Connecting, Changing, Charging Ahead – Sustainability Report 2020


As a technology company, tesa considers sustainability a challenge, an opportunity and a vital attitude for the entire tesa team.

Every year, tesa develops hundreds of new products and adhesive solutions for many different industrial companies and consumers. Every day, our 500 highly qualified developers and many more of the 4,700 employees think about the contributions tesa can make to reducing the impact of our business activities on the environment as much as possible. But there's more: Our products should increasingly make a contribution to relieving the strain on the environment.  

You can find new data, all the facts and the most important developments of the past year in the 48 pages of the tesa Sustainability Report 2020. It shows in tangible terms which measures tesa is implementing in order to act in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way. In addition, the new tesa 'Sustainability Agenda' is presented: It provides orientation for developing suitable projects and aligning the company with this objective in the long term. By offering examples, the report also shows what progress we've made in the past year, of which we’re very proud. 

"Last year, we took the topic of 'sustainability' to the next level and made 'sustainable growth' a core component of our corporate strategy."

Dr Norman Goldberg

CEO tesa SE


We've achieved a lot in 2020

2020 was a year filled with challenges for all enterprises and people around the world. As a globally successful company, it was therefore particularly important for tesa to explicitly take on responsibility. This objective guides our actions.


An important target was reached: By the end of the year, 100% of the electricity purchased worldwide for all tesa locations came from renewable energies. Furthermore, CO2 emissions were reduced by 23% compared to 2018.

This means that tesa has moved a great deal closer to its goal of reducing total emissions by 30% by 2025.

Moreover, we launched a sustainability assessment programme for our suppliers, which already covers and verifies 31% of our direct purchasing volume. 

Our employees were involved in as many as 23 projects for the efficient use of resources and contributed to a reduction in the use of raw materials, waste and energy. For example, thanks to the installation of a water vapour recovery system at the plant in Italy, water and energy requirements have been reduced significantly. In the reporting year, we also received a silver medal in the EcoVadis sustainability rating. Our sustainability performance is once again above the sector average.

2020 was a year in which we transformed sustainability into an integral part of our tesa strategy.

The tesa Sustainability Agenda – Our guideline for the future

The core of the tesa sustainability strategy is the new 'tesa Sustainability Agenda'. It serves as a handbook to align the company’s actions holistically along the entire value chain in a more sustainable way. Segmented into the areas Environment, Customers and Society, the agenda contains specific goals and measures that are clearly explained in the Sustainability Report 2020.

For example, we formulated the goal to become completely climate neutral as a company worldwide by 2050. In 2020, tesa joined the initiative 'Business Ambition for 1.5° C'. With it, the multinational technology company commits to aligning its business activities with limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5° C and implementing suitable measures for this purpose. Up to now, only around 400 leading corporations worldwide have committed to this agreement.

The plan is to significantly increase our sales of sustainable products over the next five years and to make our packaging even more environmentally friendly. We've committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. And as a participant in the UN Global Compact, tesa is also committed to adhering to ten universal principles in terms of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and the prevention of corruption.


"Our Sustainability Agenda is a clear commitment to even better environmental and climate protection, to responsibility towards our employees and all people along our supply chains. I see it as a guideline and a signpost for all our decisions."

Dr Norman Goldberg,

CEO tesa SE


Mission: Zero Emissions 

How will we manage to reduce emissions? By relying on tesa's high level of innovation. tesa has been a pioneer in this field for 125 years. We will exploit this strength with regard to the development of sustainable products and processes.

At tesa, we use our skills in a targeted way to further improve adhesive solutions and production processes, and we won't give up until we've achieved this goal.  Because that's our superpower at tesa. Also, tesa is already a valued partner to many customers who, for their part, are increasingly focusing on greater sustainability and looking for new solutions together with us.  

Our products are becoming ever more environmentally friendly

To make products more environmentally friendly, tesa is increasingly relying on the use of renewable or recyclable raw materials. We will also consider the question of how our used materials could be recycled or reused at the end of the product's life. A good example is the new tesa® 4713 paper tape based on a natural rubber adhesive with environmentally friendly FSC certification.  


In the future, tesa will increasingly offer products that demonstrably contribute to greater sustainability. This happens in close contact with many customers and partners who are pursuing the same goal. We work on innovations together. Already today tesa’s adhesive solutions help customers to act more sustainably. The tesa Bond & Detach® products are an example of this. Thanks to these tapes, at the end of the service life of a smartphone the individual components can be separated from each other without leaving any residue. This simplifies recycling and saves resources. Over the past few years, more than 1.5 billion smartphones worldwide have been equipped with tesa Bond & Detach®. One example of how tesa’s products can contribute to more sustainability.


"Environmentally friendly products are no longer a niche – demand for them is growing steadily. One goal of our Sustainability Agenda is therefore to significantly increase our sales of sustainable products over the next five years."

Angela Cackovich

Board Member Direct Industries

Sticking together in difficult times

The year 2020 was overshadowed by the corona crisis and its effects on both the economy and society. The Covid-19 pandemic has also changed many things at tesa. Suddenly, a large part of our workforce was working from home. In our production facilities, however, we had to guarantee a healthy and safe working environment for all employees. 

Despite all the social and economic changes, so far tesa has come through the crisis in good shape. As an economically successful company, it was particularly important to us to help alleviate the consequences of the pandemic for those in greatest need. That is why we started the most extensive donation programme in the company's history:

By the end of 2021, we will have donated a total of EUR 5 million for social and humanitarian purposes. Among other things, the donations are supporting the global Covid-19 crisis fund run by Doctors Without Borders as well as several educational programmes of Save the Children. Furthermore, tesa donates to many small and large local organisations selected directly by the affiliates in the company's business regions, which range from Asia to North and Latin America as well as Europe. "tesa holds the world together – That's our bold guiding principle for this year," says CEO Dr Norman Goldberg. This slogan will also serve as a target perspective for our sustainability activities in the future.


One of the main priorities for MSF is the safety of health workers, and that is why all the staff must follow strict protocols in terms of safety and security

UN Global Compact & Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to our Sustainability Agenda, there are also other frameworks that point the way for tesa. We have been a member of the United Nations Global Compact since 2006.  Thus, we are committed to aligning our business activities with internationally recognised social and environmental standards. The Global Compact’s ten principles on human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption create the overarching guidelines for our actions. Since 2018, we have also been making our contribution to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. tesa particularly focuses on the following SDGs:

  • SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy 
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth 
  • SDG 13: Climate action

tesa Sustainability Report 2020

Here you can download our Sustainability Report 2020.