As a global group of companies with 123 major companies in 20 countries, the Otto Group is committed to environmentally and socially responsible business. It ensures that employee behaviour follows ethical principles - across all cultural and geographical boundaries.
To achieve this, the Otto Group has defined a Sustainability Guideline. It applies for all retail companies in the Group - including OTTO. It combines all relevant corporate responsibility (CR) guidelines, such as the conditions under which merchandise can be purchased and sold. For example, the sale of goods with components made of real fur is banned since 1991. There are also guidelines for textiles tested for harmful substances and fair working conditions at suppliers.
Other topics include the expansion of sustainable product ranges and the realisation of the Group-wide climate change strategy defined by the Group Executive Board. This aims to reduce underlying transport, locational and mobility-related CO2 emissions. The group-wide target is a 50 percent reduction by 2020 (compared to fiscal year 2006/07).
In the fiscal year 2011/12 the CO2 emissions have already been reduced by 11 percent. This reduction will be expanded during the folling years with several measures: For example, more and more CO2-intense transports by plane will be substituted by shipping transports. Concering the delivery of our products, we pursue a better increase in car utilization and a modern fuel-saving fleet of vehicles.
At the sites, the switch to energy-saving technologies such as solar energy, geothermal and biomass has led to lower CO2 emissions from lighting, IT, heating and air-conditioning. Our employees actively contribute to climate protection. An energy experiment at our Hamburg location showed that our employees were able to save more than 20 percent of energy by conscious behaviour.
OTTO aims to increase the proportion of sustainable cotton, including from the Cotton made in Africa initiative, in its own brands. By the year 2020 OTTO will adjust the needed cotton contingent for the production of our own-brand assortment to 100 per cent sustainable cotton. In our furniture ranges, our target is to have 100 percent of the products made from FSC wood by 2020.
OTTO also promotes responsible shopping choices with the landing page Initiative Zukunft, which has been permanently embedded on the homepage otto.de. Initiative Zukunft informs about our commitment to sustainability and carries more than 16,500 sustainable products. The landing page provides information about OTTO's sustainability commitment, offering opportunities for dialogue and access to the sustainable assortment at otto.de. A special labelling system of six ‘ECO’ seals - Engagement, Bio, Recycling, Energie, Vital and Ressource - provides information about each item’s sustainability and background. Initiative Zukunft enables our customers to send a message when they place an order.
OTTO uses the most widespread social media channels to communicate with customers and other interested people on the topic of sustainability. To this end, we have launched cooperations with established Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platforms in the online sphere: Utopia.de and betterplace.org. On the OTTO Facebook fan page, these channels are bundled under the heading ‘Eco Communities’.
Incidentally, OTTO was practicing these principles long before concepts such as ethical consumption and corporate responsibility had become buzzwords. For more than 25 years now, Dr. Michael Otto has made environmental protection an established corporate goal, thereby laying a solid foundation for OTTO’s comprehensive commitment to sustainability.