Climate neutrality by 2030: This is how Otto Group and group companies such as UNITO are addressing the key issue of our time

Weighing between values ​​and profitability

  • Of course there are larger and more important markets for the Otto Group. But at least our group companies based in Austria - above all UNITO - contribute almost three percent to our total sales. In addition, we benefit from the exchange between our various group companies across the group. UNITO is very far ahead in many areas - for example in digital transformation and sustainability. Such pioneers are needed for the overall development of the group.

    Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group

    1/6

  • We have been striving to reduce CO2 emissions for years.

    Harald Gutschi, spokesman for the management of the UNITO Group

    2/6

  •  “In contrast to companies that also claim climate neutrality for themselves and primarily rely on compensation through the sometimes very cheap acquisition of certificates, we understand climate neutrality to mean avoiding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

    Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group

    3/6

  • That is why it was so important to us to implement CO1-neutral delivery for all of our orders by January 2021st, 2

    Harald Gutschi, spokesman for the management of the UNITO Group

    4/6

  • We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to make their home more sustainable, to live and act more sustainably

    Harald Gutschi, spokesman for the management of the UNITO Group

    5/6

  • “The relationship between values ​​and profitability has to be weighed. Sustainability is the key issue of our time. I am convinced that companies that do not rely on sustainability will not survive in the future. Consumers are increasingly making their purchase decisions based on which company has the more sustainable offer and which most closely reflects their own values. I am of the opinion that profit will increasingly be linked to sustainable management.

    Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group

    6/6

Graz (OTS) -

  • Small, but not insignificant: Group companies based in Austria, above all UNITO, contribute almost three percent to the Otto Group's total global sales.
  • Own locations through to external data centers: "Avoid, reduce, compensate" as a maxim for systematic climate protection, which should guarantee climate neutrality by 2030.
  • Wer nachhaltigeres Angebot wagt, gewinnt Kund*innen: stetiger Ausbau nachhaltiger Sortimente und Forcierung innovativer Projekte als Antwort auf Kernfrage unserer Zeit.

The Otto Group ended the 2020/21 financial year extremely successfully despite the enormous challenges posed by the corona pandemic. The trading and service group, which operates in more than 30 countries, increased its sales worldwide on a comparable basis by 17,2 percent to around 15,6 billion euros. Broken down to the Austrian subsidiary UNITO (including Universal, OTTO Austria, Quelle, LASCANA), the economic situation turned out to be similarly successful: The group of companies was able to draw a successful balance sheet with total sales of 423 million euros and increase by 20 percent on a comparable basis.

Not that small market at all

So the key financial figures are correct, both globally and in the small Austrian market. Although this is not so small for Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group: „Natürlich gibt es für die Otto Group größere und bedeutendere Märkte. Aber immerhin tragen allein unsere in Österreich ansässigen Konzernunternehmen – allen voran UNITO – knapp drei Prozent zu unseren Gesamtumsätzen bei. Hinzu kommt, dass wir über den Konzern hinweg vom Austausch zwischen unseren verschiedenen Konzernunternehmen profitieren. UNITO ist in vielen Bereichen sehr weit vorn – etwa bei digitaler Transformation und Nachhaltigkeit. Solche Vorreiter braucht es für die Gesamtentwicklung der Gruppe.“

