Strategic areas

Protecting the planet

Sonova and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Through this strategic area, Sonova contributes to SDGs 6, 7, 9, 12, and 13. More information is provided in the corresponding section of this CR Report: Sustainable Development Goals.

We drive the transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon future of our operations throughout the lifecycle of our products and services.

Our approach

Commitment and policies

Sonova has made an explicit commitment to continuously promote and pursue environmentally friendly practices throughout the whole lifecycle of its products and across all its business activities. We set the priorities and provide the resources needed to reduce our environmental impact through responsible, efficient management of our buildings and infrastructure, processes, products, and services. Our environmental policy supports Sonova’s commitment to environmentally proactive behavior and describes the company’s environmental management organization and responsibilities.

Environmental management systems

As part of its strategy of continuous operational improvement, Sonova has established ISO 14001-certified environmental management systems at all its key manufacturing and distribution centers; these require employees to make sound environmental decisions when designing, manufacturing, and servicing products. For non-manufacturing sites, Sonova has adapted its environmental management system to ensure integration of environmental factors in decision-making and improvement in environmental performance. All key Sonova manufacturing and distribution centers are currently certified to the ISO 14001 standard:

  • Sonova AG and Advanced Bionics AG (Stäfa, Switzerland)
  • Phonak Communications AG (Murten, Switzerland)
  • Sonova Operations Center Vietnam Co., Ltd. (Binh Duong, Vietnam)
  • Sonova Hearing (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. (Suzhou, China)
  • Sonova USA Inc. manufacturing and distribution centers (Warrenville/Aurora, USA)
  • Advanced Bionics LLC (Valencia, USA)

Environmental goals and targets

Sonova’s new ESG Strategy, IntACT, sets ambitious targets that demonstrate our firm commitment to combating climate change and attaining environmental sustainability. Through energy savings and the transition to renewable energy, we will align our long-term carbon reduction targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aim to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

Sonova’s environmental program sets clearly defined goals and targets. We continuously monitor progress and optimize environmental performance across the Group. The five most important key environmental targets, current progress, and related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are outlined in the table below. All our environmental five-year targets have 2017 as the base year and 2022 as the target year. Most of the programs are on track to reach their targets and further measures have been taken where necessary. Sonova will be carbon-neutral across all its owned operations by the end of 2021.

Sonova 2022 key environmental targets and progress














2022 target








2017 base year

Energy and climate: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions1 relative to revenue by 50% (Key SDGs: 7, 9, 12, 13)


9.3 t CO2e per million CHF (-50% vs. base year)


11.3 t CO2e per million CHF (-39% vs. base year)


14.7 t CO2e per million CHF (-21.1% vs. base year)


16.4 t CO2e per million CHF (-11.7% vs. base year)


18.6 t CO2e per million CHF

Green procurement: Increase share of purchase volume from suppliers with certified environmental management system (EMS) to 75% (Key SDGs: 12, 13)











Materials: Zero 2 substances of very high concern (SVHC) in Sonova products (Key SDG: 12)











Waste: Increase recycling rate to 60% (Key SDG: 12)











Water: Reduce total water withdrawal per employee by 5% (Key SDG: 6)


17.3 m3/FTE (-5% vs. base year)


15.1 m3/FTE (-15% vs. base year)


18.1 m3/FTE (-0.3% vs. base year)


18.3 m3/FTE (+0.3% vs. base year)


18.2 m3/FTE

1Scope 1&2 + air-travel related Scope 3 emissions.

2Above the threshold level of 0.1% by weight according to REACH regulation.

Environmental legal compliance

Thanks to Sonova’s low risk exposure to environmental issues and its strict group-wide environmental management, no fines or non-monetary sanctions were levied against Sonova in 2020 and in previous years for noncompliance with environmental laws or regulations.

