Why innovation must be based on a foundation of principles and values

Article
17 May 2022
Linn Storäng, Regional Director Northern Europe at Axis Communications, explains why sustainability, ethics, trust and doing the right thing are integral to achieving business success.

The rapid acceleration of technological development has given businesses and consumers the tools to live and work more intelligently and more efficiently. Yet it is also clear that short-term business thinking has already inflicted long-term damage with, for example, mineral extraction used in energy production, construction and the manufacture of digital devices causing excessive biodiversity loss, according to the UN. Human activity and the desire for profit have placed an unprecedented strain on our planet, and those actions have sent public trust plummeting. Moreover, the few wins at COP26, when weighted against expected outcomes, will have done little to reassure the global public.

The challenge now is to rebuild public trust against a backdrop of increased scepticism. Employees are challenging their employers to do the right thing and the general public is demanding that companies live up to their values and demonstrate a purpose beyond pure profit. This shift in public thinking is starting to be reflected in buyer behaviour, as two-thirds of consumers now claim they would either switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues. Thankfully, there are signs that businesses are beginning to respond to intensified calls for action.

Since Axis launched the first network camera in 1996, sustainability and ethics have been at the heart of the Axis ethos. We believe technology has the power to improve lives across the globe, but we are also convinced that a core of strong, ethical values is the only basis for doing business successfully. At Axis, we don’t just pioneer security products, we champion sustainable outcomes to improve safety while adhering to sustainable and ethical practices that protect people and society.

Protecting our environment

At Axis, sustainability has been a core feature of our business strategy for some time, emanating from three core principles in line with our commitment to the UN Global Compact, which we signed in 2007:

  • Beat climate change: This involves reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases attributable to energy consumption during our manufacturing processes, and looking at how we power our facilities around the world. Axis uses green design to minimise environmental impact.
  • Protect ecosystems: Axis has taken significant steps to minimise and eliminate PVC and other harmful materials that risk releasing toxic substances into the environment during the manufacture of devices. This includes monitoring waste from production sites.
  • Protect natural resources: Axis embraces the ‘circular economy’, a truly sustainable business model. This means full lifecycle management for hardware and includes provisions for reclaiming materials at end-of-life; 95% of materials used in the manufacture of Axis products are recyclable.

In our efforts to protect natural resources, we also focus on what we can do to directly bring about environmental improvement. Members of Axis’ team recently took part in a green initiative hosted by our trusted partner, Cloudforests, with a number of trees being planted within a dedicated site along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. This effort formed part of an initiative to strengthen partner relationships while helping to create a more sustainable future.

Building an ethical business

Linn Storäng, Regional Director Northern Europe at Axis Communications
Linn Storäng, Regional Director Northern Europe at Axis Communications

To create a truly ethical business, operating sustainably must go beyond addressing environmental concerns alone. Trust is at an all-time low, and in order to rebuild this, businesses must operate openly, honestly and with integrity. This has never been so important as advancements in technology, geopolitical issues, and the need to reduce environmental impact all place an onus on every organisation to commit to high standards of ethical behaviour.

At Axis, we’re paving the way in ethical business practices. When signing the UN Global Compact, we pledged to follow and implement universal principles that address human rights, humane labour, environmental and anti-corruption issues. As a purpose-driven organisation, Axis explicitly sets out and adheres to the ethical standards we expect both from ourselves and our partners. Axis was recognised as a Great Place to Work in 2019, providing recognition of our ethical and fair treatment of people and evidencing that this is something that we promote both inside and outside of the organisation.

People, partnerships and society

The issue of diversity has been brought into much sharper focus in recent times. The benefits of diversity and inclusion are clear for both organisations and society, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that an ability to harness high-quality talent is key. There is a particular need for creative thinkers and problem solvers which can only be achieved when encouraging a mix of different types of people into the technology sphere. We believe this diversity of thought is now integral when it comes to pushing what’s possible for true innovation.

While Axis remains a commercial entity, it is our genuine drive to help people, our passion for improving the environment, and determination to constantly do the right thing that, we believe, results in Axis being held in such high regard by its customers, partners and stakeholders. We want to encourage other businesses to join us, and benefit from the social, economic and environmental success that comes from harnessing the power of technology for the greater good, and innovating for a smarter, safer world.

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