Winning start-up Gryn deploys AI for sustainability policy


Many companies are busy calculating or gathering carbon emissions. The next steps are processing all that data into a CSRD-compliant sustainability report and formulating a strategy to reduce emissions. Gryn’s AI platform provides the necessary support for those last two steps. During Webinar Wednesday, this winner of the European Supply Chain Start-up Contest explained how the platform works. Oliver Ritzmann: ‘All that legislation and those standards are a jungle. It is impossible to know everything.’

By Marcel te Lindert

Sustainability is not a trend but an obligation claims Oliver Ritzmann, founder and CEO of Gryn. He refers to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires large companies to report on sustainability. Listed companies are first in line and have to report on 2024 next year. In subsequent years, more and more companies will have their turn. ‘In total, around 55,000 European companies will have to comply with CSRD,’ Ritzmann says. ‘Other countries have announced similar obligations. And those obligations aren’t going to go away. Even if you no longer cause emissions in the future, you have to keep reporting on them.’

The CSRD is not the only legislative measure that is coming. Ritzmann mentions the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which requires importers of steel, aluminium, cement and fertilizers, among other goods, to pay at the EU border for carbon emissions created in the production of these goods. In addition, starting this year, sea freight falls under the EU’s emissions trading system and shipping companies must buy emission allowances for every vessel calling at an EU port. From 2026, this will also apply to road transport. ‘Partly due to these obligations, more and more standards such as ISO 14083 for calculating emissions resulting from transport are emerging. Those standards should ensure that CO2 data in the transport market are comparable.’

Data and expertise needed

During the webinar, it becomes clear that companies need two things to comply with all obligations. The first is data. ‘Without data, there is no sustainable business,’ claims Ritzmann, whose start-up focuses exclusively on emissions due to transport. ‘Unless you use your own trucks, transport is part of scope 3. We focus on sub-scopes 3.4 and 3.9 for inbound and outbound transport, respectively. Usually, the share of transport emissions in the total CO2 footprint is between 1 and 8%. If the company is somewhat smaller and transport emissions do not exceed 1%, transport is not so relevant. But once the share exceeds 3%, transport seriously impacts the footprint of the entire supply chain.’

Another requirement is expertise in legislation and standardization. ‘It’s a jungle. For example, the CSRD only states which company has to report from which year, but what those reports have to comply with is in the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). In turn, these standards refer to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) and ISO 14064. As a procurement director or sustainability specialist in the supply chain, it is impossible to know everything, especially given the regular updates of all those regulations. So it is extremely valuable to have a solution that automatically guides you through that jungle without having to pay 2,000 euros a day for a consultant.’

Carbon visibility

Gryn has developed a carbon visibility platform which companies can use to collect and consolidate emissions data from different data sources. This might be data from primary data sources such as suppliers and transporters, but also data from secondary data sources such as the company’s own ERP or TMS system. ‘Many companies request emissions data from their logistics providers once a year, but that is insufficient to implement sustainability policies. We deploy artificial intelligence to automate processes and produce reports. By automating data collection, companies have continuous access to the latest data. We validate and enrich them and make the datasets suitable for inclusion in CSRD reporting.’

Ritzmann stresses that Gryn’s platform is not a CO2 calculation tool. ‘There are other tools available for that which have been doing that for years. So why should we develop another calculation tool of our own? That is not our primary focus. Above all, such a calculation tool will eventually no longer be so relevant, as companies will have more and more primary data, such as actual fuel consumption. But if, as a company, you do not yet have a calculation tool, you can use our platform to access third-party tools and still calculate your emissions.’

Optimizing through simulation

The platform not only provides insight into emissions, but also helps companies formulate plans to reduce them. ‘The easiest way to understand the biggest sources of emissions is to make a printout of the activities on which the most money was spent. When container prices rose exponentially during the pandemic, we saw that this only gives you a very limited impression. Adding more data gives a better picture. Our platform tells you which datasets you need to get more insight.’

Companies can then use Gryn’s platform to optimize their supply chain. For example, by simulating the effect of switching technologies or fuels. ‘For each route, you can calculate the impact on the footprint if you replace diesel with HVO, LNG or switch to electric truck. That depends on the route. A thousand-kilometre trip is currently not feasible for an electric truck. It is better to switch to HVO for that first,’ Ritzmann explains. ‘We are also looking at opportunities to optimize the transport network, for instance by consolidating shipments or shortening routes. The best way to reduce the footprint is to avoid emissions.’

Cost versus sustainability

Gryn goes further. The platform helps to set carbon targets and measure the extent to which measures actually contribute to achieving them. Ritzmann explains that the platform enables companies to make strategic choices. ‘Many companies start with the strategy and choose to only book sea freight using sustainable fuels, for example. However, because visibility on this is lacking, the effect is not visible in reports. Moreover, a sustainably transported container costs more than a normal container. How many sustainable containers do you need to book to meet your targets? Ten, a hundred or a thousand? We help you make the right trade-off between sustainability and cost.’