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How Axis is using science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Carl Trotzig, Director Environment & Supply Chain Sustainability at Axis

Axis has committed to set science-based targets for the reduction of emissions across its value chain, reinforcing our intention to increase our efforts in helping to address the impact of climate change. Now that the targets we have set have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), we caught up with Carl Trotzig, Director Environment & Supply Chain Sustainability at Axis, to understand more about the targets and the implications, both for our own operations and across our value chain.

What is a science-based target, and how can it help reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

A science-based target is one which has been validated as being in line with the level of decarbonization required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. The targets give us a very clear pathway towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Targets are validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.

It’s been a while between committing to set science-based targets and having targets validated by the SBTi. What’s involved in the process?

In short, a huge amount of data gathering and number crunching! Setting the actual target values is the easy part, but gathering all required data to get the full picture of all our baseline greenhouse gas emissions is a much more cumbersome activity. You need to define methods for obtaining detailed emissions data from all your own operations and activities as well as from your entire value chain from upstream suppliers and manufacturers, via transports and distribution to downstream end customers and end-of-life treatment.

What are the specific targets Axis has defined and that have been validated by the SBTi?

Axis has committed to a 42% reduction in its scope 1 and 2 CO₂e emissions by 2030, and a 51.6% reduction in scope 3 CO₂e emissions intensity per sold product by the same year, using figures from 2022 as the baseline.

What are scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions?

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are those that are essentially created by our own operations. Scope 1 covers emissions from sources that we own or control, for example from the fuel used by company vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are those caused indirectly, and come from how the energy we purchase and use is produced. 

Scope 3 emissions are those caused by our upstream and downstream value chain, including not only the manufacture of our products by third parties, but also the use of our products over their lifetime. 

There are several sub-categories of scope 3 emissions. Some of the most significant for us are Category 11 (Use of Sold Product), Category 1 (Purchased Good and Services), and Category 4 (Upstream Transportation and Distribution). Together, these three categories represent 98% of our total scope 3 emissions.

Where are the biggest opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

As a company which works closely with third-party electronics manufacturing service (EMS) partners to manufacture our products, and given that our products are designed to have a long lifetime of use, scope 3 emissions represent almost all of the greenhouse gas emissions related to our business. In fact, 99.5% of the CO₂e emissions related to Axis are scope 3 emissions.

That said, it is obviously easier for us to directly control the scope 1 and 2 CO₂e emissions, so we’re focused on all three areas for reductions.

Can you tell us about some of the initiatives already underway or planned in order to meet the targets?

In terms of scope 1 and 2 emissions, one of the key immediate initiatives is to review our energy provider contracts around the world to ensure that as much as possible of the energy we use comes from fossil-free sources. The energy transition globally from fossil-based to renewable and fossil-free sources remains one of the key ways to address climate change, and we want to help to drive that. In countries where it is not possible to buy a high share of fossil-free energy from the national grid, we are exploring options to purchase renewable energy through Renewable Energy Certificates, REC.

When we establish new offices around the world, we give preference to buildings with energy certification of some sort.

We’re also aiming to transition our own global fleet of company cars and vehicles to electric vehicles. 

You mentioned that scope 3 emissions represent almost all of our overall emissions, so what are some of the ways we can address those?

Scope 3 emissions are 99.5% of all emissions related to our organization, and two thirds of these emissions come from the energy consumption during use of our products over their lifetime, so this needs to be a key area of focus for us.

While we’re looking to build more energy management and savings features into our products – for example power meters which allow customers to adjust camera setting to optimize energy usage – we all need to look at surveillance solutions as a whole, including the cameras, usage of the cloud, data centers, and on-premise servers. 

Technologies like Zipstream, which reduce the amount of data being transferred and stored without compromising quality, are examples of how we’ve taken a ‘whole system’ perspective for many years. We’re looking at other innovations that will reduce energy usages and emissions in all areas linked to the use of our products.

The low power mode in AXIS Q6318-LE help to reduce emissions from energy consumption during product use phase.
The low power mode in AXIS Q6318-LE help to reduce emissions from energy consumption during product use phase.

An additional area of scope 3 emissions comes from the manufacture of our products by electronics manufacturing services (EMS) partners and also from our CLCs (configuration and logistics centers). We have therefore placed specific demands on these partners in relation to Axis products for 100% fossil free energy sourcing by 2030, with an interim measure of 50% fossil free energy sourcing by the end of this year.

It’s also important to see where we can use manufacturers and material suppliers closer to the point of product use to reduce emissions related to transportation, and looking more broadly at our mix of transportation to choose lower emitting transportation options where possible, for instance sea over air freight.

A lot of work to be done, then, and clearly not something we can do alone?

That’s right. We’re strongly advocating for other organizations, our suppliers and customers included, to also consider setting science-based targets for the reduction of emissions. More companies committed across our value chain and theirs will create a virtuous circle with much greater global impact, ensuring that not only our own specific targets are achieved, but the overall goals to limit global warming are met.

Environmental considerations are always present in our operations. Discover our ways to protect our planet.
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