Protecting our planet is firmly rooted in the Otto Group’s traditions. Environmental protection was defined as a corporate goal back in 1986. The „Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection“ was established in 1993, followed by the „Aid by Trade Foundation“ in 2005 and the Stiftung KlimaWirtschaft (formerly the 2° Foundation) in 2012. It all began with the use of recycled paper and reclaimed materials, but now it encompasses so much more. The Otto Group has defined ambitious voluntary commitments and targets to continue minimizing its environmental footprint.
Cotton tops the list of the Otto Group’s fabric ranges, ahead of polyester, viscose, or wool by a clear margin. At present, sustainable cotton — which we define as organic cotton, recycled cotton, and cotton from the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative — accounts for 95 percent. Our use of CmiA cotton helps to reduce carbon emissions and cuts back on the consumption of fresh water.
The Otto Group demonstrates: A rigorous reduction in CO₂ emissions is doable. In this context, we more than halved the CO₂ emissions of our business activities between 2006 and 2020. The new target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025 compared to 2018 and to reach climate neutrality in our own operations by 2030. We apply a variety of measures to achieve this goal: Our locations run on green electricity. In logistics, we give preference to maritime and rail transports over air freight — and use high-quality, certified offset projects as a meaningful contribution to climate protection where technological solutions are currently unavailable or economically unfeasible. We build continuously on our commitment to protecting the climate in the supply chain, for instance, by organizing training and workshops. After all, a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions is generated in the manufacture of our products.
Accordingly, the Otto Group has placed a strong focus on aligning its climate targets and climate protection activities with the Paris Climate Agreement and the 1.5 degree target formulated therein and has officially committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative to develop a science based target for the Otto Group within the next two years.
The Otto Group was a pioneer in animal welfare: As early as 1988, we removed furs of endangered species or species that are not kept in a manner appropriate to the species, such as mink, marten and sable, from our product range. Since 1991, real fur has generally been banned from our range. In addition, we have introduced strict guidelines for the sale of leather and woolen products as well as goods containing down: Leather and fur products from cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep are by-products of the food industry; we reject products containing mohair or angora as well as products from live plucking. The use of mulesing practices on sheep is not permitted, and a separate Policy (in German only) applies to the use of pure new wool. In addition, we are constantly expanding the proportion of certified materials.
We are also aware of our responsibility in the textile manufacturing process. In a nutshell, this means that we are committed to ensuring that a minimum of chemicals is used in dyeing, washing and printing. To this end, we have launched the EMPact program to help our trading partners in China, Bangladesh and Turkey, among other countries, to make their processes more environmentally friendly and safer for their employees.
Forests are the green lungs of our planet, which is why we do everything we can to protect them. By 2025, all wood in the furniture range of Otto Group companies is to be certified with the FSC® seal. Currently, the share is 78 percent. The responsible use of wood for the production of printed products or cardboard packaging is also an important lever for environmental protection. Therefore, we intend to use 100 percent FSC-certified or EU Ecolabel paper in our catalogs for advertising purposes by 2025. Here, the share is currently 77 percent. The non-governmental organization Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) has formulated strict standards for ecologically responsible forest management worldwide.
You can rely on the Otto Group. This also means: The products we put on the market meet high quality standards - often beyond the legal requirements. This applies to potentially hazardous residues as well as general equipment safety. Even stricter guidelines apply to children's clothing and toys.