Sustainability Strategy

As a company owned by a foundation, sustainability and business success are inextricably linked at ZEISS. Sustainable value creation is a fixed component of the company’s strategy, which focuses on innovative solutions that contribute to positive development in society and enable long-term, profitable growth.

Goals and Values

As a foundation-owned company, social responsibility is one of the most important goals shaping the ZEISS Group's entrepreneurial behavior. Codified by the founder of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, the company's goals include profitable growth, responsibility toward employees, a commitment to society and social issues and the advancement of science and education.

The company still upholds these same ambitions today. ZEISS’ products allow it to make a contribution to research and development worldwide and improve many people’s lives. This is another aspect that sets ZEISS apart as a pioneer in the field of scientific optics – namely, the profound belief that the company’s fundamental mission goes far beyond simply generating profits.

Dr. Nicole Ziegler Head of Sustainability, ZEISS Group

Sustainability is a key driver for innovations that create greater added value for society and thus help ZEISS to set itself apart from our competitors.

Organizational Structure for Sustainability

At ZEISS, ultimate responsibility for sustainability lies with the Executive Board of Carl Zeiss AG. Its 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 sustainability program. They also collaborate with those responsible for internal processes from the Environment and Energy Management, Supply Chain Management, and Compliance departments, for example, to embed sustainability themes throughout the ZEISS Group.

As a supplement to the central Sustainability team, the relevant management has appointed a person to look after sustainability management for each segment and the Shared Production Unit.

Our Approach to Sustainability

ZEISS understands that growth is only possible in an intact environment that is open to innovation. Only companies that respect the needs and motivations of others – particularly customers, business partners, employees, and local communities – and cooperate with them on an ongoing basis can achieve long-term business success.

The approach with which ZEISS addresses, implements and integrates the requirements for responsible and sustainable business practices in its day-to-day operations is divided into five key areas of activity: Integrity and Compliance, Products and the Value Chain, Employees, Environment and Social Engagement.

Focus Topics

ZEISS plans to focus on three main strategic areas until 2025: Climate protection, circular economy and added value for society.

One of today's most urgent tasks is to counter climate change and its impact. ZEISS assigns strategic priority to climate protection and has set itself an ambitious decarbonization goal. Through its products, ZEISS also aims to create added value for its customers and a sustainable society, provide as many people as possible with access to high-quality healthcare and boost resource efficiency through closed-loop systems.

Focus Topics
Climate Protection Drive CO₂ neutrality along the value chain
Drive CO₂ neutrality along the value chain

ZEISS aims to remove carbon emissions from its own activities and strives to also decarbonize its value chain. In addition to that it is the goal to use energy in the most efficient way possible.

This means that ZEISS aims to operate in a carbon-neutral way in its own activities by 2025. To improve energy efficiency ZEISS has also set specific goals until 2025.

Climate Protection at ZEISS – Globally Carbon-Neutral 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.

Ecological Footprint
Circular Economy Enable resource efficiency through closed loop systems
Enable resource efficiency through closed loop systems

ZEISS strives for a circular use of resources, minimizing the impact on the environment.

ZEISS aims to continuously reduce water and waste. In the usage of resources, renewable and recycled materials are to be increasingly applied in order to enable a circular use of resources and thus minimize the impact on the environment.

Resource Efficiency Milestones Achieved

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.

Added Value for Society Create good health and well-being through innovation
Create good health and well-being through innovation

ZEISS wants to create added value for a sustainable society through its products and to provide access to high-quality healthcare to as many people as possible. In order to achieve this, ZEISS will continue its existing activities and sponsorships, for example in education & research, human rights, occupational safety, diversity and compliance.

Social Engagement for Good and Healthy Vision

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.


Drivers of Innovation

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.

Sustainability Report

Further information is available in the current Sustainability Report

Sustainability Contact Information

If you have any questions or comments on sustainability at ZEISS, please write to us at respons ibility @zeiss .com


You can find further information on the Group strategy in the current Group Management Report for the ZEISS Group