Procurement and Supplier Management

Due to the significant amount of value created along the supply chain, the procurement process is critical to ZEISS’s long-term success. Local purchasing organizations active around the globe source both production and nonproduction materials from local and international suppliers. The company’s constantly growing supplier base now includes over 5,000 suppliers that are at home in different countries around the world.

The company works very closely with its global network of suppliers to reduce the negative impact of its business operations. Since a large share of added value is purchased from third-party suppliers, ZEISS takes a risk-based approach to ensuring that suppliers are systematically monitored with regard to sustainability aspects. As such, environmental and social aspects play an important role in the selection of and collaboration with suppliers. In complex supply chains, environmental pollution, human rights violations, and child or forced labor all represent potential risks that ZEISS wants to proactively address. To achieve its own aspirations and meet the expectations of customers, employees, and society at large, ZEISS plays an active role in ensuring that suppliers adhere to environmental and social standards.

Guidelines, structures, and processes

As minimum standards for human rights, health and safety, environmental protection, and business ethics, ZEISS suppliersmust adhere to the provisions of the internationally recognized Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), Code of Conduct. The RBA Code of Conduct is based on the UN Guiding Principleson Business and Human Rights and international human rights standards like those issued by the ILO.

ZEISS expects suppliers who have a direct business relationship with the company to meet the Code of Conduct’s minimum standards. The strategically important suppliers who make up approximately 75 percent of the company purchasing volume must acknowledge this Code of Conduct, adhere to it themselves, and pass the standards on to their subsuppliers and subcontractors. Strategically important suppliers are reviewed within the scope of assessments, audits, and other measures.

In addition to the RBA Code of Conduct, ZEISS’s statement on the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act with respect to the company’s procurement-related guidelines also applies, among others. Implementation and operational procedures are monitored by a committee – the Supply Chain Expert Panel – which is composed of employees managing supplier relations attheir respective business group. The Supplier Sustainability team, which also operates at the Group level, is responsible for various sustainability aspects in supply chain management as well as their promotion and supports their implementation across all units and business groups. Specific individuals are responsible for actual implementation and are given the skills they need for this task through measures to increase awareness and through different exchange formats.

Conflict Minerals

ZEISS supports the objectives of Section 1502 of the American Dodd-Frank Act, which has the aim of preventing the financing and facilitation of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the neighboring states through trading in conflict minerals.    

These conflict minerals include:   

  • Columbite-tantalite (raw materials for tantalum extraction)
  • Cassiterite (tin)   
  • Gold   
  • Wolframite (raw material for tungsten extraction   
  • Composites of these materials

ZEISS has therefore established an appropriate process for the identification and monitoring of the relevant suppliers.

ZEISS demands that its suppliers implement measures to ensure that the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding the use of conflict minerals are satisfied, and that the materials supplied to ZEISS do not contain any conflict minerals which directly or indirectly finance or facilitate armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or neighboring states.