It is fundamentally important for us to conduct our business in a responsible manner
Responsible Business Conduct
KONGSBERG has more than 200 years of tradition and history as a defence supplier and technology enterprise. It is fundamentally important for us to conduct our business in a responsible manner. It involves following the laws and regulations applicable in the countries where we operate, our own corporate Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and other national and international principles and frameworks for responsible business conduct.
We operate in industries and countries that can involve different types of risk. We conduct risk analyses and seek to prioritise and manage risk to prevent and mitigate to the greatest possible extent.
The defence industry
The Norwegian Armed Forces safeguard important social functions both in peacetime, crisis situations, armed conflict and in war. A modern defence calls for state-of-the-art defence systems, and KONGSBERG’s defence systems and products are an integral part of this. KONGSBERG’s role as a supplier of defence products must be seen in the context of Norway’s national security policy, and Norway’s international obligations as a member of the United Nations and NATO. The Norwegian Armed Forces and KONGSBERG collaborate extensively to develop customised systems for the country’s specific needs. KONGSBERG has developed high-tech defence systems that also play an important role in the international arena. In 2021, defence business represented 37 per cent of our turnover.
Export of defence material
Norwegian rules for export of defence material are among the most restrictive in the world. The Norwegian parliament has sanctioned that defence products can only be sold to pre-approved countries. Transparency about export of defence material is an important principle in Norway. Current Norwegian export control regulations are strict and clear, while providing the necessary predictability. KONGSBERG consistently complies with all requirements set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the application process, reporting and statistics.
A stable and predictable export control regime is essential to ensure a credible defence capability that contributes to security and safety for the nation and its citizens, and to ensure that the Armed Forces have access to technology, expertise and infrastructure in peace, crises and war.
KONGSBERG holds shares in companies, and has partners, suppliers and customers in other countries. Export control regulations in other countries must therefore also be complied with. KONGSBERG has a comprehensive programme for internal control and training in connection with our export activities.
Of 2021 revenues, 60 per cent relates to KONGSBERG’s maritime operations. The world is still in need of energy and transport, but with emphasis on low carbon solutions. This provides commercial opportunities for the sustainable innovative solutions we are developing together with our partners and customers. KONGSBERG’s systems and products are to a large extent associated with optimisation, security, operation and control of machines, production processes and equipment. We deliver systems and services that contribute to better utilisation of resources, more efficient navigation and safer operation of complex vessels and installations. Read more about this in the chapter on sustainable innovation.
Autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI1))
KONGSBERG develops advanced technology, which includes autonomous systems and AI, in areas including offshore transport and drone technology. Artificial intelligence in the form of machine learning is used within a secure framework by our simulators. Wherever this technology is utilised in autonomous solutions, human monitoring is always in place to provide additional security. This topic raises ethical questions to which we give careful consideration. Our Ethics Committee addresses such issues, and we participate in international debate through our membership of IFBEC2). Autonomy and AI affect society, working life and legislation. Our approach to AI is to engage in development, safeguard norms and values in line with our ethics and business behaviour policies, as well as comply with national and international laws and regulations.
KONGSBERG supports and respects the protection of internationally recognised human rights, and will ensure that we take measures to prevent the company from becoming involved in human rights violations. We require our suppliers to do the same.
In order to comply with regulatory and customer requirements relating to the prohibition and limitation of conflict minerals, KONGSBERG prohibits the use of such minerals, unless the minerals are purchased from responsible sources.
We will use the Responsible Minerals Initiatives (RMI) Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) to facilitate the collection of information throughout the value chain about the country of origin of 3TG (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, including their derivatives), as well as the smelting plants and refineries used.
We will develop our due-diligence systems further to cover the procurement of materials other than 3TG. As a first step, we have developed our materials management system to include cobalt, used in the manufacture of lithium batteries, and we use the RMI tools and applications.
1) AI is defined by the EU as follows: “Artificial Intelligence systems (AI) are software (and possibly even hardware) designed by people who, if given a complex goal, act in physical or digital dimensions by recognising their environment through data collection; they interpret structured or unstructured data, reasoning on this knowledge, or processing of the information, derived from this data and determining the best action(s) to take to achieve the given goal.”
2) The International Forum on Business Ethical Conduct for the AeroSpace and Defence Industry.