Approach to Responsibility

Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO
Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO

As a company wholly owned by a foundation, one of the key business objectives of ZEISS is to achieve scientific and technical progress in the field of optics and photonics and, in doing so, improve the lives of people everywhere. As such, acting responsibly toward society, individual customers, partners, employees and the environment is at the core of the corporate identity that all Zeissians live and breathe on a daily basis, and this plays a key role in our company’s long-term success in a world shaped by global changes.  

ZEISS can thus look back on over 170 years of tradition. ZEISS’s corporate mission is based on the convictions of its founders Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe. The principles that continue to govern the business activities of the two foundation companies ZEISS and SCHOTT today were set forth in the statutes of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. This Foundation is our company's sole owner and was established by Ernst Abbe.

As a global player, ZEISS’s activities in this regard are guided not only by the applicable legal provisions and certification standards, but also by the principles of human rights, international climate protection targets, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In all of its business activities, ZEISS adheres to the local laws and requirements in the countries in which it operates. ZEISS also sees the importance of further social and ecological recommendations and standards issued by national and international organizations and takes frameworks into account.

Last but not least, our stable ownership structure and the associated forward-looking value system is why, today, ZEISS can proudly state that we are the global technology leader in the optics and optoelectronics industries with an extremely sound financial base. The ongoing pursuit of sustainable value creation will remain a key success factor for ZEISS long into the future.

Oberkochen, January 2018

Dr. Michael Kaschke
President and CEO



The company is founded


A company health insurance fund is established


Pension statute is one of the first retirement plans


The Carl Zeiss Foundation is established


Employment contract guarantees, among other things, a minimum wage


The Carl Zeiss Foundation’s statutes come into effect


The eight-hour workday is introduced


A savings and loan association is established for employees


The Carl Zeiss Foundation opens the Optical Museum in Jena


The first planetarium as an educational institution opens at the Deutsches Museum in Munich


The state government of Württemberg moves the legal domicile of the Carl Zeiss Foundation to Heidenheim


With the publication of the Biebelried declaration of intent in May 1990, the companies in East and West Germany announce their intention to merge


Reunification of Carl Zeiss Jena and Carl Zeiss Oberkochen


First year in which annual environmental performance indicators are monitored


ZEISS is the first corporate sponsor of the VISION 2020: the Right to Sight initiative", with the elimination of avoidable blindness as its goal


Industrial Metrology Technology starts reconditioning and modernizing customer machines


ZEISS Code of Conduct comes into force worldwide


The Primo Star iLED microscope is launched as the product of a partnership between ZEISS and the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics and is offered to public healthcare customers in "“high-burden countries” " (according to the definition by the WHO) at a particularly favorable price


The Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund is established to support activities at German sites


The Education and Science Fund is established, which supports scientific projects at universities and research institutes worldwide


All of the company’s sites in the European Union are certified to the ISO 50001 energy management standard

ZEISS sponsors the Rhino Conservation Awards for the first time, which are dedicated to protecting the endangered South African black rhino


A foundation for the German Optical Museum in Jena is established in honor of the 200th birthday of Carl Zeiss


ZEISS conducts the first sustainability audits at suppliers as part of the company’s sustainability program

The revised version of the ZEISS Code of Conduct highlights the importance of human rights due diligence


The ZEISS Group publishes its first Sustainability Report, which adheres to the standards set forth by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)


Further information is available in the current Sustainability Report.

If you have any questions or comments on sustainability at ZEISS, please write to us at: respons ibility @zeiss .com