Energy and climate

Commitment and approach

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time: it requires prompt, effective action from governments, industries, and individuals. Sonova acknowledges its responsibility and is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. In 2020/21, Sonova set the target of becoming carbon-neutral in its own operations (Scope 1+2 emissions) by the end of 2021. We are also committed to further reduce our Scope 3 emissions across the value chain and set science-based long-term emission reduction targets in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aim to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Our strategy includes a steady increase in the energy efficiency of our operations, integrating environmentally friendly energy sourcing and on-site generation, and optimizing transportation and distribution logistics. Sonova has set up implementation initiatives that focus on our most energy-intensive facilities, while considering other sites that show potential for improvement.

Sonova strives to be trustworthy and transparent with all its stakeholders. We have therefore participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) since 2012. The results are publicly available and accessible on the CDP website. The CDP scoring level (Disclosure, Awareness, Management, Leadership) demonstrates a company’s level of environmental stewardship, and actions and approaches in managing climate change. In 2020, Sonova received a B management level ranking, recognizing our environmental transparency and climate change related actions.

We are committed to align our disclosures in this CR Report with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD recommends the use of scenario analysis to assess climate-related risks and opportunities and asks companies to report on the extent to which adequate governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets are in place to address climate issues.

Climate-related risks and opportunities

We recognize that climate-related risk and opportunities are a relevant topic for our business and that undertaking a TCFD-based scenario analysis is a key step to obtaining greater insight into these potential future risks and opportunities of climate change. It will enable us to adapt Sonova’s approach to strengthen our resilience to physical climate-related risks and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Sonova launched its initial TCFD assessment in 2021. The first task is to identify climate-related risks to which our operations and supply chain are vulnerable. Potential relevant physical risks are heatwaves, drought, heavy precipitation and sea level rise. Potentially relevant transition risks include policy, technology, and market risks. We will next perform a TCFD physical and transition climate change scenario analysis focusing on the climate-related risks we have identified. In this scenario analysis we will use a “business as usual” 4°C scenario (RCP 8.5) for assessing physical climate risks/opportunities and a “high-mitigation” below 2°C scenario (RCP 2.6, IEA SDS and IEA ETP) for assessing transition related climate risks/opportunities. These risks will be assessed for medium and long-term time horizons across the various geographic regions where Sonova operates. The findings will be used for continuous improvement of our strategic risk management process as well as internal and external reporting.


In 2020, the total energy consumption of the Sonova Group from heating (fuel oil, natural gas, district heating), electricity, and vehicle fuels (diesel, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, ethanol) amounted to 106,827 megawatt-hours (MWh). Of this total, 50,140 MWh can be attributed to the Wholesale business and 56,687 MWh to the Audiological Care business. The Wholesale business accounts for a higher proportion of electricity consumption because of the air conditioning systems necessary in operation centers in China, Vietnam, and the US. On the other hand, the Audiological Care business accounts for a higher proportion of heating because of a stronger presence in Europe, where cold winters make heating more relevant.

reduction of total energy consumption compared to 2017 (base year)

Compared to the previous year, total energy consumption reduced by 11% due to the COVID-19 related slowdown in production capacity and the temporary closure of certain facilities during regional lockdowns. Over the past three years, Sonova reduced its total energy consumption by 14%.

Energy consumption

(×) PwC CH





























Audiological Care1




Audiological Care1




Audiological Care1










































Vehicle fuels













1Extrapolation, only partial data available.

Energy intensity

(×) PwC CH

MWh relative to million CHF revenue














Total energy consumption (Scope 1 & 2)














Energy intensity







Sonova is committed to increasing the share of renewable energy in its total energy budget. In line with our GHG reduction target, we have set a target of 100% renewable electricity for all key manufacturing and distribution centers by 2022. Across the company, our target is to increase the share of renewable energy to 20% of total energy consumption by 2022. In 2020, 19,198 MWh of electricity came from renewable sources, representing an increase in the renewable energy share of total energy consumption from 12% to 18%, compared to 2019. A total of 570 MWh of our renewable electricity was generated by on-site photovoltaic panels at our locations in China and Murten, Switzerland. There are several projects planned for 2021/22 to build further photovoltaic panels across our operations.

