The economy is there to benefit people – not the other way round. This mindset and the strong awareness it engenders for the Group’s corporate responsibility are among the hallmarks of the Otto Group. Prof Dr Michael Otto recognized at an early stage that the future would be built on sustainable practices, inspiring customers, employees, business partners and like-minded people from other companies with this vision. Climate protection and corporate social responsibility were incorporated within the business strategy as early as 1986, giving rise to numerous initiatives for people, nature and society.
Today, the Otto Group upholds a CR strategy that is firmly anchored in the corporate strategy, the Otto Group Path, and the shareholder vision “Responsible commerce that inspires”. Sustainability and corporate responsibility have been integral to our identity for more than 30 years and are closely linked to the Otto Group’s corporate success.
The Otto Group assumes responsibility for every part of its value chain — from the extraction of resources, to the processing of products and their delivery and ultimately the use of the product by consumers. Our goal is to make the manufacture of our products ecologically and socially compatible. We use the impACT management process to determine the impact of our actions on the environment and society, deriving operational measures and strategic goals from it. Our CR strategy takes equal account of the economic, environmental and social dimensions and embeds sustainability even more strongly in our business processes. Based on our materiality analysis, the following seven stragegic fields of action and sub-strategies were developed: Climate, Sustainable Materials, Supply Chain, Circularity, Empowered Employees, Conscious Customers and Digital Responsibility.
Within these areas we have formulated visionary, long-term goals – the “transformational goals” –, which enable us to align our daily actions to the long-term objectives of the Otto Group. These goals are substantiated in each case by shorter-term targets with clearly defined time horizons - the "core priorities". They help to measure our progress on the way to long-term change. They are dynamic and regularly reviewed. Their content or schedule can be adapted if necessary to accommodate changes in framework conditions or the emergence of new courses of action. The seven thematic areas and transformational goals of our CR strategy are:
Climate: We achieve climate neutrality in our whole value chain.
Sustainable Materials: We apply sustainable raw materials in all our products.
Supply Chain: We continuously improve the social and ecological performance together with the facilities in our supply chains.
Circularity: We incorporate circular principles and ensure circular solutions.
Empowered Employees: We empower our employees to experience and actively shape sustainability.
Conscious Customers: We enable and inspire our customers to make conscious and sustainable decisions.
Digital Responsibility: We shape a value-oriented digitalization for people and society.
Our global sustainability activities are managed and developed jointly by the Executive Board and the CR Board. The operational implementation of the CR strategy takes place at Group companies level.
The Group Executive Board bears overall responsibility for the topic of sustainability. It is tasked with ensuring that sustainability aspects are given adequate consideration in the Group’s landmark decisions and become integral elements of the Otto Group’s management and processes. Relevant topics are regularly on the agenda at Executive Board meetings and other C-level gatherings.
The CR Board is another decision-making committee that has been tasked by the Executive Board with advancing sustainability management within the Group. It consists of representatives from relevant companies within the Otto Group. Led by the Chair of the Otto Group Executive Board, the CR Board is mandated with defining overarching transformational goals and new core priorities for the Otto Group within the framework of the CR strategy. Its remit also includes green lighting individual target contributions from Group companies and measures for the following year. The CR Board advises the Executive Board on far-reaching decisions that, for example, incur significant investment costs or have a significant influence on the business models of Group companies.
All Group companies that make a sizable contribution to external revenue in two consecutive financial years are subject to the CR strategy. One of the challenges inherent to the CR strategy is also a factor in its success: The different business models at the Group companies must be taken into account within an optimized framework. Each Group company has an interdisciplinary CR team comprising a Sustainability Officer and experts for the individual topic areas within the CR strategy. The CR teams are tasked with advancing the sustainability topics and establishing synergies within the Group. Each of the Group companies decides how to implement the CR strategy within the action framework handed down by the Otto Group Holding, developing specific priority areas, goals and measures that match their business models. They are then recorded in annual action plans, making sure that the Group companies jointly contribute to the Otto Group’s ambitious goals.
Furthermore, we believe that inter-group dissemination of best practices and the establishment of networks between experts and interested stakeholders in the Otto Group belong to the key success factors underpinning our strategy. Within our seven topic areas, the colleagues responsible for CR at the Group companies and the Otto Group Holding gather regularly in Expert Circles to discuss the achievement of targets within their remits, share thoughts on new ambitions and ideas and to develop and implement suitable measures.
Our CR strategy is based on the materiality analysis. The seven topic areas of our new CR strategy were derived from the sustainability topics that were identified to be material. We conduct regular reviews to ascertain whether relevant changes have emerged and to ensure that our CR strategy sets the right priorities. Our materiality analysis is part of the impACT management process, which forms the foundation for the Otto Group’s strategic development. In this way, we identify all the ecological and social effects of our business activities on people and nature.