Sustainable materials

Nachhaltige Materialien
Nachhaltige Materialien

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.

More sustainable materials as the basis for change

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.

  • Sustainable cotton: In the textile ranges of the Otto Group's own and licensed brands, the fiber cotton still clearly dominates over polyester and viscose. The proportion of sustainable cotton, which includes organic cotton, recycled cotton and cotton from the Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) initiative, is currently 95 percent. We have thus almost achieved our goal of using 100 percent sustainable cotton. By using CmiA cotton, we help to reduce CO₂ emissions and save fresh water, among other things.
  • Leather made from fungal cultures:​​​​​​​ In search of innovative sustainable materials, we also test unconventional options. Artificial leather is usually made from synthetic materials derived from fossil resources. It therefore offers advantages over leather from an ethical but not an ecological point of view. Since 2021, Bonprix has been working with MYCL – Mycotech Lab, a start-up supported by the Fashion for Good innovation platform, on leather alternatives made from mushroom cultures.
  • Animal fibers and materials: Since 1988, the Otto Group has banned the furs of endangered species or species that are not kept in a manner appropriate to the species, such as mink, marten and sable. In 1991, real fur was generally banned from our range. There are strict guidelines for the sale of leather and wool products, as well as goods with down: From 2024, only leather and fur as a by-product of food production from the following domesticated animal species will be permitted: Cattle, Buffalo, Pig, Goat, Sheep and Yak. We reject products containing mohair or angora, as well as products from live plucking and foie gras production. In addition, the use of mulesing practices on sheep is not permitted. All requirements in detail and our principles on animal welfare and species protection are set out in the Animal Welfare Policy, which is part of the Business Partner Declaration.

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Wooden furniture

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.

Catalog paper

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.

  • Innovative biodegradable plastic alternative: In collaboration with the Hamburg-based start-up Traceless, OTTO wants to make its shipping bags even more sustainable. In this project, Traceless is developing bio-based shipping bags that can be completely biodegraded within a few weeks. The compostable bags consist of a new type of plastic substitute that is based entirely on natural raw materials. They replace conventional shipping bags and are intended to help reduce the burden on the environment.
  • Shipping bags made from "wild plastic": In 2020, OTTO entered into a cooperation with Wildplastic, which aims to rid the environment of plastics. "Wild plastic" is collected from the environment in places without their own recycling structure - such as Haiti or India - sorted, cleaned and then processed into granulate by Wildplastic. It is used as a raw material for the shipping bags at OTTO, where more than one in three bags currently consists of wild plastic. The proportion of wild plastic bags will be increased step by step.
  • Reusable shipping bag "RePack“: The Otto Group and OTTO, together with Tchibo and Avocadostore, took part in a research project on reusable packaging in the mail order business funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The test was carried out in the summer of 2020 with around 5,000 OTTO customers. The principle: The RePack reusable shipping bag is returned to the sender after use, then reprocessed, disinfected and cleaned, and is finally ready for the next order. In total, the packaging can be reused up to 20 times and therefore saves up to 80 percent CO2 and 96 percent waste volume compared to conventional shipping packaging. However, the pilot also revealed challenges: On a smaller scale, its use can be made possible in principle. But before it can be rolled out across the board or even across the industry, the considerable additional logistics expenses in particular need to be considered. The costs of return shipping, cleaning, reprocessing and disinfection should not be underestimated. In addition, thought would have to be given to a uniform deposit and return system to ensure that the packaging is actually returned. Only then will a reusable system work.

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