see. think. act.
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Company Sustainability

Next Generation Sustainability

A balanced observation of social, ecological, and economic aspects is a matter of course for ZF as a foundation company. Thus, we have become one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers with over 100 years of experience that actively designs the mobility of the future.

As a globally active technology company, we take on responsibility along our entire value chain – for our employees and our locations, as well as in our supply chain and for our products. Thanks to intensive and focused investment in research and development, ZF promotes the topic of sustainable mobility in general.

ZF has been a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact since 2012. As part of this initiative, more than 13,000 organizations work toward ensuring a more sustainable future – by exchanging ideas and strategies and by engaging in cooperative measures. Over the past few years, we have been continuously working on our contribution toward ensuring sustainable development. Even so, everyone involved has to make enormous efforts to overcome the numerous environmental and social challenges with which they are confronted on their journey toward sustainable development.

This is why ZF has drawn up a climate strategy – ZF aims to be climate neutral by 2040 for all three scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This means that by 2040, all of the roughly 240 ZF locations will not generate any CO2 emissions either on their own or through the purchase of electricity (Scopes 1 and 2). By 2030, ZF aims to have reduced these CO2 emissions by 50 percent compared to 2018. At the same time, we will reduce emissions across our entire supply chain in order to minimize the environmental impact of our products (Scope 3). Please see the latest version of the ZF Sustainability Report 2019 for reports on further goals and our progress.

Responsibility in the supply chain

A large part of the added value comes from cooperating with our suppliers, including large corporations but also small family businesses. ZF thus relies on universal standards so as to ensure that the products are of a consistently high level of quality and can be delivered reliably. At the same time, we expect our business partners to respect and promote our values.

When it comes to the selection of raw materials and components, ZF uses a wide range of solutions that protect human rights and the environment and combine safe mobility and economic viability.

Environmental protection within the company

Conserving natural resources is the foundation of our global environmental strategy. The essential areas of activity include climate protection, reducing the effects of our production on the environment, and environmentally sustainable product design. In order to take a coherent approach toward pursuing this strategy, all of the locations have ISO 14001 energy management certification.

In addition, ZF applies the latest methods and technologies to reduce negative impacts on humans and the environment. In product development, ZF relies on the careful selection of materials and uses life cycle analyses to improve the ecological aspects of products with every generation.

As a longer service life makes a significant contribution toward the consumption of fewer resources, ZF has been focusing on the industrial reconditioning of used parts for many years now. ZF recognized early on that the recycling of products can save a great deal of energy and materials, and has expanded its capacities accordingly. Meanwhile, 15 ZF locations worldwide contribute on an industrial scale to reconditioning a wide range of vehicle components such as brakes, transmissions, steering systems or torque converters, and making them available in OE quality. This extends the service life of the products and therefore reduces the energy and resources required in comparison with producing a new component by up to 90 percent.

Product responsibility

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. In product development, ZF takes care to select materials carefully and to use life cycle analyses to improve the design of products with every generation.

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.

The existing product range helps to ensure environmental sustainability by reducing fuel consumption and therefore emissions, for example. In addition, ZF continues to adopt the integrated system solutions approach, is consistently driving forward the electrification of vehicles, is increasing the effectiveness of conventional transmissions, and is focusing on modular, hybrid-compatible transmission kits. With the EVplus, ZF shows that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) can be considered as genuine electric vehicles. This is because this model can drive distances of over 100 kilometers under real conditions and powered solely by electricity. With just one battery charge, most drivers will be able to travel to and from work as well as use the car in their day-to-day lives. The EVplus concept vehicle is based on a series-produced passenger car with an 8-gear plug-in hybrid transmission from ZF. The technology group also offers a wide range of hybrid and solely electric drive solutions for series production in almost every vehicle segment. This also includes mobility solutions such as autonomous electric shuttles for city centers.

Employees – ready for the future

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 for many years attached a great deal of importance to providing innovative and future-oriented training programs. Students come to ZF from numerous international university cooperations and programs.

In order to ensure that we have a sufficient number of skilled workers for the digital transformation, ZF is constantly providing its management staff and employees in every role within the company with further training. 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.

Helping and supporting people

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.

Current publications

Annual Report 2019

In the Annual Report, you will find important data and facts from the 2019 fiscal year.

Sustainability Report 2019

What does sustainability mean for ZF? The Sustainability Report provides the answer to this question.

Further Information

Added Value Through Sustainability

Sustainability plays an extremely important role in the ZF business model. After all, the Group’s products and innovations contribute to safer and greener mobility.

Powered by Sustainability

"Our products consume as little energy as possible”: that’s the ZF promise. The Group also ensures that sustainability is part of the manufacturing process.

EU OSHA Health Workplaces

ZF Friedrichshafen AG is an official campaign partner of the EU OSHAS Health Workplaces Campaign “Manage Dangerous Substances”.

Human Rights in the Supply Chain

Declaration of Principles Concerning the Respect of Human Rights: The respect of dignity and personal rights of every individual are the utmost priority for ZF.