see. think. act.
Acting now. Acting now.

Acting now.


How ZF Thinks and Acts Sustainably

Clear targets, concrete action

Sustainability is an integral part of ZF Group strategy. Its targets include complete climate neutrality by 2040 and an 80-percent reduction in CO2 emissions at ZF facilities by 2030 (relative to 2019). We want to achieve this without using carbon offsets.

However, sustainability means far more to us than climate protection. The United Nations has defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are political targets that serve sustainable development worldwide on an economic, social and ecological level.

ZF has identified eight of these targets to which the company is able to make a relevant contribution. This means either through minimizing consequences or by developing new technical solutions with positive effects. Our focus is on Climate and Nature, People and Enduring Values.

Climate and Nature

  • Emissions reduction throughout the supply chain
  • Use and production of electricity from renewable sources

Climate and Nature

  • Use of recycled materials for ZF products
  • Electrification of the ZF product range


  • Responsibility for the ZF community
  • The very highest standards of health, wellbeing and safety at work


  • Respect for and commitment to diversity and equal rights
  • Empower and develop our workforce


  • Respect for human rights
  • Fair working conditions, equal rights and fair pay along the entire supply chain

Lasting Values

  • Transparent and ethical business practices
  • Reliable partnerships

Lasting Values

  • Enduring values through the pursuit of sustainability
  • Resilient structures and continual improvement

Sustainability and Responsibility

„Our actions and our resolute approach are decisive“

Acting sustainably means first and foremost taking responsibility. Sustainability is an integral part of the ZF Group’s “Next Generation Mobility” strategy. Chief Human Resources Officer Sabine Jaskula explains in an interview how ZF will establish this as a USP.

Ms. Jaskula, establishing sustainability as a unique selling proposition is going to be complicated, not least because it’s on virtually everybody’s agenda. Can ZF stand out clearly from its rivals with this approach?
"Absolutely – thanks to our clear objectives, ambitious timetable and resolute action. ZF has been committed to sustainability in many areas for a long time. We believe firmly that our actions and our resolute approach are decisive for future generations, for our planet and, of course, for our success as a company. ZF employees, our customers and partners, the public and the government clearly expect us to act now. In order to reflect our determination, we called our sustainability approach Acting now. Sustainability@ZF.
To integrate this topic even more into the company’s DNA, ZF launched a sustainability campaign under this banner. It aims to further raise awareness of sustainability in the company and inspire each and every employee to contribute to sustainability at ZF. The ZF Way principles essentially underpin all of this."
Sabine Jaskula Member of the Board of Management, responsible for sustainability
Read the complete interview

What about sustainability activities aimed at “people” and ZF’s social responsibility?
Respect for human rights has always been hugely important to us. Incidentally, it was one of the reasons we signed up to the UN Global Compact in 2012. We respect everyone involved in the value-added process. We believe that diversity, equal opportunities, inclusion and equal rights are core values that we embrace passionately in tune with the ZF Way. Just as we do when it comes to the involvement and development of our employees. ZF adheres to the highest standards of health and safety at work and we are committed to good working conditions and fair pay – not just at ZF but along the value-added chain. In other words, we are actively accountable for everyone in the ZF community as a whole. In our experience, this aspect of sustainability, dealing with people, is increasingly important in ZF’s attractiveness as an employer.
The third aspect in your sustainability strategy is “Acting for lasting values” – how important is this topic for ZF’s market positioning?
Tremendously important. For ZF, sustainability not only means complying with standards and regulations. For us, sustainability also means that we are and will remain a reliable, ethical business partner. It also means that where we’re not good enough at present, we are going to create efficient, robust structures and continually improve. In addition, we’re constantly striving to increase transparency and engage in regular dialog with our stakeholders. Consistent values that we create through our focus on sustainability are essential for future generations and will allow us to shape the mobility of the future.
Sustainability affects us all to some extent, and each and every one of us can help to think and act more sustainably. At the ZF Excellence Award, employees submit outstanding projects to share their own ideas and experiences with the entire ZF community – and, of course, to win the coveted Excellence Award. In 2021, the Group-wide award established the new “Sustainability” category to emphasize the importance of this issue and to encourage ZF employees to embrace sustainability. Competing for the awards were successful projects that brought to the table a slew of improvements and solutions. ZF colleagues at the Mexican location in Chihuahua scooped the award. They developed a system that reduces the disposable plastic film used for transportation by 30 tons a year, lessening the environmental impact in the process.
We are drowning in disposable plastic products. Many of them are used for just a few hours, or even minutes in some cases – but once in the environment, they stay there for hundreds of years. Disposable plastic films were also used at ZF in Chihuahua as transport packaging for short-distance consignments – but ZF colleagues have now developed a sustainable alternative. The team looked at all the materials and resources available in the plant and finally developed reusable transport packaging made from seat belts and fabric from old airbags – material that would otherwise have ended up as waste. This innovative packaging secures and protects the cargo just as well as the disposable film used to. And it significantly reduces the amount of waste.
"We are actively accountable for everyone in the ZF community as a whole."
Sabine Jaskula, Chief Human Resources Officer

Sustainability worldwide

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.

