Cutting edge by nature: the role of technology to help retail sustainability

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Cutting edge by nature: the role of technology to help retail sustainability.

Axis Communications’ Graham Swallow looks at what can be done to help retailers operate more effectively while supporting a sustainability agenda in line with greener operations.

Retailers have spent the last year dealing with soaring inflation, supplier price increases, the rise in energy costs, and a number of other factors relating to the current state of the economy. Yet despite the challenges they face there is a key global issue that simply cannot be ignored or pushed into the background. Businesses need to do more to address climate change, and retailers are under growing pressure to adopt more environmentally friendly ways of operating.

The drain on natural resources, the environmental impact of production, waste management and energy consumption are all areas of concern. Shareholders, investors and other stakeholders are increasingly seeking to do business only with those partners and suppliers that align on green values, and this is further emphasised by survey data which suggests that consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that has strong ethical and sustainable credentials[1].

With retailers increasingly being obliged to collect and report metrics relating to sustainability, the need to implement swift and effective change is imperative. Retail businesses will increasingly be working in line with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles to demonstrate leadership on critical issues such as pollution and minimising waste while taking additional steps to better manage power consumption and reduce carbon emissions.

Yet there is no simple, quick solution to operating more sustainably. Retail managers need to be looking forensically at their operations, systems, products and materials used in order to make small but incremental gains towards reducing carbon footprint and achieving sustainable targets. This evaluation is leading some retail managers to also carefully consider the technologies employed, such as data centres and physical security, and the credentials of the vendors supplying them.

Greener security technology

It’s imperative that retailers look to source technology solutions from vendors for whom manufacturing with low-power consumption and efficiency in mind are a priority. Modern network cameras, for example, employ advanced edge-based analytics to enable on-camera decision making. This results in a reduction in the bandwidth and power consumption that would be associated with the constant transfer of data back and forth across a network for processing. Technology such as AXIS Zipstream[2] further improves bandwidth and storage requirements by an average of 50%, supporting a retailer’s greener business aims.

What is inside the technology also counts when being conscious about energy use. For example, the ARTPEC8 System-on-Chip (SoC), a key component of all Axis cameras, uses 40% less energy than its predecessor. This means that retail businesses can benefit from the highest levels of protection provided by cameras with exceptional image quality, which still operate much more efficiently than previous systems they may have used.

Sustainably sourced materials

When considering a security solution, retail businesses should look to work only with security manufacturers who employ green design principles to ensure the protection of natural resources. This means using only material substances that are classed as safe and circular to make sure they are not harmful, have a minimum effect on the environment and can be reused without contamination.

Such an approach to product design and manufacturing ensures compliance with EU standards on restricting hazardous substances. As a result of a careful selection of materials, Axis cameras are free of BFRs and CFRs, the brominated and chlorinated flame retardants traditionally used in such devices that have been identified as toxic. In addition, Axis’ latest solutions are PVC-free, a move which helps to halt the distribution of ‘microplastics’ into the environment that can find their way into the food chain.

Frameworks and standards

Embracing more ethical ways of operating and demonstrating a greater awareness of the impact that positive actions can have for the environment will attract those with a similar commitment to sustainability[3]. For retail businesses, this translates as building an entire supply chain with common goals and a shared vision that will result in closer working alliances forged around core values, all helping to build trust.

Retailers should seek to work with companies that can demonstrate that they are operating in line with international frameworks and standards such as the UN Global Compact[4]. This can play a role in helping businesses achieve the UN’s sustainability development goals (SDGs)[5] as well as offering proof of commitment. In addition, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) provides further assurance of a commitment to the reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the initiative, Axis has committed to set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the level of decarbonization required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C[6].

The move toward security technologies that support a drive towards more sustainable operations represents a small but significant start in the process of creating a greener retail industry. At Axis we are committed to helping retail businesses improve their sustainability posture and meet their green targets by offering innovative solutions that deliver the highest security with the lowest environmental impact, for a smarter, safer and more sustainable world.

Learn more about Axis’ solutions for retail: https://www.axis.com/solutions/retail

 

Author:
Graham Swallow MSyI CMI . Graham leads the Axis Retail strategy for UK/Ire and the Nordic regions

About Axis Communications
Axis enables a smarter and safer world by creating solutions for improving security and business performance. As a network technology company and industry leader, Axis offers solutions in video surveillance, access control, intercom, and audio systems. They are enhanced by intelligent analytics applications and supported by high-quality training. Axis has around 4,000 dedicated employees in over 50 countries and collaborates with technology and system integration partners worldwide to deliver customer solutions. Axis was founded in 1984, and the headquarters are in Lund, Sweden.

 

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1296905/uk-ethical-retailer-preference/ 

[2] https://www.axis.com/solutions/zipstream

[3]https://on24static.akamaized.net/event/26/52/12/7/rt/1/documents/resourceList1601294964064/99821008210sustainabilityreport451researchen211601294962692.pdf

[4] https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/participants/1056-Axis-Communications-AB 

[5] https://www.axis.com/about-axis/sustainability 

[6] https://www.axis.com/newsroom/press-release/reduce-emissions-target                   

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