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ZEISS: A Company with a Clear Vision of a Sustainable Future

Climate change and sustainability are increasingly becoming the watchwords for companies across sectors, especially those engaged in the mass manufacture of consumer products. The public are becoming very aware of the need for resource conservation and for companies to engage in optimisation of their processes to offset negative environmental impact. This is particularly important when it comes to the industries responsible for providing the tools or equipment for others – such as the semiconductor manufacturing sector – who play a crucial role in reducing the environmental footprint across digital work and lifestyles.

Leading optics and optoelectronics technology company, ZEISS, is an example of an organisation working to ensure its impact is a positive one. The company became famous by providing the lenses for the cameras used in the Apollo missions to space and, even today, most people would know the company from its eyeglass and camera lenses or binoculars. However, ZEISS’ attention has always been on the long-term. “Long-term thinking includes thinking beyond one generation only.” Says Dr. Matthias Metz, Member of the Executive Board of the ZEISS Group and responsible for the Consumer Markets segment, “This is our thinking since Carl Zeiss founded our company 175 years ago. With our technologies, and the products and solutions, we influence the lives of people for many years.”

Social responsibility and sustainability are incredibly important to ZEISS, and are areas that the company is continually engaging with. This focus means that the company is working to optimise its use of resources and enter into sustainable development, while also continuing to innovate in order to create positive impact for customers and consumers as well.

In terms of optimising its consumption of resources, ZEISS has a simple philosophy as its Head of Sustainability, Dr. Nicole Ziegler, explains. “The best resource saving is not to need the resource at all.” For example, ZEISS saves hundreds of tons of material each year by reducing its resource use in eyeglass lens production. Similarly, with the latest Extreme Ultraviolet Technology for microchip manufacturing, ZEISS contributes to the production of energy-saving microchips.

Saving resources can also occur outside the production process. ZEISS has switched from air freight to railway delivery for microscopes between Europe and China – reducing the carbon footprint of its deliveries by up to 95%. Additionally, by investing in digitalisation to reduce air travel, ZEISS’ Chinese customers can track quality inspection digitally, saving energy and shortening working processes at the same time.

ZEISS’ work to optimise and improve systems is not limited to its own operations. The company’s Digital Classroom Initiative allows teachers across schools and universities to create a network of connected school microscopes using apps. This enables ZEISS to have an impact on the way that learning is being redefined for the needs of future generations. Additionally, ZEISS is using its ophthalmological expertise to develop a comprehensive and online solution for Myopia management which, given that over 60% of Chinese adolescents suffer from the condition, is a big step towards a sustainable and healthy future for children in China.

“Sustainability is about walking the talk,” says Dr. Matthias Metz, “it is about action and about getting things done and implemented.” With ZEISS’ active engagement with its sustainable and social commitments, it is clear that ZEISS is a company determined to walk the talk.


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