Renewable energy

(×) PwC CH















Total energy consumption







Non-renewable energy consumption







Renewable energy consumption







Share of renewable energy







Greenhouse gas emissions

By 2022, Sonova aims to achieve a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in relation to revenues compared to the base year of 2017. The GHG total for our target comprises Scope 1, 2, and air-travel related Scope 3 emissions. In 2020, the GHG emissions intensity further declined by 23% from 14.7 to 11.3 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (t CO2e) per million CHF revenues, compared to 2019. This results in a total reduction of GHG emissions intensity by 39% compared to 2017 levels, keeping us on track to achieve our 2022 target. The main reason for this large drop in GHG emissions was largely due to the impact of COVID-19 on our operations and business practices.

We have set the target to achieve carbon neutrality across our own operations by the end of 2021. We aim to achieve this by reducing our energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy sources, and offsetting unavoidable emissions. For the latter, we collaborate with an external partner to ensure that we invest only in high quality, certified carbon offsetting projects.

reduction of total absolute Scope 1-3 greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2017 (base year)

Total Scope 1, 2, and 3 absolute greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 amounted to 63,058 t CO2e, a reduction of 17% compared to the previous year (75,868 t CO2e) and a reduction of 23% compared to 2017 (82,243 t CO2e). The majority of Sonovaʼs GHG emissions are Scope 3 emissions (59% in 2020).

GHG emissions – Scope 1 – 3

(×) PwC CH

t CO2e














Total Scope 1 – 3







Scope 1







Scope 2







Scope 3







Sonova Group’s absolute carbon footprint of Scope 1 and 2 emissions for 2020 amounted to 26,145 t CO2e, down by 9.5% from the previous year’s emissions of 32,119 t CO2e. The main reason (other than the impact of COVID-19) for the absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions is the increased use of renewable electricity in our Wholesale business, as well as group-wide efforts to improve energy efficiency in our infrastructure and production processes. Sonova Group companies continued to develop local carbon footprint reduction measures to collectively reach the 2022 environmental targets. Examples include the replacement of conventional lighting with LED technology across multiple Group companies, the improvement of building automation and optimizing electricity use for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at our operation centers in Vietnam and China, and electricity use reduction programs which cover the data center, manufacturing, and offices at Advanced Bionics headquarters in Valencia, California.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – Scope 1+2

(×) PwC CH

t CO2e




























Audiological Care1




Audiological Care1




Audiological Care1



Total Scope 1+2













Scope 1













Scope 2













1Extrapolation, only partial data available.

We also take energy efficiency and carbon reduction into account when renovating existing buildings and constructing new ones. For example, our new Wireless Competence Center in Murten, Switzerland, completed in 2020, is one of the first net-zero office buildings in Switzerland and consumes minimal energy. It was built using mainly renewable and reusable materials, so that construction-related grey energy could be minimized. The building largely regulates itself by absorbing heat and releasing it again when it gets colder outside. The building’s photovoltaic array generates 260 MWh of energy per year, which is a higher amount of renewable and carbon-neutral electricity than is required to run it. This surplus capacity is fed back into the grid and made available to other consumers.

Several Sonova Group companies, e.g. in the UK and Canada, have initiated local cross-functional environmental working groups, which meet regularly, drive local action and increase awareness on environmental topics.

In 2020, we have disclosed Scope 3 emissions for three categories: upstream transportation and distribution (17,471 t CO2e), business travel (3,146 t CO2e), and employee commuting (16,296 t CO2e), which amounts to total Scope 3 emissions of 36,914 t CO2e. Throughout 2021/22, we will conduct a full Scope 3 screening to determine other potentially relevant Scope 3 emissions for Sonova to enhance the accuracy of our baseline for setting science-based reduction targets.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – Scope 3

(×) PwC CH

t CO2e














Total Scope 3







Upstream transportation and distribution







Business travel







Employee commuting







1Studies to gauge emissions from upstream transportation and distribution, as well as employee commuting, are based on values from the 2017 study and survey.

