We have a dedicated team in place that manages all our environmental protection work, including checks on the fulfilment of our environmental requirements by our suppliers of parts and services, product material compliance reporting, internal training, and continuous improvement.
Our Environmental Management System (EMS) manual sets out binding guidelines for our employees, supporting them in fulfilling their tasks in accordance with our sustainability objectives. It is also intended as an information tool for our customers and distributors, as it provides evidence of the implementation of their requirements in our environmental management system operations.
Our EMS activities are part of the Product Life Cycle Process: before going into production, we ensure that all evidence of compliance has been checked and recovered throughout our supply chain.
We focus on legal requirements such as the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) directive, the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation and the linked SCIP database, the Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) regulations, the California Proposition 65 law, and the Halogen Free content according to IEC 61249-2-21 standard.
We also implement customer specific requirements for environmental management of some substances and their concentration limit values in our products.
As a responsible and transparent business, we aim to avoid sourcing conflict minerals from any supplier by working with key production partners and stakeholders to identify the origin
of the metals in our products and all smelters in the supply chain. We are committed to the responsible sourcing of minerals and fully support Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank with the aim not to contribute to any human rights abuses around the globe or finance armed groups directly or indirectly.
As part of our Environmental Management System, we develop and publish detailed guidelines for our suppliers. The headline requirements are that all our Contract Manufacturers must hold ISO 14001 certification. Suppliers of components, materials, and parts are highly recommended to be ISO 14001 certified. Fabless companies should maintain an environmental management system and request that their production partners are ISO 14001 certified. Much of our environmental footprint comes from manufacturing our products. For us to minimize this, as a fabless company, we must work closely with our suppliers to control air emissions, waste management and recycling, and water management. Each of our suppliers has policies and strategies in place to deal with these very important issues, and u-blox monitors its operations closely. We cooperate exclusively with top-tier manufacturers in our industry with leading environmental compliance and governance systems in place.
From a product material data perspective, we work closely with our suppliers and Contract Manufacturers to investigate and document our product compliance. We attribute our green label to all products that are both RoHS and Halogen-Free compliant, and we are committed to developing products that are as “green” as possible and REACH compliant.
Besides customer specific statements, we provide compliancy statements for all volume products as follows:
A Material Declaration Sheet (MDS) or Material Composition Declaration according to IPC-1752A is available for every u-blox product at the homogeneous level. The MDS provides a detailed list of materials, including all homogeneous substances used in the product.
An MDS for each product is made possible through the investment and commitment u-blox has made to environmental management, compliance, and transparency and by partnering with leading top-tier suppliers who share a similar commitment to environmental, safety, and health best practice.
For automotive grade products, we also provide IMDS to meet the obligations placed on automobile manufacturers, and thus on their suppliers, by national and international standards, laws, and regulations.
Our direct impact on CO2 emissions is low as we outsource the manufacturing of our products to third parties. Our manufacturing partners all run individual programs for the reduction of CO2 emissions. We have also implemented measures to help reduce the travel-related CO2 emissions of our employees. For example, at our headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, u-blox covers public transportation costs for employees from home to office. And in line with our commitment as a UN Global Compact signatory to Sustainability Goal number 13 relating to Climate Action, emissions from u-blox headquarters will reach net zero by 2022.
IoT is poised to make an exponential contribution to a more sustainable world, and as a member of this critical ecosystem, we continuously develop chips and modules that deliver the right balance of capability, form factor, energy consumption, and a robust life span, further reducing CO2 emissions.
Our location based positioning technology, implemented by our innovative customers around the world, is making a significant contribution to the protection of the environment by optimizing route/traffic management, energy, water, and other resource or inventory management, and by optimizing energy consumption and productivity across numerous industries.
As humanity addresses climate change, with countries, industries, and brands making significant net-zero emission commitments, all of our key markets will have a valuable role to play in net-zero - with the Automotive and Industry 4.0 already leading the way.
u-blox engages with local communities around the world through socially responsible projects which directly benefit the people living there and their environment. For example, for more than 10 years, we have worked with the Association for the Development of Solar Energy (ADES) in Madagascar, where we bring three elements of our support to bear in a powerful way. ADES produces and sells energy-efficient cooking stoves, which help protect communities’ health and well-being while also combating deforestation. A key challenge for ADES is getting its stoves out to remote communities in such a large country. We have funded a number of these trips and donated our technology in the form of location-aware vehicle trackers, which help the organization better manage its scarce resources.
Elsewhere, we have supported ADES reforestation projects to bring back critical habitat for the country’s wildlife and fight climate change. A recent u-blox donation saw 2,500 trees planted. We have directly contributed to the distribution of more than 4,000 stoves, each of which typically reduces the time a household spends gathering firewood by up to 600 hours per year. Overall, our work has cut the country’s CO2 emissions by more than 38,000 tons.