Sonova ESG Report 2021/22

IntACT – Sonova’s ESG strategy

Sonova’s purpose is inherently social: With our hearing solutions we improve the lives of millions of people. Beyond serving our consumers, we aspire to create benefits for the economy, the environment, and society as a whole.

Vision, values, and culture

Sonova’s vision is straightforward and motivates all our activities: We envision a world where everyone enjoys the delight of hearing and therefore lives a life without limitations. Our core values are shared throughout the organization. They drive our daily actions and reflect the corporate culture that defines and unites us as a company across all brands and regions.

  • We care: We care for our employees, customers, and consumers, as well as our shareholders and society.
  • We drive innovation: We courageously pioneer new ideas and approaches to come up with impactful innovations, to delight customers and consumers.
  • We strive for excellence: We act with agility. We aim to excel. We are continuously working on improving products, services, processes, and skills, to realize growth.
  • We take accountability: We deliver on our commitments. We take accountability to provide outcomes in agreed quality and time, always acting with integrity.
  • We build the best team: We team up. We grow talent. We collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds to win with the best team in the marketplace.

Our commitment to act responsibly and create long-term value for all our stakeholders is embodied in the Sonova Group Code of Conduct and is deeply rooted in our corporate vision, values, and culture.

ESG strategy and targets

Sonova’s ESG commitments are made clear by IntACT, our ESG strategy. It builds on four key areas: protecting the planet, serving society, advancing our people, and acting with integrity. The name IntACT emphasizes the ultimate goal – keeping our planet and people intact – and underlines the urgent need to ACT.

  • Protecting the planet: We drive the transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon future of our operations throughout the lifecycle of our products and services.
  • Serving society: We constantly innovate in hearing health care, improve access for people in under-served areas, and engage actively with our communities.
  • Advancing our people: We foster our employees’ development, well-being, and engagement in an inclusive work environment that embraces diversity.
  • Acting with integrity: We behave ethically and apply the highest quality and safety standards to everything we do.

Tangible and measurable performance indicators and targets with firm dates for achievement are an important element of our sustainability management approach. In the table below you find an overview of our key targets and progress covering the four areas of our ESG strategy. More information on performance indicators, goals and targets, policies, processes, programs and actions is provided in the corresponding sections of this ESG Report:

Progress on key ESG targets








ESG target


ESG topic




2021/22 performance

Protecting the planet







We reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to revenue by 50% compared to 2017 by 2022. 1


Energy & climate


Achieved ahead of target year


-77% CO 2 e emissions relative to revenue vs. base year 2017

We achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2021.


Energy & climate




Carbon-neutrality achieved for own operations (Scope 1+2 emissions).

We assess the potential effects of climate change on Sonova and define actions to improve our climate resilience by 2021.


Energy & climate




Pilot climate risk analysis & enhanced TCFD reporting, first actions defined

We reduce packaging waste by 20% vs. 2019 by 2023.


Eco-friendly products


Behind schedule


10.4% packaging increase vs. base year 2019

Serving society







We increase unit sales of hearing instruments in low- and middle-income countries by 50% vs. 2018/19 by 2023/24.


Access to hearing care


On track


44.1% increase vs. base year 2018/19

We train and certify 250 hearing care professionals (HCPs) in low- and middle-income countries through the Swiss International Hearing Academy (SIHA) 12-month HCP program by 2022/23.


Access to hearing care


Behind schedule


84 HCPs trained and certified in 2021/22

We increase lives impacted by the Hear the World Foundation (HTWF) by 10% year-over-year – focusing on children with hearing loss in low- and middle-income countries.


Access to hearing care




201% increase (2,260 fitted devices vs. 750 in previous year)

Advancing our people







We achieve the employee engagement rate level of high performing companies by 2022/23.


Talent & employee engagement


Behind schedule


83% engagement vs. 88% benchmark

We aim for >95% of employees to have a development plan by 2022/23. 2


Talent & employee engagement


Achieved ahead of target year


97.4% employees with development plan

We strive for 40% women in key positions by 2025/26.


Diversity & inclusion


On track


Increase from 33.5% in previous year to 35.2%

We train >95% of employees on D&I by mid 2021.


Diversity & inclusion




95.2% of employees trained

Acting with integrity







We improve the product reliability rate >20% year-over-year for hearing instruments (HI) and cochlear implants (CI). 3


Product quality, safety and reliability


Not achieved


CI reliability rate improved by 19%/HI reliability rate worsened by 3%

We implement human rights due diligence (HRDD) aligned with international frameworks and train all relevant employees by 2022/23.


