Green buildings at innovation hubs that meet the highest standards in environmental protection and sustainability. New resource-friendly sunglass lenses with organic material. Virtual reality solutions for service calls and training courses to reduce business trips and CO₂ emissions. Material efficiency by retrofitting plants and machinery. The ZEISS Women Award to make young women in IT more visible. Supporting an eye clinic in the Australian outback and ophthalmological services for a hospital train serving remote areas in India. Improving access to bird watching for people with disabilities. These are just some of the many ways in which ZEISS is taking responsibility. As a foundation-owned company, ZEISS promotes scientific and technological progress, and campaigns for better living conditions worldwide.
Responsible action has always been a top priority for the company. Responsibility is embedded in the brand just as sustainability is anchored in the corporate strategy. It's not just about improving the social and environmental impact of business operations, it's about viewing sustainability as a value driver and leveraging sustainability challenges as opportunities.
Sustainability is a key driver for innovations as we aim to create greater added value for society and thus set ourselves apart from our competitors. The range of sustainable product solutions will help ZEISS customers in particular to be more successful and more sustainable."Dr. Nicole Ziegler, Head of Sustainability at ZEISS
Employees, the environment, social engagement, integrity and compliance, as well as products and the value chain – the ZEISS approach focuses on these five fields of action. This holistic approach provides guidance for everyday work. During fiscal year 2018/19, an analysis first identified essential sustainability issues relevant for business, and these have been reviewed and updated every year since then. They provide strategic direction and are also presented in detail in the annual Sustainability Report.
ZEISS will focus on three strategic topics in the coming years and regards them as a major lever for changes. "Climate protection, the circular economy and added value for society are the strategic priorities that we will be driving worldwide together with the segments and other business functions," says Ziegler.
ZEISS has already made great progress overall in reducing the use of resources and achieved the reduction targets (in relation to value added) set so far for energy and water consumption as well as waste generation in fiscal year 2019/20. In order to keep increasing resource efficiency, ZEISS continues to work on reducing its consumption and emissions to counter the negative impact on the environment and our climate. To do this, the company set itself new environmental targets with regard to water, waste, energy and CO₂ emissions that it aims to achieve by fiscal year 2024/25.
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. At the same time, ZEISS will be looking at the emissions in its upstream value chains. This milestone supplements our existing goal of switching to green power at our 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," says Ziegler. Energy is to be used as efficiently as possible and energy consumption to drop by 20 percent by fiscal year 2024/25 relative to the company's own value added. In the reporting year, ZEISS was already able to reduce its relative energy consumption by five percent as compared to the reference year 2018/19 – this is due especially to the significantly higher value added. By using green energy in particular, ZEISS could already reduce CO2 emissions from its own operations by almost 70 percent as compared to fiscal year 2019/20.
ZEISS also focuses on improving the circular economy. Products are to be designed in a more sustainable manner throughout their entire life cycle, more renewables and recycled materials will be deployed, and loops closed. Water consumption is set to fall by 15 percent by fiscal year 2024/25 relative to the company's own value added. During the same period, the amount of waste generated is projected to be reduced by 10 percent relative to the company's own value added. The first positive steps were taken in the reporting year. As compared to reference year 2018/19, it was possible to reduce relative water consumption by 17 percent, and the relative amount of waste by 14 percent. This positive development can also be explained by the very high added value in the reporting year. Now, the goal is to sustain this improvement or further improve it in the coming years.
With its products and solutions, ZEISS also wants to generate added value for a more sustainable society. This includes providing as many people as possible with access to high-quality healthcare. To this end, the numerous existing activities will be continued. For example in education and research, human rights and diversity.
The new Sustainability Report for fiscal year 2020/21 demonstrates how ZEISS is taking responsibility throughout the value chain and has positioned itself as future-ready in order to overcome the challenges ahead.
You can find the current Sustainability Report, as well as the Non-Financial Report here.