How to drive sustainability through strong partnerships
Sustainability is a broad term. For us, sustainability means protecting our planet, respecting people, innovating responsibly, and being a trustworthy partner and organization. These are the guiding principles that we operate under when it comes to defining and championing sustainable causes. In particular, being a trustworthy partner. Long-term sustainability requires trust. Without it, there is no mutual foundation on which to build missions, visions, and goals.
It all starts with trust
Trust is an essential part of building towards a sustainable future. Whether this is in helping to create and develop more sustainable business practices, influencing wider policy on ethics or finance, or to shape alignment between partners in pursuit of achieving common business and sustainability goals.
To us, it is important to lead by example. In 2007 we signed up to the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. We contribute to the UN Agenda 2030 and its 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals. This, along with our own internal changes and messaging over the years, has helped to create trust and understanding with our partners as we work together to drive change.
While we have taken many steps in the right direction, there are always more ways we can improve and grow. However, this cannot be achieved without the help and support of our partners.
“If we look at the UN Global Compact agreement, there are areas we need support or alignment from our partners, so we can achieve those goals. For example, Gender Equality. For us to achieve our goal within Axis, within our industry, we need our partners to buy into that concept and strive for gender equality. Decent Work and Economic Growth, we are unable to completely control the whole sales process for our products, but we need our partners to be successful in order to grow and create economic growth. Sustainable Cities and Communities, we can contribute to more sustainable cities and communities by having innovative products that help reduce waste, identify natural disasters earlier, or reduce energy consumption. To do this, we rely heavily on our channel partners. It is part of our job to educate, but we need channel partners to think of creative ways to use Axis products to develop sustainable cities and communities. Lastly, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, which covers, among other areas, anti-corruption, human rights, and cybersecurity. Axis has done a lot to develop strong cybersecurity standards in our products, but it is up to the integrator to make use of those cybersecurity tools and resources, and make sure that that information is passed along. We are reliant on the partners in our channel to ensure that our values are passed down to the end customer in a safe, secure, and ethical way,” says Alex LaCroix, Channel Partner Program Manager at Axis.
The value of education
We recognize that these are long-term ambitions, and that we need to focus on building up long-term, trusting relationships to achieve them. But how do we look to build up that trust?
One way to achieve this is through our growing education offerings. We provide opportunities and programs for our partners with a view to educating them further in the use of our products and solutions, our values, and beliefs, as well the benefits of becoming part of our channel program. To do this, we have the Axis Communications Academy. Our academy is designed to ensure the right level of skills and knowledge are passed to our partners, which in turn are passed down to the end customers.
“The more we can provide our partners with the right education and training, the better equipped they are to deal with the changing environment of our industry. It helps them get the most out of the products and solutions, which leads to happy end customers,” says LaCroix.
We value this so much that it is a requirement for any company that wants to reach the higher levels within the channel partner program, that they have an Axis certified professional on staff.
Alignment and transparency
A key motivator is our commitment to being open and transparent with our employees and ecosystem of partners. One way in which we are transparent is the publication of our annual Sustainability Report. This report, something that for years has been an important part of our process, outlines and reconfirms where we stand, what our values are, and shows the progress we are making towards achieving our goals.
Transparency in cybersecurity has always been a priority for us. From our recently launched Bug Bounty program to help us detect and patch potential vulnerabilities, to our openness in relation to any detected cybersecurity issues. This extends across the full sales chain to our end customers, to ensure they are aware of how their data and information could be impacted by events. Even if that could be seen to have a negative reputational impact on us. This level of trust and transparency is highly valued by our partners.
“Axis and Genetec have a trusted partnership based on a long history of collaboration. We both share a commitment to bringing innovative solutions to the market to meet the needs of our customers. Most recently, we introduced Axis Powered by Genetec, an industry-first, enterprise-level access control solution. It is one of the many ways Genetec continues to work with Axis to develop solutions that our integrators and end customers can rely on to enhance security and operations,” says Kyle Hurt, Area Vice-President, USA & Canada Sales, Genetec.
“It is vital for creating long-term relationships. If two sides don’t have a strong level of trust and transparency, it can be very difficult to align on our shared mission, vision, and goals. If there is no transparency with what those goals are or what that vision is, there is no ability to create alignment, and our goals become very difficult to achieve,” says LaCroix.
A long-term approach – the key behind sustainability
In product development as well as in relationships we take a long-term approach. When a partner joins us, they are given the support and guidance they need to achieve their, and by extension, our goals and aims.
Milestone’s partnership with Axis is just one example of how a long-term, trusted relationship can bring benefits to all involved. “Milestone and Axis have a long-standing partnership as leaders in the IP video surveillance market. We complement each other and bring out the best in each other’s products. This drives more strategic initiatives and provides more value for customers as they will benefit from seeing their investment always updated and secure,” says Soraya Heristchian, Global Partner Manager, Milestone.
LaCroix believes that these relationships are so long lasting because partners know that Axis are committed to the future. “Our partners want to know from day one, that when they partner with Axis, they are going to get the support and guidance they need today and 10 years in the future. When a camera goes down, or some software needs to be upgraded, they want to feel secure in the knowledge that Axis will be there to take care of that.”
We also aim to take a more proactive approach in changing the way our products are sourced and manufactured, as well as a stronger line on the way our products and solutions are used. Over the years this has also become an area of great interest to our partners and end customers.
Product sustainability and sourcing is taking greater importance in the decision-making process for our partners. Some of that is being driven at the end customer level. A lot of end customers are becoming more aware and conscious of their footprint, and they want to make sure the product they are using is sustainable in the way it consumes electricity or the way the components are sourced.
We have always recognized the need to be adaptable to wider change, and that while change can often be difficult, we have always felt it necessary to do what is right.
The same can also be true of our partners. We have had to engage in discussions that could be considered challenging, even controversial, regarding the way we wish for us and our partners, to conduct business, all for a long-term benefit. We appreciate that our partners have often been open to that change, sharing in our values and goals.
We are able to do this through the trust we have built with our partners. Trust which has been built up though our actions as a partner and an organization over the last 30 years.