The current energy crisis has become a major challenge for society as a whole. Given the need to save energy, and not just in the German economy, the Otto Group sees as its socio-political responsibility the reduction of energy consumption at its German locations – cutbacks that go beyond the legal requirements, regardless of the additional costs this might entail. By implementing a wide range of cost-cutting measures, the Hamburg-based retail and services group of companies is aiming to reduce its consumption of gas, electricity and district heating in Germany by 15 to 20 percent in the coming winter months.
All German Group companies are participating in the measures. At Bonprix, Hermes Fulfilment, OTTO and Otto Group Holding, for example – all of which are located at the Otto Group campus in Hamburg – only selected buildings will be heated throughout to a temperature of 20 degrees celsius from 1 October until the end of March 2023. In the remaining buildings, room temperature will be cut to 15 degrees, sometimes down to six degrees. For health and safety reasons, no work activities will then be permitted there during this period of six months.
Two cafeterias, the Collabor8 event space and the campus fitness lounge will remain open to facilitate mutual exchange, networking and hybrid working.
The company's own gas-fired combined heat and power plant on the campus will also be completely shut down for the winter months. Heating still required will be drawn from the district heating network over the next six months, a move that is likely to incur higher costs.
“The current energy crisis has become a major challenge for society as a whole. In situations like this, people are going to be looking closely at what companies are doing. As a value-oriented group of companies, we in the Otto Group are very much aware of, and accept, our social responsibility and are now actively contributing to saving energy,” says Petra Scharner-Wolff, Executive Board member for Finance, Controlling and Human Resources at the Otto Group. “As we all snuggle a little closer together in the offices, new constellations of colleagues also emerge who will be sharing common space. Our concept of “activity-based working”, sharing workplaces and having all information available in the cloud is a great boon to us in implementing our comprehensive energy saving plans.”
Hermes Germany: Hamburg headquarters moves together and switches off its neon signs
Likewise, from 1 October, Hermes Germany is turning down the heating in three of the four buildings maintained at its head office in Hamburg, concentrating its work on the building with the highest energy efficiency, which also houses the company’s cafeteria. The building will be technically upgraded to continue to facilitate hybrid working, with staff “hot-desking”. The neon signs have already been switched off at some 60 Hermes locations nationwide. Traffic routing and safety-related lighting at the sites will remain in place. Further on-site measures are currently being planned.
The Witt Group is also using less office space
The Witt Group will also be concentrating its work at its Weiden and Karlsruhe sites on a few heated buildings from October and lowering the temperature in the other office complexes to 15 degrees. In addition, lighting in the rooms will be turned down, and electrical appliances such as refrigerators, coffee machines and dishwashers disconnected from the mains. All three cafeterias will however remain open.
EOS is also cutting back on office space and turning off the hot water supply to washrooms. Mytoys is taking a similar approach at its headquarters in Berlin. Here, too, the hot water supply is being curtailed. What’s more, room temperature will be lowered and the lights in the offices switched off at 7 pm. Most of the office lighting has already been converted to LEDs thereby saving a significant amount of electricity.
Coinciding Hamburg's winter school vacation when traditionally few employees are at the campus, OTTO will be lowering the temperature at its buildings down to six and 15 degrees from 21 December through to 6 January. Those having to work during this time are asked to do so remotely if possible – for example, to work from home. Office space will however be available for those employees who need to come in the office.
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Founded in Germany in 1949, today the Otto Group is a globally active retail and services group with around 41,000 employees in 30 major company groups primarily active in the economic regions of Germany, the rest of Europe, and the USA. Its business activities span the Platforms, Brand Concepts, Retailers, Services and Financial Services segments. In the 2022/23 financial year (to 28 February) the Otto Group generated revenues of 16.2 billion euros. With online revenues of approximately 12 billion euros, the Otto Group is one of the world’s largest online retailers. The Group’s particular strength is the broad market presence of its differentiated product assortments and service offers to diverse customer target groups in 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 optimal target-group appeal in their respective national markets.