Business-related air travel

Sonova is a global company: business-related air travel cannot be fully avoided and is at times required to maintain and improve operations, as well as to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders. However, we are committed to reduce our carbon emissions from business-related air travel by systematically using information and communications technology to substitute for air travel. In 2020, the carbon emissions from business-related air travel on a group-wide basis declined sharply by 70% compared to the previous year (2019: 10,648 t CO2e), down to 3,146 t CO2e. Sonova’s stringent travel restrictions during the pandemic accelerated the uptake of video conferencing and other technologies. With the anticipated opening of international borders, an increase in air-travel related emissions is expected, however, we remain committed to continue our strict enforcement of travel policies and the continued use of web-conferencing tools.

Corporate car fleet

The total CO2e footprint of Sonova’s owned and leased corporate car fleet in 2020 is around 5,196 t CO2e in 2020, which represents a reduction of 17% compared with 2019 emissions of 6,259 t CO2e. This decrease is mostly due to a fleet-wide reduction in distance driven stemming from COVID-19 related restrictions. Part of our strategy to reduce emissions is to electrify our car fleet over the coming years. To drive the transition towards less polluting vehicles such as electric, hydrogen or hybrid cars, we adjusted Sonova’s global car policy in 2020/21 and introduced a stricter CO2 limit for new cars.

Employee commuting

In 2020, Sonova conducted a global employee commuting survey, which showed a reduction of 24% in GHG emission from employee commuting since the last global survey carried out in 2017  (21,558 t CO2e), amounting to 16,296 t CO2e. This reduction in emissions, like that from the corporate car fleet, is strongly linked to COVID-19 and its ‘working from home’ implications. Our survey shows that COVID-19 measures accounted for a reduction of roughly 30%, and that our CO2e emissions would have been around 23,171 t CO2e.

As the availability of public transport differs across countries, Sonova’s initiatives to promote environmentally friendly commuting are influenced by the local infrastructure. The headquarters in Stäfa established an integral mobility program which provides incentives to use public transport, accompanied by targeted awareness campaigns. This initiative started in 2006 and increased the proportion of employees who commute using public transportation, by foot, or by bike substantially. The target for 2025 is to achieve a share of 67% by further strengthening the mobility program. In 2019, Sonova France also launched a mobility program, with elements including installation of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) and financial incentives for using public transport. Since the uptake of electric and hybrid cars is projected to increase over the next years, further EV charging stations were installed across several Group companies, e.g. in Vietnam, the US, and Switzerland, to encourage employees to follow this positive trend. To reward environment-friendly commuting at our operations center in Vietnam, Sonova will build motorbike charging stations in 2021/22, where local employees will be able to charge their e-motorbikes without cost using on-site generated solar energy.

Upstream transportation and distribution

In product distribution, air freight is clearly the dominant contributor to Sonova’s carbon footprint, accounting for around 98% of relevant CO2e emissions. Based on a study conducted in 2020, the total GHG emissions from upstream transportation and distribution are estimated at 17,471 t CO2e. This includes the transport GHG emissions arising from the supplier’s facilities to our operation centers, our operation centers to our distribution centers, and from our distribution centers to retail stores (own and third parties). Compared to the study in 2017, Sonova’s carbon footprint from this source appears to have increased by 51%. The main reason for this substantial increase, however, is the increase in data coverage and improved data quality. For instance, unlike the 2017 study, the 2020 transportation data includes for the first time product returns and repairs for specific locations.

Sonova is committed to reduce its GHG footprint from upstream transportation and distribution and to switch to lower-polluting modes of transportation where this is feasible, such as the switch from domestic air freight to road or the change to sea freight for goods that are heavier in weight and less time-critical. In 2020, Sonova has switched some shipments from air freight to sea freight, thereby generating CO2e savings estimated at around 1,400 t CO2e. We are also working towards further reductions of packaging weight and volume. Furthermore, we are revisiting our global sourcing and distribution network with the aim to move towards more regional sourcing to reduce distances for transportation and distribution.

