One of today's most urgent tasks is to counter climate change and its impact. But this is by no means a new topic at ZEISS. Back in 1998, the company established global environmental principles. And since 2003, it has been measuring and globally consolidating environmental performance indicators in the areas of energy, water, waste and CO₂ emissions.
Based on this data, ZEISS is optimizing its business processes and organizing them so that ever fewer resources are required. In 2018, the company defined specific reductions targets related to resource efficiency that it aimed to achieve by the end of fiscal year 2019/20. And that's exactly what it did. The environmental KPIs related to energy, water, waste and CO₂ emissions clearly indicate that ZEISS has made considerable progress in terms of reducing its use of resources. A variety of measures taken at the segments and at ZEISS sites worldwide contributed to this success. However, now is certainly not the time to rest on our laurels. ZEISS is continuing to work on improving its environmental performance as part of its sustainability strategy. After all, the company's responsible and future-oriented leadership was stipulated in the Foundation statutes long ago and is firmly anchored in the ZEISS brand.
Over the past two years, ZEISS has taken further steps to more firmly anchor sustainability in its corporate strategy. This led to the creation of the Head of Sustainability position and a central Sustainability team at Corporate Strategic Development. Sustainability officers at the segment level help to ingrain sustainable action throughout the company, rendering it measurable and developing it further. The focus topic "Create impact" is also anchored in the corporate strategy, the ZEISS Agenda 25.
ZEISS will be focusing on three topics in particular in the years ahead. "Climate action, circular economy and value for society are the strategic dimensions that we will be driving worldwide together with the segments and business functions," says Dr. Nicole Ziegler, Head of Sustainability at ZEISS. We are currently collaborating on quantitative goals and on anchoring it in the sustainability programs being run at the strategic business units.
Through its products, ZEISS aims to create added value for its customers, as well as a sustainable society that will provide as many people as possible with access to high-quality healthcare and boost resource efficiency through closed-loop systems. Products are to be made successively more sustainable throughout the entire life cycle. “The range of sustainable product solutions will help ZEISS customers to be more successful and more sustainable," says Ziegler. "Sustainability is a key driver for innovations that will create added value for society and help ZEISS sharpen its competitive edge."
When it comes to climate protection in particular, the company has set itself one very specific and ambitious goal:
ZEISS aims to operate in a carbon-neutral way in all its own global activities by 2025. This supplements the company's existing goal of switching to green power at its main sites worldwide by 2022. ZEISS is therefore making a contribution to the global targets set in the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to below 2°C."Nicole Ziegler, Head of Sustainability
So how does ZEISS plan to achieve this? The Sustainability team believes a key lever is to continue finding ways to use natural resources as efficiently as possible in order to prevent pollution. "To this end, we are continuing a number of established projects, initiatives and measures for conserving energy and resources at the ZEISS locations worldwide," says Ziegler. "However, we must take a critical look at our processes on an ongoing basis. What can we do better, or differently? Where do we need to make improvements in order to achieve the biggest and most sustainable impact?" In addition to purchasing green power, for years ZEISS has been investing in energy-efficient sites and its own systems for generating renewable energy, such as photovoltaics. Moreover, we are promoting the use of sustainable mobility. "Our priority is to reduce emissions. Where this is not possible, like on business flights, we will compensate for these emissions," says Ziegler. The selected compensation projects meet strict quality criteria and fulfill the relevant international standards.
In order to continue improving the energy and emissions data collection process, ZEISS is currently implementing a global energy data platform. The platform is scheduled to collect data on all ZEISS sites worldwide with significant energy consumption by the end of this fiscal year. This creates a solid foundation for successfully implementing the measures with the aim of switching to 100 percent green energy.