Strategy and Sustainability

As a company owned by a foundation, sustainability and business success are inextricably linked at ZEISS. Sustainable value creation is a fixed component of the company's strategy, which focuses on innovative solutions that contribute to positive development in society and enables long-term, profitable growth.

Goals and Values

As a foundation-owned company, social responsibility is one of the most important goals shaping the ZEISS Group’s business operations. Codified by the founder of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, our obligations include profitable growth, responsibility toward our employees, a commitment to society and social issues as well as the advancement of science and education.

The company still upholds these same ambitions today. ZEISS’ products allow it to make a contribution to research and development worldwide and improve many people’s lives. This is another aspect that sets ZEISS apart as a pioneer in the field of scientific optics – namely, the profound belief that the company’s fundamental mission goes far beyond simply generating profits.

Our Approach to Sustainability

ZEISS understands that growth is only possible in an intact environment that is open to innovation. Only companies that respect the needs and motivations of others – particularly customers, business partners, employees and local communities – and cooperate with them on an ongoing basis can achieve long-term business success.

The approach taken by ZEISS to address, implement and integrate the requirements for responsible and sustainable business practices in its day-to-day operations is divided into five key areas of activity: Integrity and Compliance, Products and the Value Chain, Environment, Employees and Social Engagement.

Drivers of Innovation

With its innovations, ZEISS drives progress, efficiency and the success of its customers – the basic requirement for its own economic success. Thus ZEISS constantly strives to achieve a leading global position through the evolution of existing products and the development of new ones. As part of this process, innovation at ZEISS is always placed within the context of society as a whole. The primary objective of all innovations is to meet customers’ requirements now and in the future. The optical and optoelectronic technologies from ZEISS pave the way for new scientific findings and many innovations in other industries. Life sciences like bionics and medical technology will continue to become increasingly vital for a modern society. The developments in semiconductor technology enable digitalization in industry and society. Intelligent sensor systems, different types of robotics and artificial intelligence increasingly shape how people live and work. Since all advances and enhancements in research, production and quality processes require more precise findings, ZEISS uses its expertise to make valuable contributions to the development of new solutions.

Highlights from Fiscal Year 2018/19


The annual Week of Sight includes initiatives and provides information on the topic of vision and preventable blindness throughout the company.


A cross-divisional specialist team is formed to ensure sustainability in product and process development.


The focus is on a host of initiatives run by employees worldwide to support children and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.


First Non-Financial Report on the annual Financial Report and second Sustainability Report are published.


New ophthalmology training center opens in Pune (India) – it offers training in cataract treatment for ophthalmologists and nurses.


ZEISS employees take part in the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life – a day organized in support of the fight against cancer in Singapore.


ZEISS in South Australia takes part in Science Alive and Tonsley Discovery Day to get schoolkids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


ZEISS is named Germany’s best company in the 2019 Public Value Atlas (Gemeinwohlatlas) published by the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in collaboration with the University of St. Gallen.


ZEISS runs a health day at its sites in Germany to raise employee awareness for the topic. Carl Zeiss Vision México receives the Clean Industry Certificate.


The first hybrid cruise liner commences operations – it features an onboard Science Center replete with ZEISS microscopes that are used to perform experiments in far-flung regions.


ZEISS holds the topping-off ceremony for its modern high-tech site in Dublin, California (USA).


The new position of Head of Sustainability and a host of further measures – particularly ones designed to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions – more firmly anchor sustainability in the ZEISS strategy.

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