ZEISS products and solutions contribute to medical progress in ophthalmology and neuro/ENT surgery and support physicians on every continent in the effort to improve their patients' quality of life. Eyeglass lenses from ZEISS help people around the world enjoy better vision. And intelligent measuring systems from ZEISS increase efficiency and assure quality in a wide range of sectors, including the automotive and aerospace industries. For example, ZEISS provides comprehensive measuring and testing solutions for e-mobility, from batteries and power electronics to electric motors and transmissions. As such, state-of-the-art coordinate technology is used to inspect the fit accuracy of powertrain components in vehicles to ensure low fuel consumption. In the aviation and wind energy industries, ZEISS measuring machines help increase the efficiency of wind turbines and aircraft engines.
ZEISS has set itself the goal of providing innovative solutions that focus on customer needs, make technologies more efficient and increase the quality of life. In doing so, ZEISS aspires to always manufacture safe and reliable products of high quality. Lots of new patent applications underscore the company's enormous capacity for innovation.
At ZEISS, product safety begins in the development stage, continues through the procurement and production process and remains an important aspect when the product is being serviced or operated by the customer. Digital product security and the applications related to them, secure networking of products and the interdisciplinary topic of Industry 4.0 are playing an increasingly significant role here. For ZEISS, product responsibility means more than just delivering innovative, effective and safe products. It also includes adding value responsibly ‒ from the raw materials to product recycling.
ZEISS develops the products and solutions itself. When it comes to manufacturing, the segments of the ZEISS Group collaborate with partners that supply either complete products or key components. Local purchasing organizations around the globe source both production and non-production materials from local and international suppliers. The most important suppliers include those for glass, electronic elements and components, metals, mechanical components, plastics, software and IT solutions.
The company works very closely with its global supplier network to reduce the negative impact of its business operations. To do this, ZEISS takes a risk-based approach for the systematic management of suppliers as concerns sustainability aspects.
As such, environmental and social aspects play an increasingly important role in the selection of and collaboration with suppliers. In complex supply chains, environmental pollution, inadequate occupational health and safety standards, human rights violations and child or forced labor represent potential risks that ZEISS wants to proactively address. Respect for human rights is becoming a particular focus due to increased regulation, such as through the German National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights.
Within the scope of its due diligence obligations, ZEISS has also established a process for identifying and assessing risks in the supply chain with regard to dealing with conflict minerals. To support this effort, ZEISS collects risk-based information. As part of its annual reporting the company relies on the globally recognized standards of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (formerly known as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative) in its communications with relevant suppliers. ZEISS uses the available means and information to verify data on these smelting works in order to identify possible risks and raise supplier awareness for this topic.
Kering Eyewear and ZEISS Sunlens have been working together on developing and selling sunglasses for years. In 2021, they succeeded in taking a major step toward reducing CO2 emissions in the manufacturing of eco-friendly sunglass lenses. Based on the mass balance, a significant proportion of the newly developed sunglass lenses are made of non-fossil biomaterial – a component for the sustainable rims of Kering Eyewear and a valid option for consumers who prefer sustainably made sunglasses. The new material is certified by REDcert for measurable results throughout the entire value chain – a system that is recognized by the European Commission.
The ZEISS Consumer Products strategic business unit has been using 3D printing since 2018 and continuously expands its use. The process is primarily used to manufacture the tools required in production processes. The new printed tools are made of artificial resin and have largely replaced machined tools made of aluminum. The new process avoids negative effects associated with aluminum production such as a very high demand of energy and limited recycling ability due to the use of numerous different alloys. At the same time, a 3D printer consumes much less energy than a cutting machine. So in terms of energy balance, the new process impresses on account of both the material used and its processing. Alongside improved sustainability performance, the new process has paid off, with ZEISS having achieved annual savings in the 6-figure range.
In 2017, the ZEISS Vision Care strategic business unit began using the motto "Green, Safe & Responsible" to pool over 280 initiatives in a global program to strategically anchor and drive sustainability.