Integrity and Compliance at ZEISS

As both a company and a brand, ZEISS stands for integrity: business activities must always be conducted in accordance with applicable laws and internal regulations, no matter where they are carried out. In addition, the activities must be legitimate and, as such, ethically responsible. Integrity cannot simply be decreed but instead must be lived and breathed by management, who act as role models, and be enshrined in the corporate culture. This is why at ZEISS, the Executive Board ensures that clear structures, an effective system, and a global team exist, and it makes the necessary resources available.

ZEISS Code of Conduct

What does the Code of Conduct state? The ZEISS Code of Conduct was first published in 2007. It is a globally applicable Code of Conduct that governs the day-to-day actions of all employees. It covers aspects such as the fair treatment of colleagues and business partners, as well as product safety and environmental protection, and expressly agrees to the international labor standards (ILO standards).

The ZEISS Code of Conduct can be downloaded in one of the following languages:

Compliance Management System

As the foundation of compliance management, the ZEISS Group’s Code of Conduct, which the company first published in 2007, describes the risks of conducting business activities and provides specific recommendations. It applies worldwide and encompasses topics such as the fair treatment of employees and business partners, product safety, environmental protection, rules against restricting competition, and anti-corruption measures. In the case of certain particularly sensitive areas, the Code of Conduct refers to additional, internal guidelines. They apply to the assessment and commissioning of sales partners, as well as the handling of gifts and invitations.  

ZEISS has a three-tier compliance structure. At the Group level, responsibility lies with the Chief Compliance Officer and the Director of Corporate Compliance, who report directly to the Executive Board. ZEISS’s business groups each have their own Group Compliance Officer, who coordinates activities for the companies that are part of the business group. In turn, each individual company has their own local Compliance Officer who is responsible for training and is the local point of contact for all questions from employees and managers. However, this does not mean that the executives and managers of ZEISS companies are absolved of their responsibility to adhere to legal and internal rules of conduct. They are still obligated to monitor and supervise their local Compliance Officer.  

The Compliance Process

ZEISS divides the compliance process into four phases: prevent, detect, respond and correct.

1. "Prevent“
– to prevent compliance issues through employee training
- Mix of classroom-based sessions and modern learning formats
– mandatory foundation course on Compliance/ZEISS Code of Conduct for ZEISS employees

2. "Detect“
– early identification of misconduct
– call to employees to report compliance issues

3. "Respond"
– appropriate reaction to individual misconduct
– systematic and consistent actions are top priority

4. "Correct"
– perform analysis to show possible organizational and process-related shortcomings
– achieve continuous improvement

In summary, these four phases can prevent systemic compliance infringements, correct wrongdoing and punish them as required. "ZEISS understands zero tolerance" as an obligation to stop all incorrect behavior directed and established or adjust processes to eliminate the possibility of recurrence, as required.

ZEISS Policy

The ZEISS Policy describes ZEISS’s position on the following core topics:

  • ZEISS Brand, products & customer satisfaction
  • Employees, health & safety
  • Compliance & social responsibility
  • External relations, partners & suppliers
  • Environmental protection & energy efficiency
  • Continual improvement & goals

Compliance is an essential component that guides all of our business-related actions and behavior.

ZEISS Policy_2018_A4_DE_90_050_0011I


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