Eco-friendly products

Sonova is committed to minimizing the impact on the environment and human health of its products and packaging throughout their entire life cycle, and to fostering the transition toward a more circular economy. Our global environmental initiatives cover all the life-cycle stages from product design, to procurement and manufacturing, packaging and distribution, consumer use, and end-of-life.

Product design

Sonova aims to reduce the use of hazardous substances, avoid other environmental risks, minimize consumption of resources, and design for recycling and easy end-of-life treatment. As part of this endeavor, Sonova performs Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of selected products.

Through new approaches in product design, we aim to shrink the size of products and reduce material use. One example is RogerDirect™, introduced in 2019. Since 2013, Roger™ wireless communication technology has bridged the understanding gap in loud noise and over distance by transmitting a speaker’s voice directly to the listener. Before RogerDirect™, hearing aid wearers had to plug an extra component into their hearing aids or use an intermediary streamer to receive the Roger signal. New devices equipped with RogerDirect™, such as this year’s Naída Paradise, enable a broader range of hearing solutions without extra components, significantly decreasing their size.

As a medical device manufacturer, the Sonova Group takes a proactive approach to evaluating materials in its products and components to assess environmental, health, or safety risks. Sonova may restrict substances because of customer or legal requirements, or because the company believes it is appropriate, based on a precautionary approach. Evaluating alternative materials is a continuous process, relevant to all stages of production.

The main materials used in Sonova products are polymers (e.g. nylon, silicone, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic polymers), metals (steel, titanium, tin), and semimetals (e.g. silicon). Sonova complies with the EU directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS 2015/863/EU), which governs the use of heavy metals and halogenated compounds in electrical and electronic equipment, and with the EU’s regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH EC 1907/2006) for the safe manufacture and use of chemical substances throughout their life cycle. Sonova’s suppliers are also required to prove their compliance with the RoHS directive and the REACH regulation in their respective processes and supply chains.

In accordance with REACH regulation, Sonova continuously updates the list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) that may be present in its products above the regulatory threshold level of 0.1% by weight of the article. This list is made publicly available on the Phonak website. By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, there were four SVHC substances requiring communication in accordance with the REACH regulation: DEHP, 1,3-propanesultone, lead titanium trioxide, and lead. It is our target to have zero SVHC present in Sonova products above the 0.1% threshold level by 2022. In 2020/21, we initiated further process improvements aiming at reducing the number of SVHCs, e.g. enhanced testing of new products – including packaging – as part of the product launch process, and structured and regular review of the SVHC candidate list to assess the impact on new and existing products

Other substances classified as hazardous – but excluded from the RoHS directive – include solder paste and wire, paint, organic solvents, oil emulsions, mineral oil, and water-based cleaning solution. Employees who work with chemicals and hazardous substances, or come into contact with them, are regularly trained in their safe handling.

Procurement and manufacturing

We insist on environmentally friendly business practices throughout our supply chain: we do not restrict our environmental standards to our own operations, but consider them equally crucial in selecting our suppliers. The Sonova Group Supplier Principles recommend that suppliers use the international ISO 14001 standard as the starting point and basis for their work. All new suppliers are screened using environmental criteria. In 2020, we achieved our 2022 goal – to increase the share of our purchase volume from suppliers with certified environmental management systems (EMS) to 75% - ahead of schedule (2019: 72%). Due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions, this year’s assessment was based solely on desk research and did not involve internal or external audits and visits. However, based on our previous supplier visits and assessments, the percentage of suppliers actively using an environmental management system and complying with certain environmental standards (with or without certification) is even higher: above 90% of Sonova’s purchase volume.

