Social responsibility

Social responsibility

The Otto Group is part of society. Our actions have an impact on the people working for us in our supply chains, on the organizations cooperating with us, and not least on our customers. That is why we bear responsibility on many levels, as a reliable partner and promoter of diverse initiatives. By acting in accordance with our value-oriented mindset, we would like to positively shape the future of our society.

Social responsibility in detail


The Otto Group's history is closely linked to its social and environmental commitment. We are convinced that economic success goes hand in hand with the responsibility to help others, to support them on their way and to move society ahead as a whole. We have been doing this for decades. For almost 30 years, for example, the  Environmental Foundation Michael Otto (Umweltstiftung Michael Otto) has been addressing the question of what forward-looking solutions in nature conservation and environmental protection might look like and helping to implement them. The Aid by Trade Foundation, founded by Prof Dr Michael Otto in 2005, is the sponsoring organization of the “Cotton made in Africa” (CmiA) and “The Good Cashmere” standards. The CmiA initiative is dedicated to controlled environmental protection and better living and working conditions for smallholder cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. “The Good Cashmere” advocates sustainably produced cashmere from Inner Mongolia and includes the areas of animal wellfare, social criteria, and environmental sustainability. In 2012, the Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft (formerly Stiftung 2°) was founded on the initiative of Prof Dr Michael Otto. It brings together well-known business leaders who are committed to ambitious climate protection.

Furthermore, the Otto Group is actively involved in supporting youths and children. The Hamburg training network HANz! was founded in 2000 by Prof Dr Michael Otto as co-initiator and is a network of numerous companies that has been working for over 20 years to create equal opportunities for disadvantaged young people and to give them a fair chance at a solid job through support and placement services. In doing so, the foundation acts as an interface between home, school and work. Since 2008, we have been inspiring children and young people for music with The Young ClassX initiative (around 30,000 students since it began), and with the Finlit Foundation, children are sensitized to the proper handling of money and finances.

Human rights

The people with whom we work and interact should feel as if they are treated correctly and fairly. This also goes for our own employees, business partners, workers all the way down our supply chains, our service providers, and naturally our customers too. People are always the focus of our actions. In our Human Rights Declaration, we have defined our approach to human rights in our companies and the value chain. It expresses our values and our responsibility.

Working conditions

Safe and fair working conditions along our supply chains and for our own employees are our goal. This includes compliance with social standards, environmental protection rules, and occupational safety regulations, which have been adopted in a Code of Conduct. To this end, the Otto Group offers continuing training measures and workshops in the supply chain, and regularly evaluates their effectiveness. We also take measures to prevent any discrimination, unfair payment, or the exploitation of child labor, for example. Every year, we report on our progress in the annual report and regularly check whether our measures are taking effect or need to be adjusted.