Company environmental information systems (BUIS)

Corporate environmental information systems (BUIS) are business-technical application systems that serve the systematic recording, decision-oriented processing as well as problem- and recipient-oriented provision of environmentally relevant, especially ecological and economic information (environmental information systems). Depending on the integration of the BUIS into the existing application system landscape in the company, the following classification can be made:

BUIS, which in particular serve the quantitative recording of material and energy flows. Most of them are designed as stand-alone systems, that is, with (standardized) interfaces to other company information systems, and support - mostly limited to specific subject areas (e.g. waste, hazardous materials management) - selected, administrative, possibly also dispositive tasks of company environmental protection . These relate primarily to the (external) environmental protection reporting to public control and approval institutions, static offices and individual non-public information recipients (e.g. employees or employee representatives in accordance with the Hazardous Incident Ordinance or customer companies in accordance with the Hazardous Substances Ordinance) derived from statutory information rights.
The BUIS then takes over the automated creation and archiving of, for example, emission declarations according to § 27 BImSchG, records books according to §§ 4248 KrW- / AbfG and waste management concepts and balances according to §§ 19, 20 Krw- / AbfG, survey sheets according to UStatG ( eg on the amount of "investments" and "expenditures" for environmental protection in accordance with § 15 Paragraph 1 UStatG), information to employees and employee representatives about safety measures in accordance with § lia Incident Ordinance and safety data sheets for customer companies in accordance with § 14 Paragraph 1 GefStoffV .

In addition, environmental protection publicity, ie the provision of information to the public, is supported. This includes the mandatory preparation of reports in accordance with Section 11 of the Hazardous Incident Ordinance and Section 38 of the StrSchV as well as the optional preparation of environmental declarations in accordance with the EMAS regulation and environmental reports in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14001.

More and more tasks of the company, partly also of the inter-company environmental management are integrated in BUIS. For this purpose, systems such as Umberto, AUDIT and GaBi enable the economic evaluation, especially of product and process-related material and energy flows, the at least rudimentary execution of flow cost calculations and the definition of meaningful environmental protection-related indicators (investment controlling). In addition to conventional reporting structures, Sankey diagrams, with which possible process variations can be simulated and analyzed with regard to their ecological and economic effects, are provided for the visualization of optimization potential and for the preparation of cost-cutting measures.

According to empirical studies, the so-called stand-alone systems - although the effort for the partly manual data collection and input is considerable - represent the predominant part of the BUIS implemented in company practice.
Production-related BUIS - Can be implemented by integrating operational environmental protection tasks as completely as possible into existing components of the CIM concept (CIM implementation strategies) and can be applied to both the products (product-integrated environmental protection) and the production processes (process-integrated environmental protection). Accordingly, extensive research activities and their practical implementation (e.g. in the context of the OPUS project of several Fraunhofer institutes and the universities of Stuttgart, Aachen and Bremen) concentrate on the development of solutions to expand production planning and control systems (PPS systems) that are currently available on the market ) (e.g. infor: COM from in-for business solutions AG) to environmental protection-related tasks, processes, functions and data.

Based on an integrated technical concept of an environmentally-oriented PPS, recycling information systems have been designed that are either used stand-alone, implemented as an add-on component to existing PPS systems or as an integrated production and recycling planning and control system (PRPS) can be expanded. An implementation of these systems in company practice is still largely pending. Initial applications are only offered for the plastics processing industry.

Data-integrated BUIS - Obtain and evaluate the economic and ecological information in particular from the databases of the existing business and technical application systems in the company and, if possible, from the information systems of the cooperation partners and from external environmental databases (public environmental information systems) and communicate them to the internal and external stakeholders Actively communicate information requirements in accordance with modular environmental protection reporting. Only the integrated BUIS appear to be suitable to support environmental protection controlling in the fulfillment of its tasks.

Dies setzt allerdings voraus, dass die Systeme zumindest den im folgenden skizzierten Anforderungen gerecht werden: Dem Umweltschutz-Controlling wird ein Instrumentarium bereitgestellt, mit dem ökonomische, ökologische und möglichst auch soziale Informationen entscheidungszweckentsprechend ausgewählt, bewertet und – i.S.d. Sustainable Development – integrativ zu einem ökonomisch-ökologisch (-sozialen) Entscheidungswert zusammengeführt werden können. Hierzu werden entscheidungsebenenbezogen Kennzahlen definiert, ermittelt, analysiert und zu einem multidimensionalen Kennzahlensystem ( Investitionscontrollingaufgaben) verknüpft. Für Zwecke des Umweltschutz-Reporting wird die über die problem- und empfängerorientierten Generierung, Verwaltung und distribution umweltschutzbezogener Dokumente (z.B. Umwelterklärungen und -berichte) hinausgehend der Aufbau paralleler Berichtshierarchien ermöglicht.

In addition to the environmental protection reports mentioned in (1), the user-specific creation of optional reports to specific, non-public addressees (e.g. cooperation partners, company buyers, credit institutions, insurance companies, ecologically interested investors and customers) as well as in particular reports to internal stakeholder groups (Management, shareholder bodies, environmental protection officer)

supports. In addition, communication interfaces to the intranet and the Internet should be defined, with which the internal and external (including cooperation-related) distribution and communication processes can be ensured (stakeholder-oriented environmental information systems).
Integrated BUIS are still in development. A first requirement profile was formulated as part of research work at the University of Essen. In addition, the reference model ECO-Integral was created in a joint project between the University of Hohenheim and consulting institutes and implemented in pilot companies. ECO-Integral is currently being further developed in the ECORAPID project, which supports the integration of the functionality of the reference model in standard software solutions with a high degree of distribution (e.g. SAP R13).

Vor dem Hintergrund des Sustainable Development stellt sich allerdings die Frage, welche Entwicklungsperspektiven den BUIS langfristig beizumessen sind. Der gesamtwirtschaftliche Wandel hin zu einer nachhaltigen Information society wird zur Folge haben, dass die Entwicklung eines Fachkonzepts für ein betriebliches Informationssystem ohne Berücksichtigung ökologischer und auch sozialer Aspekte nicht denkbar ist. Dann könnten BUIS – zumindest die Stand-alone-Systeme – als eine Übergangserscheinung auf dem Weg zu einer nachhaltigen Gesellschaft angesehen werden.

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