At ZEISS, responsibility for sustainability ultimately lies with the Executive Board of Carl Zeiss AG. Its strategic and operational implementation is the responsibility of the Head of Sustainability, who regularly reports to the CEO and is a member of the Corporate Strategic Development management team.
Together with the Sustainability team, the Head of Sustainability is in charge of the ZEISS Group's central and cross-divisional sustainability program. They also collaborate with those responsible for internal processes, e.g. from the Environment and Energy Management, Supply Chain Management, and Compliance departments, to embed sustainability topics throughout the ZEISS Group.
As a supplement to the central Sustainability team, officers were appointed to look after sustainability management at each segment and at the Shared Production Unit. The sustainability officers at the units regularly meet with the Head of Sustainability to report on progress at the units and on ongoing initiatives.
ZEISS' commitment to sustainability is firmly anchored in its strategy. The strategy also aims to improve the company's social and environmental impact, view sustainability as a value driver and leverage sustainability challenges as opportunities.
ZEISS will focus on three strategic topics: Climate action, Circular economy and Value for society.
To work on these strategic focus topics and on the further integration of sustainability in key processes, a Group-wide sustainability program was created as part of the ZEISS Agenda. Two Executive Board members are responsible for the program, which is coordinated by the central Sustainability department.
Five topic-specific working groups were formed as part of the program. They work on the following topics:
- Sustainable energy supply and energy-efficient infrastructure
- Sustainable product development
- Implementation of new environmentally sustainable business
- Sustainability in procurement and logistics
- Strengthening social engagement and social business
ZEISS aims to operate in a carbon-neutral way in its own activities by 2025. Furthermore, ZEISS will be looking at the emissions in its upstream value chains.
The company also aims to use energy as efficiently as possible. ZEISS has set specific targets to be achieved by 2025.
ZEISS aims to operate in a carbon-neutral way in its own activities worldwide by 2025. This supplements the company's existing goal of switching to green power at its 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.
ZEISS strives for a circular use of resources with a view to reducing the impact on the environment.
To achieve this, more renewables and recycled materials will be deployed, and cycles closed. Water consumption and waste volumes are set to be further reduced.
In 2018, ZEISS defined specific reductions targets related to resource efficiency that it aimed to achieve by the end of the 2019/20 financial year. And that's exactly what it did. Its environmental KPIs related to energy, water, waste and CO₂ emissions clearly indicate that ZEISS has already made considerable progress in terms of reducing its use of resources in relation to its own value added. A variety of measures taken at the segments and at ZEISS sites worldwide also contributed to this success. ZEISS is continuing to work on improving its environmental performance as part of its sustainability strategy.
Through its products, ZEISS aims to create added value for a more sustainable society. That includes providing as many people as possible with access to high-quality healthcare.
In order to achieve this, ZEISS will continue its existing activities and sponsorships. For example in education and research, human rights and diversity.
For years, the LifeLine Express run by the Impact India Foundation has been operating as a hospital train, transporting healthcare to rural areas. ZEISS is regularly involved via its Aloka Vision Program, in which it provides eye exams and eyeglasses. In October 2020, for example, 3,870 patients in Tripura were seen by an ophthalmologist and more than 1,000 pairs of eyeglasses made and supplied to patients. Ophthalmologists also do volunteer work on the train, treating cataracts and other conditions.
ZEISS believes the basis for the focus topics and the aims of the working groups can be summarized as follows: growth is only possible in an intact environment that is open to innovation. At ZEISS, generating acceptance for the company's own activities and assuming responsibility for the environment, employees and society is thus an integral part of its business philosophy.
As part of sustainable corporate leadership, ZEISS is pursuing a long-term holistic approach that will define day-to-day operations. This approach is split into five fields of action: employees, the environment, social and societal engagement, compliance, as well as products and value chain.
With its innovations, ZEISS drives progress, efficiency and the success of its customers as the basic requirement for its own economic success. That is why ZEISS strives to proactively shape markets 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.