We use timber as a raw material primarily for wooden furniture, but also for catalogue paper. Although e-commerce is now the main source of retail revenue, many customers still use the catalogues as a source of inspiration.
It is important to us that the Otto Group only permits the use of tropical timber if it is FSC®-certified and a valid FSC® certificate can be presented. The FSC logo on a product shows consumers that the wood comes from forests which are managed responsibly.
From oak chest dressers to wooden wardrobes: The Otto Group's Furniture Strategy aims to convert its own, licensed and strategically relevant third-party brands to articles from responsible forestry by 2025 - as indicated by the certification compliant with the standard of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Currently, the share of FSC-certified wood is 74 percent.
One challenge is the low coverage of FSC-certified forests in Germany (only about 12 percent), resulting in a shortage of locally available FSC wood. Nevertheless, we are pushing the issue of FSC strongly when choosing new suppliers and also want to continue to support production in Germany instead of switching to other procurement markets. For us, importing wood products with the FSC seal is not an alternative to sourcing wood regionally, as these have a significantly more negative carbon footprint.
The non-governmental organisation Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) pursues the goal of protective forest use and defines uniform global standards for this purpose. This prevents uncontrolled deforestation, the violation of human rights or an excessive burden on the environment. The certification of the value chain from forests to retailers creates transparency and provides orientation for the customer. The Otto Group has actively supported the FSC since the end of the 1990s, and has been an official member of the Forest Stewardship Council® Germany since 2006. The Group has intensified its cooperation with the FSC®: together, we advise furniture suppliers when it comes to a transition to FSC®-certification and we support higher availability and demand for FSC®-certified wood-based materials in Germany.
The responsible handling of timber for manufacturing print materials or cardboard packaging is an important lever in environmental protection, too. The Otto Group had set itself the goal of increasing the share of FSC-certified paper for catalog and advertising materials to 60 percent by 2020. We have exceeded this target with 68 percent in 2020. Our new CR Strategy also sets a concrete KPI for further increasing the proportion of certified paper: By 2025, we will use 100 percent sustainable catalog paper for advertising purposes.