EMS-certified suppliers

(×) PwC CH

% of total purchase volume (CHF)














Supplier with certified EMS







Sonova has been advancing the industrial use of 3D printing technology for many years: at the beginning of the millennium, Sonova was one of the first companies to start digitally producing custom shells for In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids and earpieces. Today, we print hundreds of thousands of custom-made products every year, such as the Virto™ M-Titanium, combining the strength and lightness of titanium with the versatility of 3D printing to produce Phonak’s smallest custom ITE hearing aid – and saving material with a shell that is thinner than traditional custom shells.

Packaging and distribution

purchase volume from suppliers with certified environmental management systems

We continuously strive to further reduce the amount of waste we generate, and the carbon footprint of our product packaging and transportation. Our SLIM packaging project aims at a substantial reduction in the packaging size and weight of selected hearing aids, along with the number of hard cases. In 2019, we implemented a SLIM packaging solution that reduces packaging materials volume and carbon footprint by almost 40% per shipped pair compared to the previous packaging concept, as revealed by an internal comparative screening life cycle analysis. The largest climate change impact from our packaging arises in the transportation phase. Since the SLIM packaging is lighter, the impact from transport is significantly lower.

During 2020/21, Sonova set a new 2023 target to reduce packaging waste by 20% in terms of weight from a 2020 baseline.

Consumer use

An important research and development task is improving product energy efficiency during use. We also provide a broad range of repair and refurbishment services to lengthen the life cycle of our products and their components.

Since 2018, we have continuously increased the proportion of products that are based on our proprietary SWORD™ (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital) chip – a low-voltage radio chip with the lowest power consumption of any hearing aid using Bluetooth®1 Classic.

Since 2016, Sonova’s Phonak, Unitron, and Hansaton brands have continuously expanded their portfolios of hearing aids with a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Our increasing focus on rechargeable hearing solutions helps us to reduce the use of disposable batteries. Advanced Bionics also offers rechargeable battery options for cochlear implant sound processors.

  1. The Bluetooth® word mark is a registered trademark owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Sonova AG is under license.

Product end-of-life

Sonova complies with the EU directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which requires such equipment to be returned to the manufacturer for recycling or environmentally friendly disposal.

Sonova Group companies in the Audiological Care business offer different battery collection programs, in which customers can bring their used hearing aid batteries back to the store or take home a box, collect their batteries and bring them back to the store for recycling. The batteries collected are forwarded and disposed of through officially authorized disposal agents. In 2020, approximately three metric tons of batteries were collected at different stores worldwide. One example is the battery collection initiative of Connect Hearing Canada, where customers can collect their used hearing aid batteries in “The Little Green Box” and return them to the clinic for recycling once the box is full.


For Sonova, dealing with materials sustainably means avoiding or reducing waste wherever possible, collecting recyclables separately, and disposing of hazardous waste in environmentally compatible ways. Our 5-year target from 2017 to 2022 is to increase the recycling rate to 60% through group-wide efforts to reduce waste, improve waste separation, and foster recycling. As part of IntACT, our new ESG Strategy, we raised our 2023 targets not only to increase our operational waste recycling rate but to reduce by 20% our product and transportation packaging waste by weight, compared to our 2020 baseline.

of total waste recycled

In 2020, the recycling rate remained stable at 53%, We reduced the amount of total waste by 8% compared to the previous year, which is in line with the reduction in production volume. Recycling waste decreased by roughly 7% compared to the previous year, to 1,063 metric tons. Solid waste sent to disposal, such as municipal solid waste or material left over from manufacturing processes, decreased by 101 metric tons to 894 metric tons.

Sonova complies with legal requirements to transport and dispose of hazardous waste solely through officially authorized disposal agents. The main categories of hazardous waste substances are solvents, oil emulsions, paints, adhesives, soldering paste, filters, petroleum, and washing fluids. The amount of hazardous waste was slightly reduced in 2020 to 37 metric tons.


metric tons














Total waste







Non-hazardous waste







Hazardous waste







Recycling waste







Recycling rate








Sonova uses water provided by utilities primarily for sanitary services and kitchen and garden areas. Our manufacturing processes do not require significant amounts of water. In our environmental program we therefore mainly focus on conserving water in our office buildings, e.g. with low-volume water equipment in restrooms.

