Shareholder Engagement Report: Zur Rose

Shareholder Engagement Report: Zur Rose

Our shareholder engagement talks give the impact community the opportunity to exchange ideas with the decision-makers in the companies. It’s an ideal opportunity to learn more about their understanding and strategy of sustainability, both in terms of products and services (handprint) and business practices (footprint), and to ask for more details if necessary.

In this report, the following is covered:

  • Brief introduction to the company Zur Rose (parent company of DocMorris) 
  • Handprint: 
    • Access to medicine 
  • Footprint: 
    • CO2 footprint
    • Gender equality
    • Fair wages 
  • Main takeaways 

On 30 November 2021, the CEO of Zur Rose Group, Walter Oberhänsli, was our guest. His company is best known in Germany for its online pharmacy, DocMorris, which is shaking up the pharmacy market. This was also the main focus of the brief presentation of the company. 

According to Walter Oberhänsli, the pharmacy market is characterised by centuries-old traditions and is outdated. Today we can buy almost everything online: groceries, shoes, furniture etc. But when it comes to medicine, e-commerce isn’t yet widespread. People with chronic diseases are unable to comfortably secure the medical care they need via an online platform. Zur Rose wants to change that through an “ecosystem of healthcare”. Everything should be possible via an app, which would improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of chronically ill people.

In our engagement talk, we took a close look at Zur Rose. Here are the most important topics we discussed.

Handprint: Access to medicine

Zur Rose’s vision is to provide improved access to medicine for all people. On average, the medicine they offer online is about 40% cheaper than medicine found in local pharmacies. However, around 80% of the medicine sold is prescription-only, i.e. paid for by health insurance companies. Here, the advantage of Zur Rose does not lie in the lower price but in the simplified access. An astonishing number of people don’t take their medication properly or not at all. Zur Rose replaces the cumbersome process of exchanging the paper prescription for the medication at the pharmacy with its healthcare ecosystem in the app. Here, the prescription is available digitally and the medicine can be ordered with one click. In the app, patients check whether the medicine can be combined with others and are reminded to take it in time.

At a first glance, these steps may not seem to make much of a difference. However, they can have a major positive effect: 10% of all hospitalisations happen because people don’t take their medication correctly or stop taking it too early. The app can help to reduce the number of these hospitalisations.

An important question from our impact community came regarding access for older people: They need medication more often, but are they tech-savvy enough to use the app? CEO Walter Oberhänsli gave a resounding yes. The pandemic has shown that older people are also good at using technology and can therefore benefit from the Zur Rose healthcare ecosystem.

Inyova assessment: Clear contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3 “Health and Wellbeing”) and relevant sub-goals.


Inyova doesn’t just care about what a company does but also about how they do it. Our preliminary research showed that Zur Rose hasn’t yet published a concrete sustainability strategy. Walter Oberhänsli was refreshingly honest, admitting “Sustainability has always been important to us, but until now it has been on the agenda only implicitly.” As of this year though, Zur Rose has created a sustainability role. The position reports directly to the CEO and works closely with various board members. In 2022, Zur Rose plans to publish their first-ever sustainability report.

CO2 footprint

To tackle the climate crisis, all companies need to reduce their CO2 footprint quickly and drastically. So far, Zur Rose doesn’t publish emissions data and lacks concrete, quantitative reduction targets. However, efforts are being made primarily in the area of transport and logistics. On the subject of packaging, there are clear measures: Whenever possible, filler material is avoided. In the future, Zur Rose would like to adapt the packaging exactly to the size of the medicine package. This way, unnecessary filler material can be avoided and CO2 can be saved accordingly.

Inyova assessment: A first step

With transport and logistics, Zur Rose has already focused on the most relevant area in terms of CO2 footprint. The decisive next steps would be to record all relevant emissions and set concrete reduction targets.

Gender equality

The issue of diversity in leadership positions is very close to the heart of the Inyova impact community. At Zur Rose, Betül Susamis Unaran is the only woman among eight men in top management. Our impact investors took notice and asked what the company was doing about gender equality. According to Walter Oberhänsli, they are “making an effort” by implementing measures such as flexible working hours and promoting female talents.

Inyova assessment: More needs to happen here

Especially considering that the majority of all employees at Zur Rose are women, Zur Rose should ensure more permeability upwards.

Fair wages

When it comes to fair wages, it’s about making sure that the difference between the salary of the top management and the average salary isn’t too big. The bigger the gap, the less fair. On average, board members earn 183 times as much as “normal” employees. At Zur Rose the ratio is 12:1!

Inyova rating: More than fair

In the area of fair wages, Zur Rose is an absolute front-runner.

The most important takeaways

When you do impact investing with Inyova, you invest your money in companies that match your values. You can achieve a concrete impact by using your voice as an investor to influence the company in the direction of sustainable development.

With its handprint, the Zur Rose Group makes an important contribution to better health and well-being by simplifying access to medicine. However, there is still some catching up to do when it comes to the footprint. It’s therefore promising to see that CEO Walter Oberhänsli recognises this and has taken the first steps towards improvement. 

The Inyova impact community is eagerly awaiting the first sustainability report, which is due to be published in 2022. We gladly accept the CEO’s offer to hear our suggestions: We want to see concrete data in the sustainability report. Only if there is enough data can we, but also the company itself, measure and track sustainability performance. We’ll be staying tuned for you!

Disclaimer: The past performance of financial markets and instruments is never an indicator of future performance. The statements or information contained in this document do not constitute a recommendation, offer, invitation to buy or sell securities or financial instruments. Inyova AG accepts no liability whatsoever for the reliability and completeness of the information contained in this article. Liability claims against Inyova AG are published in this document are excluded. In addition, the statements contained in this document reflect an estimate at the time of publication and are subject to change. References and links to websites of third parties are outside the area of responsibility of Inyova AG. Any responsibility for such websites is disclaimed.
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