To be better able to drive compliance with social and environmental standards in the global supply chain, the Otto Group participates in a large number of national and international initiatives, is a member of various organisations and is in constant contact with civil society, government and business representatives.
This culture of dialogue also helps us to recognise upcoming challenges at an early stage and to work out solutions together. The Otto Group receives important stimuli and proposals for its own sustainability effort, but also provides input itself and positively influences social development.
At the end of 2018, the Otto Group had entered into a partnership with "Fashion for Good". The aim of this initiative is the promotion of sustainable innovation along the entire value chain - as well as the bringing together of promising start-ups with investors. The Otto Group sees the partnership as an opportunity to enter into new cooperations and to find collaborative approaches for improvements in the textile value chain. One of the projects that resulted from this is the collaboration between OTTO and the Spanish start-up Cadel Deinking. The pilot project should make it possible to manufacture the plastic bags used for shipping 100 percent from recycled material - and to conserve resources through the closed cycle.
Since June 2015 the Otto Group has been a member of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (the Textile Partnership), initiated by the German Federal Government. The Textile Partnership consists of representatives from the textile and clothing industry, retail, non-governmental organisations and government; its aim is to continuously improve social and environmental standards along the global textile value chain. The Otto Group has supported and actively promoted the Textile Partnership from the start so that as many companies as possible could join it. In July 2015, the Otto Group was elected to the Steering Committee of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, where it is to represent the interests of business. For the years 2017 to 2019 the Otto Group has developed its own Roadmaps with individual goals. All action plans were reviewed by external and independent parties and published on the website of the textile alliance, too.
Due to the corona pandemic, the steering committee of the Textile Partnership decided at the end of March 2020 that no new roadmap is to be drawn up in 2020 and no progress report is to be published. The steering committee will decide on how to deal with the situation in the future.
Dr Johannes Merck, Former Vice President Corporate Responsibility Otto Group
"For many years already, the Otto Group is convinced that sustainable change is only possible through the power of the many. Based on this belief, we have started numerous initiatives and have engaged in dialogue with civil society, politics and business. Our membership in the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles is therefore a logical consequence of our decade-long social and environmental commitment. The Otto Group has supported and actively promoted the Textile Partnership from the beginning. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 we developed our Roadmaps with individual goals and published them after a successful external review. With its membership in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, the Otto Group is committed to its responsibility for social and environmental global supply chains and thus to respecting the Partnership's goals."
In 2004 the Otto Group helped to found the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), known today as amfori BSCI. It brings together retailers and producers with the goal of improving working conditions in the supply chain. To achieve this it carries out independent checks, referred to as ‘audits’, at production facilities.
In March 2017 amfori BSCI and the Otto Group initiated the multi-stakeholder forum “Protection of Syrian Labor Rights in Turkey – A Business-Led Call for Supply Chain Action”. Syrian citizens in Turkey are regarded as ‘temporary’ refugees with no legal access to work, education or health care. As a result, many Syrians work illegally. The group’s objectives included developing solutions to integration, strengthening legal protection and improving working conditions in the Turkish apparel industry.
CPI2 was founded in 2012 on the initiative of the Otto Group together with seven other German retailer companies. It pursues the goal of saving resources in the global supply chain, thereby protecting the climate. The basis of CPI2 is an online management tool that allows factories to evaluate and control the use of energy, water and chemicals in all business units.
In 2017 CPI2 formed a partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the most significant international platform for sustainable textile supply chain management. The common goal is to achieve synergies and reduce negative social and ecological impact on the global supply chain. The partnership has succeeded in expanding the use of the CPI2 tool for manufacturers and companies in the textile and footwear segments.
The Otto Group is a signatory to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (the Accord), developed together with international trade union confederations IndustriALL and UNI, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the Workers’ Rights Consortium (WRC) and national trade unions. As a member of the Implementation Team, the Otto Group played a major role in the specific design of the Accord. The accord contains mandatory regulations regarding independent inspections with publicly accessible reports and mandatory repair measures. It was signed in 2013 and was written to expire after five years. During the reporting period the Otto Group signed the 2018 accord – containing an extension of the agreement.
The Otto Group advocates the continuation of the Accord until the expertise and responsibilities have been fully transferred to national authorities and are established.