In part 1 of this two-part series, we cover Visma’s activities related to the environment and our employees. In part 2, we outline our ethical business practices and other group-level efforts.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the United Nations’ 17 goals for ensuring a good life for all. Economic security, health, education, human rights, climate change, the environment—all must be tackled together in a coordinated effort if we are to achieve the goals. Such issues pose challenges to all of us in both developed and developing countries.
Businesses not only have a responsibility but also certain advantages in tackling global problems. This is especially true for tech companies, who are used to adapting and innovating in a rapidly changing industry every day. Through innovative software and technical resources and know-how, companies like Visma are especially poised to impact the many challenges that require technological solutions.
The SDGs give us a framework for action, helping us to analyse our own capabilities and opportunities, and prioritise the areas we can impact the most. At Visma, we are currently focusing on four key areas, each with corresponding SDGs we contribute to:
- The environment
- Ethical business practices
- Group-level efforts
Many of the goals covered below will become more specific when we update Visma’s Sustainability policy in 2022.
Our efforts for the environment
Improving our energy efficiency and transitioning to renewable energy
Our workplaces should be both energy efficient and draw electricity from renewable sources to the extent possible. Informing and training employees to take simple steps is part of what’s needed. But we must also look more broadly at existing energy consumption and sources, and shift to renewables. The benefit is that this not only reduces emissions, but also leads to immediate cost reductions.
Our goal is to increase the share of office locations with 100% renewable energy. This addresses SDG Target 7.3: By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and SDG Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
Managing our carbon emissions
The Paris Climate Accord marks a global commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. This requires us to both monitor our carbon emissions and find ways to reduce them internally and in our entire value chain. This involves personal decisions, such as choosing not to fly or drive to meetings, as well as collective decisions such as evaluating the energy sources that power our data warehouses.
Our goal is to get a full overview of Visma’s CO2e emissions, and to set targets related to carbon reductions. Visma’s carbon footprint will be reported in the next annual report and science-based carbon reduction targets will be established in 2022. This addresses SDG target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning and SDG Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
Reducing waste in our operations
Humans discard 2 billion tonnes of waste every year, which compels all of us to try and limit what we buy, use, and throw away. This means finding ways to increase the longevity of products and re-imagining material goods as durable, repairable, and recyclable goods of a circular economy. With electronic equipment becoming one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the EU, e-waste is also an area where we are increasing our focus.
Our goal is to phase out single-use plastics and reduce impacts from landfill- and e-waste. This addresses:
- SDG Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimise their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
- SDG Target 6.3: By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials.
Complying with regulations
At the same time that science is gaining a greater understanding of environmental issues, governments are increasingly channelling this new understanding into stricter laws and regulations. Businesses that can stay ahead of these ever-changing requirements and go the extra mile will be assured to stay compliant with and, in many cases, ahead of regulatory trends.
Our goal is zero incidents of non-compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. This addresses SDG target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
Our efforts for our employees
Valuing diversity and inclusion
The goal of equal pay for equal work continues to be elusive, even in fully developed countries. Building a culture of Diversity & Inclusion is a sound method for overcoming this: not only does it attempt to address gender imbalances but also inequalities of other factors such as ethnicity and disability. It is important to set good examples for treating people with dignity, respect and equal opportunity if we are to have a consistent position and attract the best talent.
Our goal is to achieve equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work, as well as zero incidents of discrimination or abuse. This addresses:
- SDG Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
- SDG Target 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men…and equal pay for work of equal value
- SDG Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or other status
- SDG Target 10.4: Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality
- SDG Target 16.12: Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development
Maintaining workforce health and safety
It might go without saying, but Visma’s employees should have a work environment that is physically, psychologically and socially safe. This applies both at the office and when working remotely. This also means strict standards regarding working days and hours, overtime, breaks, rest, vacation, and parental leaves must be followed.
Our goal is to have zero occupational health & safety incidents. This addresses SDG Target 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.
This has been Part 1 in a two-part series on Visma’s sustainability efforts through the lens of the SDGs. In Part 2, outline our ethical business practices and other group-level efforts. Stay tuned!