InterviewsSustainability

The Journey to Net Zero Requires a Mindset Change

Kevin Teehan, the Vice President for Corporate Strategic Services at HID, says a good starting point is to embed sustainability as part of the company’s core purpose

How does technology contribute to sustainability?
Evolving technologies, such as 5G networks and artificial intelligence (AI), will enable more end-to-end, cloud-based solutions while reducing environmental impact. In the security industry, teams are already leveraging the cloud and IoT to deliver seamless end-user experiences utilizing connected architecture, multi-applications, and mobile devices for secure access that simplifies complexities optimizes processes and reduces resources.

A great example is commercial buildings. Cloud and IoT not only enable access control through mobile devices such as smartphones and watches, but they can help reduce the amount of energy consumption in commercial offices, as they can power lights, HVAC, and ancillary devices only when a space is being used. A key advantage of mobile access is the fact that users take far more care looking after their expensive smartphones compared to plastic access cards; which are quite often lost or misplaced.

What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice?
HID’s sustainability approach is embedding sustainable values into our standard business practices. As such, our economic, environmental, and social indicators are a part of our organization’s success and culture. Key commitments include green building design for existing operations, remodels, and new construction; and an ongoing focus on global best practices for managing sustainability over the long term. We are positive stewards of our environments and drive this commitment through ongoing education and engagement.

Our products are met with the same level of stewardship. They feature Green Circle Certifications for dematerialization, energy efficiency, and product circularity, all of which offer our customers a more sustainable solution by keeping the product lifecycle at the forefront. Digital transformation has also driven HID to invest its R&D efforts in the mobile credentialing and digital identity and authentication space, developing products that reduce the need for plastic cards, in the case of HID® Mobile Access, and paper waste, in the case of digital IDs.

It’s also important to note that our global reach allows us to help customers in regionally specific ways thanks to our proximity to those markets. We have offices and manufacturing locations in several countries, giving us the flexibility to optimize shipping logistics and in turn maximize carbon emission reduction.

How do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?  
HID has collaborative Green Teams across the globe that host local environmental events, helping to build a culture of commitment and duty of care. Recognizing that we are the industry-leading manufacturer of trusted identity solutions sets the bar high for how we conduct business. Our culture, ambitions, and priorities enable and empower us to move beyond a key process indicator (KPI) and do more good for the planet, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (6,8,9,11,12, and 13) through all functions of our business areas and opportunistic ventures. Globally, we support causes such as World Children’s Day, One Tree Planted, Habitat for Humanity, and various Community Clean Up programs.

Additionally, HID has aligned with science-based targets to reduce our carbon footprint by half by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. We are working diligently across all aspects of our portfolio, embedding real estate, supply chain, quality, value analysis and value engineering (VA/VE), product innovation, and operations to enable opportunistic ideation to meet these ambitious targets. We recognize there is no planet B, and we are doing our part to be good stewards by engaging in our local communities as often and as much as we can.

Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
The global case for sustainability is evident through the effects we see from climate change, and organizations across the globe can unite by taking action. Building capital investments into a company’s short- and long-term strategy to minimize its environmental impact is key. Connecting with local municipalities, understanding the struggles and the issues in the community, and working together to find solutions help build trust and resilience.

Partnering with the municipalities on local government incentives is a great catalyst for the sustainability journey. As a best practice, it is good to be certified to ISO 14001 for Environmental Management or 50001 for Energy Management; both standards set the framework for continuous improvement, ensuring objectives and targets are at the core of an organization’s growth strategy.

We encourage our local offices to partner with local municipalities on Community Impact Programs, for example. We also design our facilities based on LEED and WELL best practices. As such, we are proud that our corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas, has achieved LEED Platinum Certification and that our Galway facility was recently recognized as a finalist in the Galway Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Sustainability.

What challenges are there on the journey toward net zero, and how can technology help solve those issues?
The journey to net zero requires a mindset change and transformation of the current infrastructure and systems that support our global economy. New critical minerals will be in great demand, such as lithium for the production of batteries used in electric vehicles, and the long-term effects of such minerals on the environment have yet to be fully investigated. The key will be transitioning from carbon intensity without compromising practicality, affordability, and longer-term sustainability. We will need a lot of ingenuity and innovation.

A recent example of how HID is using technology, innovation, and ingenuity on the journey to net zero is our Placard team in Melbourne, Australia. HID acquired Placard, the largest manufacturer of secure cards in Australasia in 2019, and through innovation and partnerships, Placard has partnered with Rigoli Group not just to simply recycle but upcycle Placard PVC surplus, including offcuts with magnetic strips, inlays, and chips. Another local company, Think Fencing then takes the finely milled powder and incorporates their own additives to upcycle this into household products such as fencing and decking. And this is only the beginning. As this technology is adopted by other businesses, we anticipate more products emerging from our plastic surplus. This is a great example of how our manufacturing sites across the globe demonstrate HID’s “think globally, act locally” mentality.

What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
It is important to have strong alignment among departments and regions, a sustained governance model, and defined investments to support global and local initiatives. A good starting point is to embed sustainability as part of the company’s core purpose and integrate it into strategies such as product development, travel programs, facility selection, design, and management.

It’s also important to understand that people are at the heart of sustainable development, moving beyond words and turning ambitions into actions. Preserving the company’s overall culture while empowering the local micro-cultures and celebrating successes keeps the momentum going. In simple terms, the journey for a better, sustainable planet is about culture, commitment, collaboration, and celebration.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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