The Otto Group pursues the long-term goal of using more sustainable materials in all products. Wherever possible, we evaluate materials on a data basis according to their impact on the environment throughout the entire life cycle: from raw material extraction, production processes, material consumption and shipping to use and disposal by customers.
We achieve the greatest positive impact at the point of raw material extraction, for example in the cultivation of cotton, and in the manufacturing processes in our supply chains. Our strategy therefore starts in the upstream value chain, with targets for textiles, furniture, packaging and catalogue paper.
Choosing more sustainable and healthy materials is an important component for fully recyclable products. That is why we are working to switch more and more materials to sustainable alternatives in all our products. In textiles, we are focusing on “preferred fibers”, so fibers with a reduced negative impact on the environment compared to conventional alternatives. Our aim is to increase this share in our own and licensed brands to 65 percent by 2025. This also includes the use of 100 percent sustainable cotton. By 2025, we aim to use only FSC-certified wood in our own and licensed brands of furniture. We intend to use 100 percent FSC-certified or EU Ecolabel paper in our catalogs by 2025 and switch completely to more sustainable packaging by the end 2023.
In the area of textiles, we are focusing on "preferred fibers," i.e. fibers that have a lower negative impact on the environment compared to conventional alternatives. For example, we aim to increase the use of fibers from controlled organic cultivation, recycled or innovative fibers, and animal fibers for which particular attention is paid to animal welfare. We were able to increase the share of preferred fibers from 53 percent in 2021 to 55 percent in 2022, putting us on a good path to reach our goal of 65 percent by 2025.
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Forests are the green lung of our planet, which is why we do everything we can to protect them. With the help of our furniture strategy, we were already able to use 83 percent FSC®-certified wood in our own and licensed brands of furniture and in the materials obtained from strategically relevant suppliers in 2022 (compared to 78 percent in 2021), thus sourcing wood from responsible forestry. By 2025, we aim to use only FSC-certified wood. The FSC logo stands for strict standards for ecologically responsible forest management.
As the supply and availability of FSC materials sourced in the region currently make it difficult to achieve the target, the Otto Group is examining how we can actively involve ourselves in increasing the FSC-certified forest area in Germany and what credible alternatives there are to stick to our responsible procurement strategy with a focus on regional value creation.
The biggest challenge is the limited availability of FSC-certified wood in Germany, due to the small FSC-certified forest area in this country. Accordingly, full achievement of our target is only possible if the availability of FSC wood is expanded, if we find new raw material facilities or if alternative materials can be used. An innovative solution that is currently being tested could emerge from toMOORow, the peatland rewetting project, which we launched in the Otto Group in 2021. According to this, it may be possible to use the biomass from the peatlands to produce wood-like materials.
In 2022, we could already use 90 percent sustainable catalog paper throughout the Otto Group; compared to 77 percent in 2021. Individual Group companies (e.g. Crate and Barrel, Freemans Grattan or Venus) even use 100 percent sustainable FSC® paper today. Other Group companies, such as OTTO, plan to gradually increase the amount of FSC® catalog paper as well as catalog paper with the EU Ecolabel to 100 percent by 2025, which corresponds to the target of the entire Group.
The Otto Group pursues a packaging strategy based on the four pillars of avoidance, reduction, substitution and recycling. Particular focus is placed on the efficient use and reduction of packaging volume as well as the use of more climate-friendly materials. Our measures apply to all our self-purchased shipping packaging (e.g. cartons, shipping bags, etc.) and filling materials (e.g. bubble wrap, etc.). For us, more sustainable packaging consists of at least 80 percent recycled material, both for shipping packaging and for filling materials. In the case of plastic packaging, the recycled content must be "post-consumer," i.e., it must come from recycled plastic that has already been used. Overall, we were able to increase the share of more sustainable packaging from 71 percent in 2021 to 78 percent in 2022.