Data is driving innovation and technology - this idea leads the 40-strong tb.lx team in Lisbon. The corporate start-up develops connectivity solutions for the sustainable transport of the future for Daimler Trucks & Buses. Christian Lessing, CEO of tb.lx, has succeeded in infecting the team with his personal commitment to sustainability.
Mr. Lessing, we heard that you moved to Portugal by train. That already says quite a lot about your attitude towards the topic of sustainability...
That's right. My wife and I think a lot about sustainability and how we can best save CO₂. We want to travel by plane as little as possible and have therefore considered whether there might be a train connection to move to Portugal. I believe the colleague at the Daimler Travel Center was quite surprised by my request. In the end, a few weeks later we were standing at Stuttgart's main train station with our train tickets, which then took us via Mannheim, Paris, southern France and Madrid to Lisbon after about 24 hours.
Where does your strong commitment come from?
Sustainability has always influenced my thinking. A big part of it comes from other people whose actions I admired and books I read. If you recognize the logic and necessity, you automatically start taking small steps - like I did. Today, I am heading towards zero waste at home. We produce soaps, deodorants and creams ourselves and hardly produce any waste. Often, it's simply convenience that holds us back, even though it's not actually that inconvenient outside our own comfort zone. I always ask myself - even in business: "What is the long-term effect of this decision?" Sustainability is not a game that ends tomorrow or that I can win the day after tomorrow. It's a process of constantly getting better by taking small steps.
You were able to infect even your team with your sustainability spirit. How did you succeed in doing that?
It all starts with communication, but above all: setting an example. I noticed that no one was completely indifferent to the subject of sustainability, and so I was motivated to anchor sustainable action in our team. There are many seemingly small things that encourage everyone in the team to rethink. Starting with waste separation at the coffee corner to where we buy products that we use as merchandising for the company. Our front-end team found out that by making small adjustments on our website, such as reducing image sizes, we can reduce the processing power required and thus save CO₂.
In addition to environmental aspects, sustainability plays a major role in my understanding of leadership. I discuss the topic of sustainability with candidates during our recruiting process, as it is simply part of our company culture. As a next step we have to think about how we want to build, lead, treat and promote teams? I would like to see us not "just" achieve CO₂ neutrality - our culture should breathe sustainability.
Obviously, at tb.lx, you are on a very good way to do that.
We give our very best! In my opinion, we would not be authentic, if we built sustainable solutions for our customers while not being driven by any intrinsic motivations ourselves.
What are you and your team working on?
Our purpose at Daimler Trucks & Buses is: "For all who keep the world moving". I think the phrase is very accurate, especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic, when we all depend on logistics and its reliability. We want to make transportation as efficient and CO₂-neutral as possible. To make this happen in an intelligent, connected and sustainable way, we have our team in Lisbon. Together with all Daimler Trucks & Buses business units worldwide, we are developing connectivity services that will make us even more sustainable as a company.
Well, what can connected and sustainable transport look like?
We connect data ecosystems and unlock mobility patterns in big data, leading to new customer-centric products. As an example, we are currently developing a charge management infrastructure for battery-electric trucks to increase fleet efficiency.
For the future, I would like to see a platform with cities, municipalities, insurance companies, transport companies and many others contributing their input. Combined, this data will then create a large, connected, electrified and predictive transportation world.
tb.lx for me is...
"...the best place to work."
Lisbon stands for...
If I could change one thing about Daimler, it would be....
"...sustainable thinking in all its fibers."
More about tb.lx: Welcome to the sustainable future of Transportation.