Among the most important of our sustainability tasks are assuring the function and quality of the finished products, establishing efficient development and production, and following optimum business principles. The overall environmental and climate footprint is deemed to be limited and not of a significant nature.
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All the greater is the possibility of influencing aspects later in the value chain, such as function, quality, user-friendliness, and environmental impact – both in production and after the product has reached the end of its life cycle.
The inputs that can have the greatest impact are decisions taken when drawing up a production specification for a new or updated product. This includes decisions on choice of material and production method. Here INVISIO endeavors to choose the most environmentally friendly material, to minimize risks related to production, use and scrapping. The elements of drawing up the product specification that have a bearing on production itself take place in collaboration with the intended contract manufacturer. This collaboration ensures both a good final result and an environmentally friendly production method.
Close cooperation with the customers
An important feature of product development is the interaction with customers. Product development is often based on an actual problem experienced by one or several customers that they have raised with INVISIO. Customers are often involved in the evaluation of prototypes for new products.
INVISIO consciously chooses to only work with established partners that share INVISIO’s view of quality, sustainability, work environment and business ethics. Crucial to the choice of supplier, apart from the above and quality and price factors, is that they comply with requirements of REACH 1), RoHS 2) and WEEE 3).
The majority of production is by four European contract manufacturers. The relative proximity to the suppliers facilitates continual and close collaboration on sustainability issues.
All major suppliers have signed a Code of Conduct for suppliers and an anti-corruption policy. Contract manufacturers and important suppliers are regularly and systematically inspected by INVISIO. The inspections cover a number of different areas, including product quality, production methods, work environment and the training received by employees to enable them to perform quality work. A working group with representatives from the company’s Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Quality Assurance functions is responsible for assessing, approving and continually evaluating the suppliers. Written reports are drawn up and any non-conformances with agreements are discussed with the manufacturer, and where necessary a period of grace is granted to take corrective measures.
After a year heavily impacted by COVID-19, in 2021 inspections of suppliers slowly returned to more normal procedures. INVISIO’s largest manufacturer was audited for their compliance with INVISIO requirements on product quality and related processes. There were no indications of violations of the company’s Code of Conduct.
Limited environmental impact
INVISIO has consciously chosen as far as possible to purchase components from suppliers in Europe and the USA, since this creates the conditions for more effective collaboration regarding quality and sustainability aspects.
The Finnish listed company Scanfil is one of INVISIO’s major contract manufacturers. The products are relatively small and not manufactured in large series, so the production processes are not particularly energy consuming. Nor do they entail any significant emissions to water or air. Scanfil provides a detailed account of its environmental work, for example on their website and in the company’s annual report.
INVISIO’s overall environmental impact related to the products themselves is not deemed to be significant. The input components of the products mainly consist of plastic and metals that are traditionally used in the manufacture of products containing electronics. The products do not contain any “conflict minerals”.
The plastic in current products is made from virgin raw material. Together with their existing partners INVISIO has evaluated the possibility of using recycled plastic instead. However, this has not met INVISIO’s requirements concerning quality and function.
Only a few of INVISIO’s products contain batteries. Instead, they are powered from the sound source, usually a radio.
As of 2017 partners are required to confirm compliance with the principles of INVISIO’s Code of Conduct and anti-corruption policy. Sales activities and training operations involve travel and this is probably where INVISIO’s main environmental impact lies.
At the end of 2021, the company’s sales and training unit consisted of more than 60 people, whose travel is both by air and road. Due to the pandemic there were few business trips during the year. Physical meetings were to a great extent replaced by digital meetings. INVISIO predicts that the digital meetings will become more common, even when the pandemic is over.
Only a few of INVISIO’s products contain batteries. The systems are instead powered by electricity from the sound source, which is usually a radio.
INVISIO is subject to producer responsibility. This includes responsibility for collecting, recycling and treating the waste that arises when the product has reached the end of its life. INVISIO has procedures in place to make this possible, but in practice it is usually dealt with by the customers themselves. It is unusual for end-of-life and scrapped products to be returned to INVISIO. It is also unclear whether there are any environmental gains from such a procedure, as it often involves long-distance transport.
In their agreement with the Swedish Police INVISIO has undertaken to offer a recycling system.
INVISIO uses the cross-functional quality management system QMS. This ensures that all requirements related to customers, society and regulations are included in all processes, from idea generation, requirement specification, design, manufacture and delivery to after-market.
The system is used to ensure that customers’ requirements and needs are met throughout the value chain. It entails a long series of processes and procedures and spans all departments. The system is certified under ISO-9001:2015 – by far the most used international standard for quality management systems, and for which an external audit by independent authorities is conducted annually.
Each process in QMS is developed with the aim of ensuring that INVISIO is constantly focused on product performance, reliability, safety and compliance with regulatory product requirements.
All new products to be developed follow a detailed verification and validation plan that also includes plans for environmental tests (temperature, humidity, etc.), in accordance with international standards.
All critical customer and regulatory qualification tests are conducted by independent external test laboratories that are accredited for the specific test procedures.
Apart from requirements that are directly related to customers, QMS also includes global, regional and local regulatory requirements related to the products and their performance and safety, such as EMC (Electro Magnetic Compatibility). Depending on the region and country, this includes, for example, CE marking of products, which covers any reciprocal EU regulatory requirements.
As regards hearing protection, the company’s core activity, INVISIO was recently approved by the authorities in accordance with the most recent standards (the EN352 series), which require further independent annual external audits by the authorities.
An important part of INVISIO’s QMS is also constant monitoring of how the system functions. Quarterly reports are submitted to management on performance and areas that need focus and improvement, which ensures that the QMS is further developed to support INVISIO’s growth and business risk management.