Sonova takes a systematic approach to managing ESG risks, both in its supply chain and in its own operations. Risks related to water are reviewed and assessed together with all other business risks. In the 2020/21 financial year, Sonova conducted a basic physical water risk analysis on the geographic water-catchment area (basin level) for its major production and manufacturing sites, using the WWF’s Water Risk Filter tool. The analysis revealed that the majority of sites are not located in water stressed regions.

The sources of all water withdrawn are municipal water supplies or other public or private water utilities. Compared to 2019, water consumption at Group level dropped by 19% from 139,707m3 to 112,589 m3. This significant reduction is mainly related to Covid-19 containment measures such as increased home working and regional lockdowns in several countries. Compared to 2017, when water consumption per employee was 17.8m3, our target for 2022 was to reduce our water consumption by 5% to 17.3m3. Our water consumption per employee has currently decreased by 15% compared to the 2017 baseline, but is expected to rise again as business returns to normal. Despite this anticipated upturn, we are committed to further intensifying measures to achieve our 2022 target.

Sonova returns water to the sewage system without contamination. The company has experienced no spills from operating processes or other instances of water contamination.

Water use















Total municipal water supply







Municipal water supply per full-time employee (FTE)








Sonova’s global activities, products, and services have a limited direct or indirect impact on biological diversity and natural ecosystems, such as loss of biodiversity, destruction of natural habitats, and deforestation.

Environmental reporting and system boundaries

Sonova’s environmental data monitoring and reporting includes energy consumption, CO2e footprint, materials, waste disposal, and water consumption and is based on the calendar year. The company reports and discusses environmental performance to the limits of the available data. Actual data was collected whenever possible, and estimated if data collection was not feasible given the decentralized organizational structure of these businesses and their small, often rented facilities.

The tables in the section ‘Protecting the planet’ show environmental data from Sonova Group companies that operate as headquarters, manufacturing sites, or wholesale distributors, as well as Group companies with audiological care activities. CO2e footprint and energy consumption data are provided for all entities in the 2020 environmental data reporting. Waste and water data were collected for all Group companies that operate as headquarters, key manufacturing and distribution centers, or larger wholesale distributors. For Group companies with only audiological care activities, waste and water data are only monitored where feasible and not included in this report. Overall, the entities covered in the waste and water data reporting account for 51% of Sonova’s global employees.

Sonova’s environmental management system monitors greenhouse gas emissions arising from its consumption of electricity, heating oil, natural gas, district heating, and vehicle fuels such as diesel and gasoline. The company measures its carbon footprint using country-specific grid emission factors and, if available, specific emission factors provided by energy utilities. Scope 2 emissions were calculated using the ‘market-based’ approach in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. When reported according to the ‘location-basedʼ approach, the Scope 2 emissions were 21,202 t CO2e. Sonova purchased 11,647 MWh as renewable energy certificates (RECs), which were accounted for under the market-based approach for Scope 2. The measurement methodology and reporting format for the carbon footprint are based on the standards and guidance of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Sonova followed the financial control consolidation approach for setting organizational boundaries. Key emission factor sources for calculating greenhouse gas emissions include the International Energy Agency (IEA) for electricity and the UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting for other emissions sources. Global warming potentials from the IPCC’s fourth assessment report (AR4) were applied to calculate CO2 equivalents. Relevant gases included are CO2, CH4, and N2O.

Sonova differentiates between direct emissions (Scope 1) deriving from sources such as burning natural gas or vehicle fuels, indirect emissions (Scope 2) from sources such as using electricity, and indirect emissions (Scope 3) from upstream transportation and distribution, business travel, and employee commuting. For the car fleet and air travel data, all Sonova Group companies were taken into account.