Annual Report 2021: Sustainability

In the Annual Report, you will find important data and facts about sustainability.After the ZF Sustainability Report was published as a separate report in previous years, it is now part of the ZF Annual Report for the reporting year 2021. The report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI standards: Core option. The GRI content index is available for download here.

Further measures for more sustainability

Climate Strategy

Climate protection has become one of the most urgent issues of our time. ZF has adopted a correspondingly ambitious climate strategy, with the objective of achieving climate neutrality across all emission categories by 2040. Production-related emissions are to be reduced by 80% by 2030 as compared to 2019. In the year under review and in connection with the Sustainability Ambition Initiative, 2019 was agreed on as the base year to be used. At the same time, ZF is working on reducing the emissions along its entire supply chain and on minimizing the environmental impact of its products.

The Group’s target path towards climate neutrality is defined in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Program) and the Taskforce on Climaterelated Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The SBTi validation of the ZF climate goals ensures that these are consistent and robust and comply with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) and the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Partnership for Climate Protection

The entire industry still has a long way to go before fully rising to meet the many ecological and social challenges of sustainable development. The complexity of these challenges means they cannot be solved by individual companies but only through collaboration and partnerships. To underline its engagement in this field, ZF has joined the CEO Climate Leaders initiative of the World Economic Forum. Its position is that the private sector must take responsibility and actively engage in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby helping to shape the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resistant economy. The members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders pledge to

  • publish their emissions data, ideally via CDP;
  • publicly lay down a net zero target for 2050 at the latest, which implies their commitment to a 1.5 to 2 degree Celcius compliant reduction path for all areas of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (Scopes 1, 2, 3) including an emission reduction target for 2030 in line with this path, and
  • report their progress in terms of emission reduction goals.

Beyond this, the Alliance is implementing the TCFD recommendations regarding disclosing climate related data and ensuring that the guidelines for effective controlling climate risks are implemented and monitored by the company management.

Guidelines, Principles, and Management Systems

At ZF, questions of sustainable governance are firmly anchored in the company guidelines. More than just part of every individual’s behavior, they’re a central aspect of all business activities in every day’s decision processes. Yet sustainability can-not simply be dictated from the top down – it must be filled with life throughout the entire organization. EHS management as a longstanding globally established approach has served ZF as its basis for this and has been implemented at all ZF locations.

Guidelines such as the principles of social responsibility, environmental policy, respect for human rights policy statement and the code of conduct for employees serve as guardrails worldwide. Step by step over the past two years, the Group has further developed its ZF Enterprise Risk Management. This included defining and regulating clear roles and responsibilities along with Group-wide standardized risk management processes. A further significant addition to the reviewed Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an integrated governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) approach, characterized by improved interfaces between control systems, compliance, corporate audit and corporate risk management. As part of the Group’s ISO 14001 certified environmental management system, the respective risks and opportunities are evaluated at both the location and the Group level and reported as part of the management review.

Organizational Anchoring of Sustainability

The Sustainability Department reports to the Sustainability, Environment, Health and Safety Function which is assigned to the Board Function Human Resources, Legal and Compliance. In the year under review, the implementation of a multi-level sustainability organization was continued across all divisions, regions and major global domain functions. The Sustainability Department is responsible for the development of the Group-wide sustainability strategy and for non-financial reporting. It represents the contact point for all questions about sustainability and steers the stakeholder dialogue. In addition, the department is also responsible for individual topics, such as the climate strategy or human rights due diligence. In the coordination of sustainability topics in the company, the Sustainability Department is supported by a cross-functional steering committee.

Cleaner Mobility

With its Next Generation Mobility strategy, ZF pursues a global approach to achieve cleaner mobility. ZF’s medium-term goal is to significantly lower mobilityrelated carbon emissions and specific product-related emissions. The specific target defined in this connection is to implement a 40% reduction of Scope 3 emissions (in CO2 equivalents per sales) by 2030 compared to 2019.

Both the Product Development / Engineering and the Purchasing / Supply Chain departments are jointly responsible for this product-related goal. Key performance indicators (KPIs) include:

  • Product-related CO2e reduction
  • Product carbon footprints

In this connection, ZF focuses on the following three key areas:

  • Reduction of resource consumption by focusing on process efficiency at suppliers and ZF-owned companies
  • Increased use of recycled materials
  • Expansion of ZF’s range of remanufactured products

One focus for reducing product-related emissions is the increased use of materials with a higher recycling material share. To contribute to a circular economy and achieve the long-term goal of climate-neutral products, ZF analyzed all material classes with regard to overall volumes and the corresponding share of recycled materials in 2021. Based on this analysis, technological measures were developed to increase the share of recycled materials. Their applicability to ZF products was then evaluated. As a result, ZF now has an action roadmap for materials that also indicates the corresponding profit relevance.

Furthermore, ZF participates in various projects aimed at promoting the circular economy. Among other activities, studies on the impact of the use of polymer recyclates on the performance of oil pans were carried out. The promising results led to the launch of an extensive basic development project in 2021 aimed at investigating the usability of a wide range of polymers from various recycling routes for ZF products. This study focuses on both materials from in-house production, such as production scrap, and post-consumer materials. Further increasing recyclate content in metal alloys was the focus of another extensive development project launched at the end of 2021. Both projects require the use of large capacities and intensive cooperation with the suppliers and will have a minimum term of two years.

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 "Lighten the Load".

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.