Human rights & labor practices


On track


Human rights impact assessment conducted (social audit); People Policy launched

We achieve annual on-time mandatory employee Global Compliance training completion rate of >98%. 4


Business ethics & legal compliance


Not achieved


86% on-time completion (95.9% overall completion)

We establish a digital ethics committee by 2021/22.


Data privacy & digital ethics




Digital ethics committee established

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

2) Excluding job roles in production/assembly.

3) The HI product reliability rate includes Receiver-In-Canal (RIC), Custom In-The-Ear (ITE) and Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing instruments. The CI product reliability includes Naìda pediatric and adult processors/externals.

4) For the coming financial year 2022/23, the target will be adjusted from >98% to >95%.

ESG governance

The governing body overseeing our ESG activities is Sonova’s ESG Council. It consists of the Group CEO, CFO, GVP Operations, GVP Human Resources Management & Communications, Group General Counsel & Compliance Officer, and the Corporate Responsibility team. In its quarterly meetings the Council’s responsibility is to oversee the development and implementation of the Group’s ESG strategy, including its commitments and targets, and to monitor progress on ESG key performance indicators and initiatives. The full Management Board also regularly reviews progress on ESG targets, which comprise an element of each member’s variable cash compensation.

The role of Sonova’s Corporate Responsibility team is to provide expertise and advice to the Management Board on relevant ESG topics and, in close collaboration with internal experts, to drive the implementation of the ESG strategy and initiatives across the Group. The functional experts are drawn from Group-wide business functions or are country or regional experts representing Sonova Group companies within a given territory and driving ESG initiatives locally.

The ultimate approval of the Group’s ESG strategy and key targets lies with the Board of Directors. In 2021/22, ESG topics were discussed at least quarterly, either by the full Board of Directors or one of the sub-committees. Information on selected ESG indicators was also included in monthly updates by the CEO to the Board of Directors.

Material ESG topics

Materiality assessment

Sonova’s most recent materiality assessment and update of the Sonova materiality matrix was conducted in 2019/20. For this, we drew on a number of sources to compile a broad initial list of ESG topics that could be considered relevant to Sonova’s impact, or could be influential for our stakeholders’ views and decisions. These sources included the following:

  • Global frameworks and standards: Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and the associated SGD Targets for Business; the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) industry standards; and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Existing and upcoming international, governmental, and industry regulations, standards, and agreements
  • Best-practice peer benchmarking and best-in-class-rated reporting practices
  • Investor, analyst and proxy advisor reports and feedback
  • Public media reports
  • Customer and employee surveys
  • In-depth stakeholder interviews

We reviewed the results and consolidated the topics into a list of 21. To define material topics, we used personal interviews and online surveys with key internal and external stakeholders to rank the list in terms of three dimensions:

  1. Relevance of the topic to the stakeholders: To determine the relevance of each topic, we first identified internal and external representatives of each stakeholder group. When selecting the representatives, we took into account a balanced representation of the different geographical regions and Sonova businesses. The selected stakeholders then ranked the 21 topics according to their personal perceptions of importance.
  2. Significance of Sonova’s impact on the topic: The significance of Sonova’s impact on each topic was assessed by external experts with relevant experience in the respective fields.
  3. Strategic relevance to Sonova: The strategic relevance of each topic was assessed in individual internal interviews, including the Group CEO, the Vice President Corporate Strategy, and the Senior Director Internal Audit & Risk.

The result of the materiality assessment is visualized in the materiality matrix. Our analysis yielded eight focus topics, which we prioritized when evaluating our activities and identifying measures for performance improvements. We use the insights of the materiality assessment to prompt further discussions with key internal and external stakeholders around risks and opportunities. We further clustered the 21 ESG topics identified in the materiality assessment into the four strategic areas of IntACT, our ESG strategy. Our ESG Report is organized according to these areas.

Topic boundaries

The relevance of Sonova’s ESG Strategy is rooted in its relevance to the whole Sonova Group. All defined topics are therefore considered material to nearly all of the entities covered by this report. Sonova assigns the impacts of each material ESG topic to its appropriate stage or stages in the value-creation process, from raw materials supply to after-sales refurbishing or recycling. Impacts which occur partly or primarily outside the organization relate either to upstream activities (under topic headings including: responsible supply chain; human rights and labor practices; energy and climate) or to downstream activities, such as the utilization of our products and services (topic headings including: access to hearing care; product quality, safety and reliability; data privacy and digital ethics; ethical marketing and sales practices; eco-friendly products).