Not a classic corporate publishing product, but not a purely journalistic product either. In collaboration with GEO, a family of monthly geographic magazines, the Otto Group is publishing its own sustainability magazine "NOW". On 108 pages, the magazine, with a circulation of 100,000 copies in German and English, highlights the sustainability activities of the Otto Group and its foundations. The publication is aimed at decision-makers and multipliers from the media, politics and society as well as Otto Group employees worldwide.
With corporate activities coming increasingly under the public spotlight, fairness and responsibility are gaining in importance. Reason enough then for the Otto Group to present its commitment to sustainability – part of its corporate strategy for more than 30 years now – in a compact, compelling format and with the unerring eye of a neutral observer. This is how the unusual collaboration between the Otto Group and GEO magazine from the Hamburg publishing house of Gruner + Jahr came about.
The sustainability magazine "NOW” brings together experienced journalists from the GEO world who, in 16 articles, reports and interviews describe the challenges companies face when they take on responsibility in a socio-political context. Together, the project partners selected sustainable solutions and projects from the world of the Otto Group and its foundations, with the journalists having a free hand in how they translated these into words. In addition, fundamental questions of sustainable development are also addressed: in a discussion, for example, between science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar and Otto Group Supervisory Board Chairman Prof Dr Michael Otto who debate matters concerning climate change, consumption, digitalisation and the tension between ecology and economics. Or in an interview with Michael Braungart, a feisty advocate of the circular economy.
“The collaboration is so unique because the GEO colleagues, under the aegis of editor-in-chief Jens Schröder, had a free hand in the topics. This yielded stories from the perspective of inquisitive journalists, which themselves attract a great deal of public interest,” explains Thomas Voigt, Group Vice President Corporate Communications.
Questions such as the feasibility of humane textile production in Bangladesh and the socio-political impact of sustainable initiatives such as "Cotton made in Africa" or the F.R.A.N.Z. project of the foundations set up by Prof Dr Michael Otto are discussed in a detailed, differentiated manner. Articles on sustainable timber management, packaging of the future, a more climate-friendly delivery of goods, more conscious shopping as well as an introduction to Tobias Wollermann as the new head of sustainability of the Otto Group, round off the content.
Is this at all compatible with the sort of independent journalism GEO has been proudly doing for decades? “Sure,” says GEO editor-in-chief Jens Schröder. “As journalists, it is our job to present all the facets of a story in a balanced way. Whether this could be achieved in collaboration with a commercial partner? – this was a question that initially intrigued us, and we can now answer with a clear 'yes'. Ultimately, we are united by a common goal: the sustainable development of our society and our planet. Journalism also has a part to play in this: giving seriously committed players from other fields the tools of its trade and its professional eye.”
The sustainability magazine "NOW" can be ordered as a printed copy at www.ottogroup.com/en/NOW2021, read as an ePaper or downloaded as a PDF file.
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Founded in Germany in 1949, today the Otto Group is a globally active retail and services group with around 50,000 employees in 30 major company groups and does business in over 30 countries in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Its business activities are grouped into three segments: Multichannel Retail, Financial Services, and Service. In the 2020/21 financial year (to 28 February), the Otto Group generated revenues of 15.6 billion euros. With online revenues of approximately 9.9 billion euros, the Otto Group is one of the world’s largest online retailers. The Group’s particular strength is its broad market presence and differentiated product and service offers to diverse customer target groups in almost all of the world’s relevant economic regions. Numerous strategic partnerships and joint ventures provide the Otto Group with excellent opportunities to transfer know-how and leverage areas of synergy potential. Group companies demonstrate a high degree of corporate responsibility and willingness to collaborate with one another; at the same time this guarantees flexibility, customer proximity and optimum target-group appeal in their respective national markets.
GEO magazine presents stories that touch its readers and change their perspectives. Today, knowledge is easily accessible and available everywhere. But only the kind of knowledge that has an effect on us and helps us move forward is important. Providing truly profound knowledge in an entertaining way and with a sumptuous visual appearance involves a lot of thorough research which is exactly what GEO specialises in. Every month, GEO nourishes one of the strongest and most positive emotions we can experience: curiosity. Our curiosity is satisfied if we learn something that broadens our mind and enables us to view the world with fresh eyes. GEO: the curiosity magazine. One of the most lavishly designed postwar magazines around, GEO was founded in 1976 and has made magazine history ever since. GEO magazine developed into a complete GEO range and now comprises a host of magazine series.