Sustainability program

Materiality analysis

As the world’s leading provider of hearing solutions, Sonova has both a duty to act responsibly and an ability to make a positive impact on society. Our sustainability program aligns closely with our business strategy; its topics are reviewed both at the highest management level and regularly at meetings of the Board of Directors.

Identification and prioritization

At Sonova, material issues are those business, social, and environmental topics that either create significant value, cause potential risks, or have negative impacts for our internal and external stakeholders. Last year, we have further refined the materiality matrix produced in 2014/15. The picture below summarizes the sustainability landscape that underlies our sustainability program and shows how we intend to create value. The sustainability program encompasses our vision, our values and our commitments. All topics with high or medium impact from the 2014/15 materiality matrix appear in the current sustainability landscape, either as part of the four core commitments Sonova makes towards its stakeholders, or as part of our governance, risk, and compliance management.

Sustainability landscape

Our vision – the “why”

Our company’s vision is the motivation for our actions and provides the basis for our sustainability program. Over 15% of the world’s adults experience some degree of hearing loss, but very few are treated for it. At Sonova, our vision is straightforward: We foster a world in which all people equally enjoy the delight of hearing and live a life without limitations.

Our values – the “how”

The values describe how we interact with each other and how we do business. We help people hear the world by providing the most innovative technology, by dedicating ourselves to service, and by accepting responsibility for all of our actions. Our governance, risk, and compliance management further substantiate and formalize our values.

Our commitments – the “what”

The four commitments explain what we do to transform our vision into reality: we are creating value for our stakeholders by providing customer-focused solutions and expanding access to hearing care, we are doing business in a responsible manner by investing in our employees and partners, as well as by maximizing our eco-efficiency. We live up to our commitments through specific, defined fields of activity. The sustainability report is structured in terms of the commitments and provides information on the progress we made in each of these defined activities.

Customer-focused solutions

We continuously push the limits of technology and innovation to offer the best solutions to our customers.

Fields of activity

  • New products
  • eSolutions


We will continue to offer the broadest range of technologically advanced hearing solutions to our customers by substantially investing in R&D and by applying for a minimum of 40 patents each year.


  • Investment in expertise and training: We continuously strengthen the expertise of hundreds of engineers working in our R&D centers around the world to drive innovation in hearing aids, cochlear implants, wireless communication systems, and professional hearing care solutions.
  • Strong partnerships: We leverage the complementary strengths of all our business brands and foster know-how transfer through close collaboration with expert networks and universities around the globe.
  • eSolutions: We strategically focus on the development of eSolutions to establish one-to-one, real-time relationships with our customers.


Read about our achievements and progress in 2017/18 in the corresponding section of this CSR Report “Customer-focused solutions”.

Access to hearing care

We provide access to hearing care and improve the quality of life for millions of people with hearing loss.

Fields of activity

  • New markets
  • Hear the World Foundation


We aim to provide access to hearing care and improve the quality of life. By 2020, we want to conduct 14,000 hours of volunteer work for our Hear the World Foundation with Sonova employees.


  • Extensive product portfolio: At Sonova, we offer a wide range of performance and pricing levels, from standard to premium solutions.
  • Hearing care infrastructure: By developing new service formats and distribution channels and by supporting the education of local specialists, we can provide hearing care services and treatment to groups who are currently underserved.
  • Partnerships: By building productive partnerships and collaborations with local organizations, we can offer the fullest benefit of our skills and services to the people who need them.
  • Foundation: Affordable hearing care is still a challenge for people in countries with low-to-middle income and for underprivileged social groups in countries with high income. We cater to these groups through our charitable Hear the World Foundation.


Read about our achievements and progress in 2017/18 in the corresponding section of this CSR Report “Access to hearing care”.

Investment in people

We offer our employees a flexible and inclusive work environment and an open culture.

Fields of activity

  • Professional development
  • Body & Mind initiative
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Human rights & labor practices


We will fill at least half of all vacant leadership positions per year from inside the company.


  • Professional career development: We develop our employees to higher levels of success with a systematic talent management process including a strategic approach to training, succession, and career planning.
  • Employee engagement: We foster employee engagement through the group-wide Body & Mind initiative and a holistic Diversity & Inclusion strategy.
  • International labor standards: We conduct business and align our codes and principles according to internationally recognized standards of the United Nations (UN), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). All our employees, business partners, and suppliers are expected to comply with these standards.


Read about our achievements and progress in 2017/18 in the corresponding section of this CSR Report “Investment in people”.

Safeguarding the environment

We ensure eco-efficient practices across all our business activities.

Fields of activity

  • Environmental program
  • Smart Mobility


Sonova plans strong efforts to further improve our environmental performance with the following targets:

  • a 10% reduction from 2013/14 levels of production-related carbon emissions intensity by 2018/19
  • a 10% reduction from 2013/14 levels of air travel-related carbon emissions intensity by 2018/19
  • ensuring that 100% of purchase volume comes from suppliers having environmental friendly practices in place by 2018/19


  • Operational energy efficiency: We reduce our carbon footprint by fully utilizing capacity, renewing equipment, remodeling existing buildings, or moving to new buildings.
  • Alternative energy: We generate power using renewable sources and purchase green power.
  • Environmental management systems: We have established a ISO 14001-certified environmental management at all our key manufacturing and distribution centers and urge our suppliers to follow the same standard.


Read about our achievements and progress in 2017/18 in the corresponding section of this CSR Report “Safeguarding the environment”.


Our sustainability program aligns closely with our business strategy. The management board assesses the sustainability program for completeness and determines its significance to the organization’s economic, environmental, and social impact. Both the management board and the Board of Directors also regularly assesses the program in terms of effectiveness based on the yearly reporting.

Topic boundaries

The sustainability program is defined by its relevance to the whole Sonova Group and therefore all defined fields of activity are assumed to be material to all or nearly all of the entities covered by this report. Sonova assigns each field of activity to its appropriate stage or stages of the value-creation process, from raw material supply to after-sales refurbishing or recycling. Those aspects that are also or primarily material outside the organization relate to our supply chain (human rights and labor practices, environmental program) or to the utilization of our products and services (new products and markets, e-solutions, Hear the World Foundation).