During the World Printers Summit 2023, Lars Peters presented a case-study filled with challenges and obstacles that had to be addressed at Bertelsmann. The group’s aim was to reduce energy consumption year by year and has methodically worked toward that goal.

Lars Peters is responsible for:
– Strategic energy purchasing and supply concepts.
– Coordination of the energy management systems of the BMS locations.
– Monitoring of energy law issues.
– Environmental and climate protection coordination of the BMS Division within the Bertelsmann Group.

Although print businesses have been facing headwinds, printing is still a fundamental part of Bertelsmann.

Peters named two reasons for the motivation to save energy:

Environmental sustainability, and
Economic aspects linked to high energy costs.

The following charts show how Bertelsmann managed to reduce its electricity and natural gas consumption over the last 20 year.

“The printing process has always been relatively energy intensive, and we have consistently faced challenges to reduce consumption, enhance efficiency, and lower energy costs,” Peters said.

Today, Bertelsmann is focussing on how to make the energy structure suitable for the next decades. In addition to the limited resources, Bertelsmann is facing further challenges on the legislative front, with all its limits and regulations, resulting in an increased demand for energy.

Another key area of focus is the is the development of the printing industry itself. “In our printing sites, we have observed over the last 10 years that the length of the print runs has been halved,” said Peters.

Furthermore, the debate between automation and manual workload is always a concern. While technologies such as AI, Smart Technology, and Industry 4.0 promise increased efficiency, they also result in higher energy consumption, Peters added.

Bertelsmann Marketing Services has had a highly positive experience in recent years with cross audits, involving intensive exchanges between their sites, interviews, benchmarks, and the sharing of best practices. The success of these initiatives relies on the availability of necessary information, transparency, data, and figures. Achieving this necessitates the use of ‘energy performance indicators’ and the establishment of KPIs for every process and organisational level.


As a result, Bertelsmann maintains a comprehensive set of diverse KPIs, tracked on a daily basis. Through a thorough understanding of processes, Bertelsmann analyses energy consumption over time and conducts real-time forecasts.

Peters said that the energy costs for the company’s printing service (running of machines, etc.) are approximately between 10 and 15 percent of the total printing process.

Towards the end of the presentation, Peters shed light on Bertelsmann “two target strategy”.

Risk diversification: The primary target of the procurement concept is to reduce market risk by diversifying procurement. It is divided into several smaller individual procurements.

Beat the benchmark: The secondary target is to achieve and, if necessary, beat the benchmark price.

With the energy price analysis, Bertelsmann has maintained prices for each site below the German price cap. This has helped the company mitigate the impact of the energy crisis, possibly to a lesser extent than some competitors in this case.



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