Bayer Centralizes and Standardizes Data from the Carbon Program Using AWS
To help Brazilian farmers adopt climate–smart agricultural practices and reduce carbon emissions in their activities, Bayer created the Carbon Program, which aims to build carbon neutral agriculture practices. The initiative is part of the company's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent in the agricultural sector by 2030. To centralize and standardize the data received from the different partners involved in the project, Bayer uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to have the scalability and agility the project needs.
Using AWS helped us complete this data integration understand what methodology to use to look at soil carbon sequestration, prove these methodologies together with partners, and exchange this information with partners who all have different knowledge within the entire chain.”
Digital Transformation Manager at Bayer
The emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) is one of the main factors of climate change, and agriculture is one of the industries responsible for part of the world’s emissions. At the same time, climate change represents a major challenge to farmers, as agricultural activities depend on a favorable climate to thrive. Due to its unique position, agriculture has the potential to help solve the climate crisis through the large-scale adoption of good agricultural practices. which not only reduce emissions, but can also remove carbon from the atmosphere.
The director of Bayer's carbon business for Latin America, Fábio Passos, recalls that, with 125 years of operation in Brazil, the company's vision is ‘health for all and hunger for no one.’ “In this context, we want to be pioneers in building a carbon neutral agriculture, ensuring that sustainability is not only a commitment, but that it becomes an opportunity and income for the Brazilian producer,” Passos says.
With this vision, and with the objective of helping farmers reduce emissions, the company developed the PRO Carbon Program with the objective of measuring and increasing carbon sequestration in the soil. To this end, the program teaches farmers to adopt more sustainable management practices such as crop rotation and implementation of cover crops. They also learn how to rely on cutting-edge technologies for soil analysis and recommendations for good management practices, that will increase productivity in certain areas.
According to Passos, it is the first time that a company will make a sustainability initiative as a business model: “It's a very connected project with cutting-edge science and technology, and most importantly, it's done collaboratively, together with farmers and partners.”
The initiative was supported by seven research partners, including Embrapa, which played a fundamental role in the creation of protocols and the scientific basis of the project. It did so by conducting best practices tests and strengthening the scientific basis of the day. Seven partners produced multiple data sources, with a variety of formats and different volumes, creating the challenge of standardizing and centralizing the data. Additionally, to ensure the integration and availability of data between partners, the initiative needed a control to guarantee that each partner consumed only the data necessary to perform its function in the process, thus ensuring proper governance and compliance with the LGPD data protection law in Brazil.
Building a Data Lake Using AWS Well-Architected
To address the issue of data centralization and standardization, Bayer hired ST IT Cloud, which specializes in implementing cloud data solutions. ST IT Cloud proposed a solution built on AWS, using a serverless data lake architecture and best practices to ensure operational excellence, security, reliability, performance, and cost optimization, using AWS Well-Architected—a tool that measures the workload and provides recommendations on how to improve a company’s architecture. The solution designed by ST IT Cloud used the following architecture:
A serverless data lake proved to be the ideal solution to enable the Bayer PRO Carbon Program because it is scalable, has a low fixed cost, and responds as new data sources are mapped and loaded. “Within the same framework, we built low-latency APIs consuming data already prepared directly from Amazon RedShift, helping Bayer to become a data hub for all partners involved, enabling fast and automatic communication between them,” explains ST IT Cloud's chief technology officer (CTO) Renato Calabro.
Amazon Redshift, a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service that makes it simple and cost-effective to efficiently analyze data using existing business intelligence tools, helped Bayer and ST IT Cloud build the necessary structure and provide granular permissions of data, following the rule of minimum access required. In addition, is the solution provides constant monitoring of operations, logs, auditing, and traceability in compliance with the LGPD and GDPR (European data protection) laws. “To do this, we created several APIs for the various ways the data arrives in the data lake and is processed in a data trail. So we relied heavily on AWS services, such as AWS Glue, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), to format this entire data lake,” Calabro explains.
Bayer's digital transformation manager, Vanessa Ginez, recalls that the company's relationship with AWS began with discussions about digital transformation. “AWS helped us to start this data integration, understand what methodology to use to look at soil carbon sequestration, prove these methodologies together with partners, and exchange this information with users who all have different knowledge within the entire chain, completing the integration,” she reinforces.
With the implementation of the architecture designed and implemented by ST IT Cloud, the PRO Carbon Program was able to fulfill requirements such as data centralization, metadata standardization, agility in data availability, homogeneous and scalable architecture, standardized integration layer, efficient data governance, security of integration interfaces, compliance with data protection laws, and auditing and monitoring of the entire process.
Centralizing Data Availability Using AWS Solutions
Using AWS solutions helped integrate and centralize the availability of data, making it possible to monitor the different stages of the project with each of the farmers spread throughout Brazil—controlling the harvest time and reporting to the farmer the progress and the results obtained.
The initial PRO Carbon Program included more than 400 farmers across 144 cities in 15 Brazilian states. The program generated more than 80,000 soil samples and started the path for agriculture in the carbon market.
The solution developed in partnership with ST IT Cloud made it possible to work with data from different partners, with structured and semi-structured formats and with different volumes, generating a centralized data repository and making Bayer a data hub between partners and farmers. In addition, all the automation meant that the project was monitored digitally, through dashboards and notifications in near real time. “Our big role is to be that agent of change. That we actually can build a technical road that will lead us to this carbon market with a lot of science and research” says Passos.
Looking Toward a Sustainable Future
The solution was developed with more than 400 farmers supporting the new phase of the project. This innovation helped kick-start an increase in sustainability and preservation of the environment, while delivering value to farmers and partners, through innovative carbon measurement methodologies and sustainable management recommendations. “The idea is that in the future we will scale even more and not only by the number of producers, but also by adding value to the data collection chain. We intend to include new startups in this process to collect more carbon dioxide emission data throughout the agricultural production chain” Ginez reveals.
Bayer is a global company focused on health and nutrition. Its products and services are developed to help the planet and people by supporting efforts to address the great challenges presented by population growth and aging. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact from its business. At the same time, Bayer aims to increase its earning potential and create value through innovation and growth. In fiscal year 2020, it had approximately 100,000 employees with sales of €41.4 billion.
Benefits of AWS
- Integration and centralization of data
- Collation of data from different sources and formats
- Monitoring global projects in near real time
- Developed solution to connect more than 400 farmers
- Generation and cataloging of over 80,000 soil samples
AWS Services Used
Amazon Redshift uses SQL to analyze structured and semi-structured data across data warehouses, operational databases, and data lakes, using AWS-designed hardware and machine learning to deliver the best price performance at any scale.
Amazon API Gateway
Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
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