Sustainability at ZEISS

Sustainability at ZEISS

Ideas and projects for a resource-efficient and innovative future

As a company owned by a foundation, sustainability and success in business are inextricably linked at ZEISS. ZEISS aims to anchor sustainable added value as an integral part of its business activities focusing on innovative solutions that contribute to positive development in society and enable long-term, profitable growth.

A Heart for Science
A Heart for Science

A Heart for Science

The future is in the hands of the young generation. Research is paving the way to shape this future. With A Heart for Science, ZEISS can inspire young talents for nature and technology and open the door to the world of science for them. ZEISS has created the general framework for the volunteer program, including a digital platform for networking, a playbook for participating and funding for the most impressive project ideas.

On a journey of continuous improvement

How ZEISS understands sustainability

ZEISS is driving forward the three focus topics of added value for society, circular economy and climate action, thus actively contributing to the United Nations' global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, ZEISS can concentrate on the areas in which the company has particular opportunities to exert influence and can achieve the greatest impact for people and the environment.

Learn more about the sustainability strategy at ZEISS

Sustainability as part of corporate strategy

In harmony with climate, economy and society

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.

Neutrality as a goal – climate action at ZEISS

Neutrality as a goal – climate action at ZEISS

The Paris climate goal of reducing global warming to well below two degrees is ambitious. ZEISS wants to play its part to help the global community achieve it: carbon neutrality in our operations by 2025.

The primary goal is to reduce emissions in our supply chain and in transportation. If a reduction cannot be made, the supplier must pay compensation. In addition, ZEISS is focusing on the efficient use of natural resources and energy.

SDG 13 – Climate action

A round thing – circular economy at ZEISS

Circular economy and sparing use of resources

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 loops closed. Water consumption and the amount of waste are set to be further reduced.

SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

Common good at ZEISS

Value for society

ZEISS would like to generate added value for a more sustainable society through its products and solutions. What's more, ZEISS is committed to the common good, education and research through sponsorships. This includes providing as many people as possible with access to high-quality healthcare. The company also encourages its employees to volunteer for the MINT initiative A Heart for Science.

SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth

  • Current achievements

    Path to greater resource efficiency

    To avoid losing heart on the journey to a sustainable future, it helps to celebrate successes. ZEISS has already accomplished a great deal along the way. These are the most significant achievements.

  • 51%

    reduction in (relative) energy consumption

    compared to FY 2009/10

  • 48%

    reduction in (relative) water consumption

    compared to FY 2009/10

  • 31%

    reduction in (relative) waste volume

    compared to FY 2009/10

  • 50%

    reduction in (relative) CO2 emissions

    compared to FY 2009/10 (Scope 1 and 2)

Current projects and initiatives

Sustainability has many faces at ZEISS worldwide. In cooperation with experts from diverse disciplines and external partners, different sustainability projects are implemented.

Role of the Carl Zeiss Foundation

Carl Zeiss AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, dedicated to creating open spaces for scientific breakthroughs. One of the key areas for support is the efficient use of natural resources. The ZEISS Group benefits from being a foundation company in many ways.

Statute of the Carl Zeiss Foundation

Protection against takeovers

Undesirable investors could not be part of ZEISS, so the company is unencumbered by investor interests. The common good of the Foundation is at the heart of all activities.

Carl Zeiss Foundation

Profits for a good cause

For its charitable research sponsorships, the Carl Zeiss Foundation depends on profit distribution. Part of the company's profits go to the Foundation, the rest remains in the company for investment in innovation and research.

Business with foresight

Business with foresight

Free from pressure to generate returns, ZEISS is in a position to finance projects over the long term instead of having to achieve short-term success. Economic foresight enables innovation.


Enthusiasm for employees

Enthusiasm for employees

The majority of employees work for foundation companies for between 10 and 25 years – significantly longer than for capital market-oriented companies. They are also more crisis-proof.


    • Sustainability Report 2022/23 English

      Pages: 88
      File size: 2 MB
    • Sustainability Report 2021/22 English

      Pages: 85
      File size: 64 MB
    • Sustainability Report 2020/21 English

      Pages: 77
      File size: 4 MB
    • Sustainability Report 2019/20 English

      Pages: 72
      File size: 5 MB
    • Sustainability Report 2017/18 English

      Pages: 60
      File size: 6 MB
    • Sustainability Insights Booklet (EN)

      Sustainability Insights Booklet (EN)

      Pages: 35
      File size: 3 MB
Sustainability at ZEISS – International
Sustainability at ZEISS – International

Sustainability at ZEISS – International

Ideas and projects for a resource-efficient and innovative future

Find more details on ZEISS' international sustainability website:

  • Sustainability Strategy
  • Focus Topics: Climate Action, Circular Economy, Value for Society
  • A Heart for Science