We want to protect the environment. Printing on reams of paper that soon end up in the wastebasket does not correspond to our idea of environmental protection. That is why we are reducing the amount of materials we print out, such as brochures, files, pay statements and receipts. We are increasingly cutting paper out of everyday office life for our employees and customers by digitalizing numerous processing and archiving procedures.
Digital services for our passengers
In our push for greater sustainability, we are offering more services in digital form and increasingly relying on paperless communication. For example, on board our trains: Our passengers can read numerous magazines and, in first class, various daily newspapers free of charge on the ICE Portal. Our customer magazine DB MOBIL is also saying goodbye to its printed version. Since 2023, the content will appear exclusively in digital form on the new dbmobil.de website. With more multimedia formats such as the DB MOBIL podcast, we are also responding to the increased interest in lifestyle topics related to sustainability and environmentally friendly mobility.
We are making increased use of digital media for our customers. Our DB Travel Centers are one place you can see this in action: Less need for paper means more climate protection, which is part of our goals for the future. We are therefore reducing the volume of printed advertising materials at all Travel Centers with immediate effect. This will help us cut consumption of up to 50 metric tons of recycled paper and about 1 million liters of water every year.
Less paper does not mean less customer service. All of the information that our passengers need is available digitally. Quick and convenient real-time information about train connections can be found in a number of channels, such as our DB Navigator and DB line agent apps, and our website at bahn.de/tripplaner. Travelers can create their own personal timetables online and print these out at our ticket machines. In the long run, these digital offerings will enable us to reduce the number of timetables that we print (current figure: approx. 7.1 million) for travelers to pick up at our stations.
We have already gone one step further. By ending production of the "Your Travel Guide" booklet, we have eliminated the use some 960 metric tons of recycled paper each year, which corresponds to over 780 metric tons of CO2. Now, we use our information screens on trains and the ICE portal to provide passengers with the details of itineraries and connecting services.
New digital archive for employees saves paper and reduces carbon emissions
In March 2020, we expanded the range of digital services we provide to our employees. The new digital employee mailbox with archive function called “bitkasten” provides employees with a place to conveniently receive and archive monthly payslips and other personal documents sent to them. Employees can also upload personal documents to bitkasten and store them securely in an all-digital format which uses no paper. By introducing bitkasten we can save up to 4 million payslips by post and many tons of paper each year.
Additionally, our digital travel expenses app simplifies the expense report process for employees returning from business trips. Over half of them already use this online service.
Digital reception as a pilot project
Our colleagues in Frankfurt have shown how simple it can be to save paper in the office. The reception in the Silver Tower office building has been digitalized in a pilot project. Visitors and suppliers check in digitally. This saves several thousands sheets of paper per month in Frankfurt alone. The software used will be introduced in other DB buildings too. In addition to visitor statistics being recorded, a digital system for managing lost property is also in the pipeline.
DB Cargo implemented its eInvoice system in 2011, which enables invoices to be sent and received electronically upon request. Paperless invoicing is also used in other Group units. Furthermore a number of DB Group companies have stopped using paper where they can, for example when archiving files.
Less paper thanks to new timetable database
We are also reducing paper in our signaling centers. We control daily updated changes to the train schedule using a digital database, and do not have to print out changes on paper.
Our numerous digital initiatives save us a lot of space and reduce the paper we waste, which means we are reducing resource consumption and contributing to greater climate protection.