how a sustainable data center strategy can look like while progressing with enterprise digitization and radical transformation plans.
Note: Due to the current Corona requirements, our opening evening at CIOmove 2021 is already fully booked. However, this may still change. Interested CIOs should get on a waiting list. Please contact email@example.com quickly so that we can prepare our Corona test team for additional participants if necessary.
In preparation for CIOmove 2021 we had the chance to ask Jan some questions about sustainability in general:
CIOmove: Do companies have a role in keeping our planet habitable?
Brecht: Absolutely. Climate change threatens our way of life as well as the global economy. Not only is it in the long-term financial interest for companies to play a part, they also have an ethical obligation to be a part of keeping the planet habitable.
Do you believe that your position has a role to play in this?
Brecht: My role is to ensure and to support, that our organization never stands still and remains future-oriented. Here, sustainability is key. CIOs can contribute by steering their organizations towards more sustainable business practices – including further developing the technology needed to do so. I also believe it is important to stick to these values above and beyond the scope of just our company. This means ensuring the partners we choose to work with also have sustainability in focus.
Can your position protect the planet from ecological (and social) decline?
Brecht: I can contribute by staying vigilant and focused on constant and consistent progress. Each and every individual has a social responsibility to help protect the planet, and as CIO, I am in the position to help guide our organisation to have an even more positive, lasting impact.
Which projects do you manage that have a positive effect on the social and environmental impact of your company?
Brecht: With our new Green IT initiative, we are driving positive change and bundle several ongoing IT projects. For example, we are in the midst of a data center transformation with the goal of being CO2 neutral by 2025. We are moving our High-Speed Computing to the cooler Nordic countries, where they will be powered by 100% green or CO2 neutral energy, while at the same time drastically minimizing overall energy consumption. Daimler is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2039, and our IT plays a big role in reaching that target. One other Green IT example is our Paperless Factory, which significantly reduces waste and increases efficiency. Additionally, the Digital Twin project utilizes highly-accurate simulations to reduce the dependency on physical test vehicles and our Digital Workplace setup enables the increased prevalence of home office, thus reducing traffic and emissions.
Do you see a changing CIO function in that light?
Brecht: As sustainability should be a core element of every function moving forward, the role of CIO will certainly change. We can help our organizations uncover hidden opportunities to reduce resource and energy consumption, as well as to track the progress. By having more focus on this kind of data, we can not only bring benefit to our bottom line, we can help the environment at the same time.
How can IT save the planet?
Brecht: IT alone cannot save the planet. In order to have a lasting impact, we need a concentrated effort from all fronts – on a global scale. But IT will most certainly play an important role. We see every day how technology helps solve problems big and small and it is already being implemented in exciting ways to help save the environment.
Questions were asked by Katja Hartert (photo), Partner at Odgers Berndtson
Jan Brecht currently serves as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz , with a global responsibility for IT across all divisions, brands, and markets.
Prior to assuming this position, he worked for the adidas Group from 2009 to 2015, lately as CIO & Head of Global Supply Chain, combining the IT and logistics responsibilities.
Jan has started his career at the former Daimler-Benz AG in 1997. Since 2000, he has held various IT management positions at Daimler in automotive sales, financial services, production, and engineering. Among other tasks, Jan Brecht headed Information Technology Management for the Mercedes Car Group’s production sites in the US, China, Brazil, and South Africa, and was CIO for Mercedes-Benz Sales and Daimler Financial Services in North and South America.
Jan Brecht holds a Master’s degree in Communications Technology from the University of Karlsruhe (Germany). He also received the international “Tripartite” degree from the Universities of Southampton (UK) and ESIEE Paris (France). He is a member of the German National Scholarship Foundation.
Jan is married and has two sons. He enjoys hiking, skiing, and novels of the 20th century.