Vorreiterrolle behalten

Apropos Vorreiter: Die Otto Group steht seit mehr als drei Jahrzehnten nicht nur für wirtschaftlichen Erfolg, sondern auch für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften im Sinne von Umwelt und Mensch. Bereits 1986 begann man, ausgehend vom frühen Engagement des heutigen Aufsichtsratsvorsitzenden Prof. Dr. Michael Otto, Umweltschutz als Unternehmensziel zu definieren. Die 2020 abgeschlossene Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie gab für den Klimaschutz als Ziel die Reduzierung der CO2-Emissionen um 50 Prozent auf Basis des Jahres 2006 aus. Dieses Klimaziel wurde schon ein Jahr zuvor und vollständig ohne Kompensationsmaßnahmen erreicht. Ein Leitsatz, der auch dafür sorgen soll, die Vorreiterrolle in Sachen Nachhaltigkeit nicht einzubüßen. "In contrast to companies that also claim climate neutrality for themselves and primarily rely on compensation through the sometimes very cheap acquisition of certificates, we understand climate neutrality to mean avoiding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions", stellt Birken fest. Nach dieser Maxime agiert man auch bei der UNITO-Gruppe, wie Mag. Harald Gutschi, Sprecher der Geschäftsführung, erklärt: "We have been trying to reduce CO2 emissions for years." By 2020, UNITO was able to reduce total sales-adjusted CO2 emissions by 2006 percent compared to the base year 74. Compensation for unavoidable emissions is seen as an opportunity to make medium-term climate protection measures effective earlier. „Deshalb war es uns auch so wichtig, mit 1. Jänner 2021 bei all unseren Bestellungen die CO2-neutrale Zustellung umzusetzen“, fügt Gutschi hinzu.

Facilitate sustainable living

According to Birken, the urgency of far-reaching climate protection measures is also shown by the fact that customers are increasingly basing their purchase decisions on sustainable criteria. The fifth trend study by the Otto Group [1] on ethical consumption showed: 70 percent of those surveyed see ethical criteria as an integral part of their purchase decision. Therefore, at UNITO, the focus is increasingly on the consumer. „Wir wollen es unseren Kund*innen so leicht als möglich machen, ihr Zuhause nachhaltiger zu gestalten, nachhaltiger zu leben und zu handeln“, notes Gutschi. For example, the “Rent instead of buy” project launched at OTTO Austria in 2019, a cooperation with the Berlin start-up Grover, was intensified and also implemented for the Universal and Quelle brands. Renting technical products conserves resources and reduces electronic waste. In addition, they are working intensively on expanding sustainable product ranges. UNITO customers also benefit from the Otto Group's commitment to sustainable materials: By 2025, 100 percent of the wood used for own and licensed brands will be FSC-certified and 100 percent of the cotton used will be sustainable. By 2023, 100 percent of the packaging will be made from sustainable materials. UNITO does not only rely on the commitment of the group: In autumn 2021, OTTO Austria will have sustainable dirndls made of organic cotton in its range for the first time. The clearer labeling of sustainable products will also be implemented in all UNITO online shops in 2021. Each product image is highlighted in color with the label "Sustainable", on the article detail page the explanation follows as to whether it is an energy-efficient device, furniture made of FSC wood, clothing made of Cotton-made-in-Africa cotton, etc.

Profit an nachhaltiges Wirtschaften koppeln

But how do you, as a global company with around 50.000 employees, manage to be economically successful and at the same time act responsibly? Otto Group CEO Birken: “The relationship between values ​​and profitability has to be weighed. Sustainability is the key issue of our time. I am convinced that companies that do not rely on sustainability will not survive in the future. Consumers are increasingly making their purchase decisions based on which company has the more sustainable offer and which most closely reflects their own values. I am of the opinion that profit will increasingly be linked to sustainable management. "

You can read even more about sustainable management in terms of people and the environment at the Otto Group in the sustainability magazine "NOW", a cooperation with the publishers of the GEO magazine:
https://www.ottogroup.com/de/NOW2021.php

Additional information, images and logos can be found online at www.unito.at/presse.

1 For the study, the results of a survey of 1149 people between 14 and 74 years of age from October 2020 were combined with perspectives from trend research.


In the 2020 financial year (March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021) UNITO achieved total sales of 423 million euros. The largest Austrian online retailer has 3,8 million customers (as of March 31, 2021). 598 people work for the group of companies. The most important markets are Austria, Switzerland and Germany, where UNITO is active with the e-commerce brands OTTO, UNIVERSAL, QUELLE, ACKERMANN and LASCANA. UNITO Versand & Dienstleistungen GmbH is part of the Otto Group as a subsidiary of the Baur Group.

Inquiries & contact:

Press contact:
UNITO Versand & Dienstleistungen GmbH
Mag. Martina Stix
Corporate communication & media relations
Telefon +43 316 5460-55417 · Mobil +43 664 8253461
martina.stix@unito.at