Sustainable societal development is extremely important for Mips, and the company believes that its technology and products lead to a more sustainable society since they improve helmet protection for both recreational and professional use. Improved helmet protection leads to increased safety and security while reducing the risk of both short-term and long-term sick leave, as well as permanent injury.
Mips is a global market leader in helmet-based rotational protection and partners with many of the world’s leading helmet brands. Our patented solutions are based on more than 25 years of research in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Traditionally, helmets have only been designed to protect against straight impact, which can lead to skull fractures. Unlike traditional helmets, Mips’ low-friction layer mimics the brain’s own protection system and is designed to protect the brain from rotational motion, which can lead to brain damage. We work with our customers to raise awareness of the benefits of helmets equipped with protection against rotational motion.
We see how an increased awareness of safety as well as of the risks and consequences of brain damage are driving demand for our products and solutions. We are also active in international university and research environments, where we work to ensure that testing of rotational motion is included as a standard in the tests and certification of helmets. In addition, Mips is a member of several testing bodies around the world and also pursues an active dialogue with several universities to ensure research-based development of tests and standards.
This year Mips received four product complaints per 1,000,000 units sold from consumers. Our target is to accept less than five complaints per 1,000,000 units sold, which we achieved with a good margin. Most complaints concerned older models or solutions.
In 2021 we submitted several patent applications, a few more than in 2021. This is in part driven by a greater focus on the Safety category, which led to new products needing to be developed to suit the types of helmets in this category. Continuous product development and strong IP protection are important for Mips so that we can retain our competitiveness as a company.
In 2021, Mips launched its product families, a new classification of Mips’ various products, which will make it easier for consumers to choose the right system for their needs. The names of the five different product families are Mips Air, Mips Integra, Mips Evolve, Mips Essential, and Mips Elevate, which are described more fully on page 32.
In the first quarter of 2021, Mips introduced quarterly measurements of the level of brand awareness amongst consumers to track the development of Mips’ brand awareness.
Mips constantly strives to limit our impact on the climate and the environment, which we continually assess, along with the sustainability of the supply chain and the products and their actual impact on the world. During the year we continued to analyze the environmental impact of our operations with a focus on mapping out our total climate impact. We have also recently completed work on a more detailed lifecycle analysis of four of our best-selling products. both of these analyses will help us understand where in the manufacturing process we can have the most impact on reducing our climate impact.
The life span of Mips’ products should be at least as long or longer than for the helmet in which the product is installed. Many of our products are made of plastic that is recyclable and we always try to use materials that have as little impact on the climate and the environment as is technically and commercially possible. We also ensure that our products are manufactured as close to the helmet manufacturers’ factories as possible (often production is in the same factories) to minimize the number of product transports. The packaging used for Mips’ components is always made of recyclable material.
Helmet safety is and always will be Mips’ highest priority, and to give our products the correct properties for safety, we and our subcontractors are currently reliant on a number of chemicals that are classed as toxic in excessive amounts. The levels of hazardous chemicals in all of our products are very low, and far beneath the current approved limits. We are nonetheless actively working to phase them out and find more environmentally friendly alternatives. In 2021, the volume of PPM (parts per million) was 2.74 which is a reduction compared to the prior year (2.93). Our goal is to use as few hazardous chemicals as possible.
During the year we have continued to look for more sustainable alternatives to the material currently used in our products. We have researched and made progress with more sustainable polycarbonates (PC) for which we have signed up new suppliers. As a result, we will be able to deliver products that offer the same level of safety and the same high quality as before but are made from more sustainable material. We hope to gradually introduce this approach across our product portfolio and over time offer more sustainable materials in Mips current solutions, thus substantially reducing our and our customer’s environmental impact.
Mips’ latest innovation, the Virtual Test Lab (VTL) launched in November 2021, allows helmets to be tested in a virtual setting. Mips’ VTL will save Mips and the helmet manufacturers we work with both time and money in developing new helmet models. Virtual testing will also help in reducing our climate impact compared to physical testing alone as fewer physical prototypes will be required and therefore less waste material in the production process.