Sustainable Corporate Management

For ZF sustainability means reconciling growth with society. We gear ourselves to our company values and the challenges of the future.

ZF company values

Five company values express our shared philosophy: Identity, Responsibility, Values, Culture, and Vision. These values give us our future direction and reinforce the feeling of solidarity worldwide. We are extending our business by aligning ourselves to global megatrends and opening up new markets. This in turn adds to our responsibility: We comply with the law across all jurisdictions and aim to achieve a balance between economic, environmental, and social interests.

Responsibility as a company value

Our value "Responsibility" covers all aspects of sustainability. As a global leader in driveline and chassis technology this essentially includes environmental protection within the company and with products. And dealing with employees fairly is just as important when it comes to company success. As a company owned by two foundations our economic success contributes directly to the sustainable development of society: Our dividends solely benefit nonprofit activities.

International obligation

We aim to be a "good global citizen". We affirmed this commitment in May 2012 by signing the UN Global Compact, which sets out ten principles that underpin sustainable corporate governance: Maintaining human rights, offering good working conditions, promoting environmental protection, preventing corruption and bribery. We have committed ourselves to these principles and will provide an annual report on our activities.

Geared to megatrends

As a worldwide leading technology company, we have committed to the task of responding to global megatrends. Population growth, shortage of resources, climate change, demographic changes – such factors can threaten economic developments if they are not identified and managed in due time. Turning risks into opportunities, both for our customers and ourselves – that is what our products are designed for. For our innovation management we have identified three central topics for product development: driveline efficiency, vehicle safety systems, plus advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. All these areas stand for car buyers' changed values, especially when it comes to fuel efficiency and safety.

Our initiatives

Our initiatives for enhancing sustainability and resource conservation are crucial in this respect. They make us successful by allowing us to develop better, more efficient products, saving costly energy, and combating regulatory risks. As part of HR development we embrace diversity by means of international career paths as well as qualified, attractive training, ongoing further training, and new working time models.

Management and control

The ZF Group Board of Management is responsible for sustainability at ZF. The Code of Conduct, the Principles of Social Responsibility, the Environmental and Energy Policy as well as the Health and Safety at Work Policy form the guiding principles of everything we do. They are binding for all employees worldwide.

From an organizational perspective, the topic of sustainability is part of Corporate Compliance and is thus assigned to the Member of the Board of Management in charge of Corporate Governance. A Sustainability department was formally established during the reporting period. It is responsible for

  • coordinating relevant topics
  • providing a central contact, both internally and externally
  • cooperating with internal and external Communications
  • representing the company at events and in sustainability-relevant memberships, such as the UN Global Compact
  • regular reporting to the responsible Member of the Board of Management
  • external sustainability reporting as well as stakeholder dialog.

Sustainability organization

The Member of the Board of Management, Corporate Governance, chairs the Sustainability Steering Committee that meets on a regular basis. It consists of persons responsible from the corporate functions of Compliance, Human Resources, Market, Production, Materials Management, Research and Development, and from Communications, Diversity, Environmental Protection, and Occupational Health and Safety. The Steering Committee meets on a quarterly basis. It mainly provides the framework for sustainability reporting and makes recommendations to the Board of Management.

Amongst others, Human Resources, Diversity, Health Services, as well as Safety, Security & Environmental Protection departments are active at the corporate level. These departments fall within the responsibility of Corporate HR. The responsible Member of the Board of Management prepares relevant Group Directives and coordinates the system of officers within the Group. Within the four divisions and the Electronic Systems and ZF Services business units, requirements related to health, safety, and environment are implemented in accordance with corporate standards supported by officers from the locations, and divisions or regions.

Sustainability reporting

ZF published its third Sustainability Report in 2015. It is issued once a year and is geared to the internationally acknowledged guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
It provides transparent and comprehensive information to our stakeholders.
These include employees, junior staff, customers, suppliers, banks, insurers, government, authorities, and the general public. The Sustainability Report at the same time represents our progress report in relation to the UN Global Compact. We will submit it in future on an annual basis.