ZF’s “Vision Zero” – with zero accidents and zero emissions as the ultimate goal of all company activities – shows just how strong the company has committed itself to the concept of sustainability. Our products are making an important contribution to safe and environmentally sustainable mobility.
As one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers with more than 100 years of experience, we feel obligated to drive the topic of sustainable mobility. That is why we have designed a comprehensive sustainability program (PDF, 609.9 KB) and report annually on the progress achieved.
ZF has been a member of the UN Global Compact since 2012. This initiative stands for corporate action that is in harmony with society and the environment. Its members are dedicated to shaping the global economy to be more inclusive and sustainable.
To find sustainable answers to the most urgent environmental and traffic problems, ZF is treading the most diverse paths thanks to its power of innovation. Its actions include the founding and operation of global innovation hubs and technology centers, cooperating with highly specialized partners and investing in promising start-ups through the Group’s venture capital company Zukunft Ventures . This is how innovative products for the future emerge, such as the ZF ProAI supercomputer and other technological solutions. Many of them are installed in prototype vehicles such as the ZF Innovation Truck or the Vision Zero Vehicle and have proven their suitability for use out on the roads.
Of course the company’s existing product portfolio also supports sustainability. For example, we have increased the efficiency of our conventional transmissions and rely on modular transmission kits that offer a hybrid option. This cuts fuel consumption and emissions. Moreover, we are developing and building highly integrated purely electric drives for deployment not only in passenger cars and trucks, but also in other vehicles such as construction and farm equipment. Lightweight designs in all product lines that function according to the principle “power on demand” also ensure greater energy efficiency. For example, electric steering systems only consume energy when the driver is steering. The company has already been active for many years in the field of remanufacturing technical products on an industrial scale. This not only extends the service life of the products, but also drastically reduces the energy and resources required compared to producing a new component.
ZF’s unique technological competence is expressed in a nutshell with its motto "see. think. act“. Using the operating principle of intelligent networking, sensors ("see") are connected to control units ("think"), whose signals are issued only to reliable actuators in the drive, braking, steering and occupant safety systems ("act"). This intelligent interplay between all components and systems helps vehicles not only become safer, but is also a prerequisite for autonomous driving.
As an attractive employer, ZF wants to be an inspiring force worldwide. And it is succeeding! This is demonstrated by the fact that alone in Germany several hundred young people start an apprenticeship at ZF every year. The company has always relied heavily on innovative and forward-looking training programs, in addition, students come to ZF from numerous international university and vocational school programs that have organized educational cooperation with ZF.
ZF encourages its employees to think in terms of achieving results, to play a role in shaping their own professional development and to further expand their personal skills. At the same time, ZF supports them through its flexible work hours, active health management and competitive remuneration.
Working together day-to-day, cooperation in a trusting atmosphere is important to us. We firmly believe that diversity has a positive impact on society and on how people work together.
As a member of the Diversity Charter, we promote a balanced gender ratio among our employees and an international workforce with broad experiences and levels of expertise. To promote diversity and equal opportunity, ZF offers a broad range of mentoring programs and career modules.
Protecting natural resources is the foundation of our globally valid environmental policy. Its essential areas of activity include climate protection, environmentally sustainable product design and improving the environmental footprint. To consistently pursue these goals, all of our locations are meanwhile certified according to the environmental management system ISO 14001. In addition, ZF applies the newest methods and technologies to reduce negative impacts on humans and nature. In product development, ZF relies on meticulously selecting materials and uses life cycle analyses to improve the design of products with every generation.
Since ZF manufactures products worldwide at 230 locations in 40 countries, the procurement and transport of components plays a major role in a sustainable value chain. In order to achieve positive effects, we rely on the strategy "local for local". We procure in the regions where materials or components are required. The resulting shortened transport routes help to preserve the environment and this "local" purchasing approach boosts the well-being of the local economy and community.
Moreover, ZF has also obligated its suppliers to take issues such as human rights and environmental protection seriously. The ZF SupplierAcademy is a training facility that offers its suppliers the opportunity to build on a broad range of skills and expertise and to deepen cooperation.
Corporate social responsibility is an integral part of ZF’s corporate culture. The Group and its employees are committed to numerous national and international projects, with an emphasis on education, community and art and culture. Also the company’s owners – the Zeppelin Foundation and the Dr. Jürgen und Irmgard Ulderup Foundation – support science and research, art and culture, children and youth projects, the education and training of young people as well as nature and land conservation.
In addition to international corporate volunteer activities under the umbrella initiative "we>care", ZF employees in Germany are generous when it comes to making financial donations, thus considerably supporting their local communities. To distribute funds donated by the employees so they have the greatest possible impact, the company founded the non-profit organization “ZF hilft.” in 2005.