Responsibility Organization and Risk Management
The Board of Directors of Bittium Corporation discusses sustainability issues on the basis of the Management Group´s proposals, and the Audit Committee discusses and prepares sustainability-related matters as needed.
The Management Group discusses sustainability issues, monitors the effectiveness of sustainability measures and sets sustainability targets in its twice-yearly management review. The Management Group is also responsible for implementing sustainability plans and actions in day-to-day operations.
In addition, Bittium has a specific sustainability working group that is responsible for the monitoring of sustainability, the impact assessment and reporting of sustainability measures as well as sustainability risk management and assessment. The working group has six (6) members: CEO; Chief Legal Officer; Vice President, Communications and Marketing; Director, Human Resources; CFO; and Head of Quality, the Environment and Technology Management. The responsibility working group holds quarterly meetings and prepares the sustainability report. The Bittium management and the Board of Directors review the sustainability report annually.
The sustainability report describes the applicable methods that guarantee a sufficient level of diligence. The management of risks related to operations and the operating environment as well as the relevant processes are described in Bittium´s Corporate Governance Statement.
Bittium´s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct
Bittium´s ethical principles comprise the following areas of sustainability:
The nature of Bittium´s market area and business sector makes corruption one of the main risks related to social responsibility and human rights. Bittium does not condone any forms of bribery or corruption in its operations or those of its partners. Bittium updated its internal and external anti-corruption guidelines in 2017. The employees receive training on the guidelines.
Bittium expects its partners to comply with these guidelines. The company uses a monitoring tool for detecting corruption and other ambiguities in the operations of its partners.
The external and internal stakeholders are provided with a channel for reporting violations of anti-corruption rules. There were no cases of corruption reported to Bittium in 2020.
2) Information security and data protection
Bittium´s information security and data protection policies specify the methods employed in the classification, storage and disclosure of information.
3) Fair business, advertising and competition
Bittium follows the rules on fair business, advertising and competition. The company has access to different methods of securing customer information in accordance with information security procedures.
4) Corporate citizenship
The company supports community involvement in order to promote social and economic development.
5) Protection of intellectual property rights
Bittium respects intellectual property rights and applies its IPR strategy and guidelines to all of its operations.
Sustainable procurement is also an essential part of Bittium´s sustainable business operations. The principles of sustainable purchasing have been described in greater detail in ‘Confidential customer relationships and secure products´.
Bittium´s operations affect many different stakeholders. Understanding their views and expectations is important for the company´s operations and success. Open dialogue with the stakeholders helps to develop Bittium´s operations, products and solutions as well as a goal-driven approach to finding solutions to social challenges.
Bittium works in cooperation with national as well as international stakeholders. The stakeholders include include the employees, customers, different actors and other third parties, partners, the authorities, shareholders and analysts as well as different communities. The company´s stakeholder-related activities are guided by Corporate Governance and Code of Conduct.
In 2019, Bittium conducted a stakeholder survey related to the company´s sustainability. Based on the survey, four (4) sustainability focus areas were selected for the company, of which three (3) focus areas were the same as in previous years. Concerns about climate and the environment were raised in a stakeholder survey, and the theme was raised as the fourth focus area for Bittium´s responsibility from 2020 onwards.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the cooperation with stakeholders. The travel restrictions and quarantines have prevented face-to-face meetings, and communication over the internet has become the new norm.
Each year several different staff events are arranged. In these, the employees get the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback. The management´s physical presence at these events and the opportunity to ask questions have constituted an important part of communication. In 2020, for reasons attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic, all staff events were held online to safeguard the staff´s health and the continuity of business. The situation was made easier by the fact that Bittium is an international player and online meetings have been routine for the company for years. Therefore, arranging online events for the entire staff did not involve much extra effort or costs.
In addition to staff events, the employees can give feedback through the annual anonymous employee survey. Equal treatment and open interaction are important to the employees. They expect interesting and meaningful work and opportunities for professional growth. In addition to the annual employee surveys, the company introduced Pulse surveys in 2020. At first weekly, then monthly arranged surveys focus on the staff´s well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a stakeholder survey conducted in 2019, Bittium employees considered the training opportunities important and motivating, although the constant rush in the projects was perceived as a challenge for the training. Finding a balance between these was considered important from the perspective of innovation and development. There has been a constant effort to improve this.
Internal responses also raise concerns about the challenges posed by tight schedules in product development and customer projects. Particular attention has been paid to this when planning the project schedules.
The responses from external stakeholders reflected the impression that people, their well-being and development are well taken care of at Bittium. From an external point of view, taking care of the well-being of the staff was considered important.
Bittium gets constant feedback from its customers, primarily by continuously staying in touch with them and through various annual surveys. The surveys are arranged online. The Scrum and Agile methods and the supporting online systems (as real-time as possible) allow ongoing monitoring and open dialogue. This enables quick reacting to potential problems.
Bittium´s customers value competitive and reliable products and services as well as sustainable and real-time approach to the operations. The company´s major customers are leading international players in their respective fields. Therefore, the travel restrictions imposed in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have had some impact on on live customer communication. Many matters that would be normally discussed face to face have been taken care of online. These include, for instance, product and project inspections or approvals.
According to a stakeholder survey conducted in 2019, the responses of external stakeholders strongly reflect the company´s success in building and achieving trust with customers. Customer feedback emphasized the company´s responsible way of operating and its success.
Suppliers and partners
When it comes to Bittium´s suppliers and other partners, the company has often worked with them in close cooperation for a long time following established rules and ways of working. Constant communication enables open dialogue. The suppliers and partners expect fair and sustainable operations and long-term cooperation.Mutually, Bittium expects the suppliers and partners to work in a sustainable way, and monitors this on a regular basis. The Covid-19 pandemic did not have a material effect on cooperation with our suppliers and partners.
Bittium maintains a regular line of communication with the authorities, for example, with regard to export control and information security issues. The company regularly monitors its compliance with the laws and regulations. Applying them to business operations requires open and ongoing interaction with the authorities. The communication with the authorities has always been mainly virtual. Therefore, the Covid-19 pandemic did not have a material effect on cooperation in 2020.
As part of sustainable corporate citizenship, Bittium actively collaborates with different communities. The expectations of different communitites are met in a variety of ways. Bittium regularly supports educational institutions and schools to introduce young students to working life and not forgetting the teachers. Thanks to this collaboration, Bittium is also able to recruit new and enthusiastic graduates. The company´s support to schools and educational institutions temporarily reduced in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The workplace visits and admitting students to practical training were prevented by the restrictions on gatherings and meetings.
Research and development cooperation with companies and research institutions broadens the company´s expertise and makes it possible to mutually promote development. This cooperation is mainly carried out online, and the Covid-19 pandemic had no material effect on the progress of cooperation.
In a stakeholder survey conducted in 2019, staff gave mainly positive feedback on the company´s local cooperation, but hoped the company would be even more involved in local events and community projects. Efforts are being made to increase activity especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shareholders and investors
Shareholders, investors and analysts expect Bittium to provide long-term value and act in a sustainable manner. Discussions with them are held at various events and the Annual General Meeting. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic-related travel and gathering restrictions, the Annual General Meeting for 2020 was held online in place of a physical meeting. Similarly, all the other investor and analyst meetings and events were arranged online.
A stakeholder survey conducted in 2019 revealed investors´ disappointment with the company´s external communication. The company´s external communication and participation in virtual investor meetings has been increased where possible.