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Digitalisation is key to environmental management success

Roar Engen

Senior Manager, Tietoevry Create

The Eco-Lighthouse Foundation (Miljøfyrtårn) runs what has become Norway’s leading eco-certification scheme. At its heart is the Eco-Lighthouse Portal – a digital environmental-management system that Tietoevry Create develops and maintains.

Established in 2003, the Eco-Lighthouse scheme is Norway’s most widely-adopted method for companies to document their environmental performance and demonstrate social responsibility. It’s used by almost 10,000 organisations from all sectors, including small- and medium-sized businesses, large corporations and municipal authorities.

At the heart of the scheme is the Eco-Lighthouse Portal, which Tietoevry Create has been developing and maintaining since 2016 in close cooperation with the Foundation.

Head of Digitalisation at Eco-Lighthouse, Arne Ranneberg-Nilsen, describes the portal as the certification scheme’s core environmental-management tool. The foundation’s administrators, customers, environmental consultants and certifiers all use the portal for their work.

“We call it a one-stop platform for operating the certification scheme,” says Ranneberg-Nilsen. “Criteria, guidelines, indicators, climate accounting, communication between those engaged in the process, and various reporting functions – they’re all there in the portal. It really is the hub that keeps the Eco-Lighthouse certification scheme running smoothly.”

Ranneberg-Nilsen says good environmental management requires every initiative to be measurable. Proposals for new initiatives should be easy to generate and everything must be reported.

“There is a lot of data in society, and it must be made accessible to customers and their decision-makers. Digitalisation is essential for success in this endeavour,” he adds.

A greener world – one day at a time

The overarching goal of the Eco-Lighthouse scheme is to help organisations reduce their carbon footprint, speed the transition to greener operations and boost competitiveness.

The certification criteria were updated in 2022, requiring changes made in the portal too. Users see information that’s tailored to their business sector, organization size and for the purpose in question.

“Organising the information is a complex task, but it’s crucial to safeguarding the scheme’s user-friendliness and paving the way for continuous use,” says Ranneberg-Nilsen.

The Eco-Lighthouse philosophy is that an entity works in a certified way every single day. It is not something that is prioritised only when working towards certification. The portal’s primary goal is to simplify these day-to-day efforts.

“We work with a perspective stretching 20, 30 or 40 years into the future. Ours is not a scheme where you gain certification and then are done with it. This places huge demands on the development of the portal, which Tietoevry Create meets in full,” says Ranneberg-Nilsen.

Tietoevry Create Project Manager, Elisabeth Cederberg Øvensen, says that running and developing a portal solution requires a good understanding of users and insights into their needs.

“We’ve managed to tailor the portal to different users by implementing a role-based system that has been customised to meet the Eco-Lighthouse scheme’s requirements,” says Cederberg Øvensen. “We use testing and development to gain an in-depth understanding of the needs of all the different user roles and the operations they perform. This helps us to achieve a seamless user experience.”

“The portal has also been moved into the cloud so that it can scaled both up and out according to need and load. This has increased the Eco-Lighthouse organisation’s capacity for monitoring and control, improved security and paved the way for further expansion,” she says.

An ongoing partnership

Tietoevry’s broader work with sustainability initiatives means the company has a solid understanding of the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation’s needs. This made Tietoevry Create a natural choice when the digital portal project was put out to tender in 2016.

Ranneberg-Nilsen says the partnership is characterised by a philosophy founded on trust, responsibility and reciprocity.

“We give Tietoevry Create the freedom and the responsibility to challenge us to develop the best possible system for the portal’s users,” he says. “We’re keen to back the developers up and provide whatever they need to deliver the best possible outcome. They have our complete confidence and we find that they help us to improve.”

Project manager Øvensen says a partnership of this type also makes it easier for the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation to quickly adopt the latest innovations, tools or technological developments.

“We’ve been able to participate in processes ranging from programming to user adoption and product development. This has put us on a better footing to offer good advice and become almost an extension of the Foundation itself,” she says.

“We can often see opportunities that the organisation had not thought of, because we know their needs especially well. This allows us to easily identify areas for the application of new technology, smarter ways of working or other ways of optimising processes.”

Øvensen feels that contributing to the important work of the Eco-Lighthouse Foundation is extremely rewarding.

“A high level of complexity demands a correspondingly high level of performance from us in the development team. It keeps us on our toes, which is great fun,” she says.


About Miljøfyrtårn/Eco-lighthouse 

Miljøfyrtårn/Eco-Lighthouse is a national environmental certification scheme ran by the Miljøfyrtårn Foundation/Eco-Lighthouse foundation. The foundation was estalished in 2003 by organisations in both public and private sector. Read more about Miljøfyrtårn at (Norwegian).

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