Industrialist with social responsibility
Otto SCHOTT with his family, around 1895.
From the beginning, Otto SCHOTT laid great value on the personal well-being of his employees. Influenced by Ernst Abbe’s socio-political ideas, he agreed to adopt the same corporate policy as the Zeiss factory. Following the death of Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe drafted the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Foundation) in 1889. This statute safeguarded the existence of the Zeiss and SCHOTT companies, independent of shareholder interests. Furthermore, the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung ensured the corporation’s employees a high degree of long-term social and economic security. In 1891, Abbe transferred his shares in the business to the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung, and encouraged Zeiss’ heir Roderich to do the same. Meanwhile, SCHOTT made a contractual promise to transfer his shareholding to the foundation after his death. In fact, SCHOTT fulfilled this promise in 1919, 16 years before his death. It was for this reason that Abbe once described SCHOTT as “in a sense, a co-founder of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung”.
Based on the statute of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung, which was published in 1896, the employees of the foundation companies Zeiss and SCHOTT received social benefits that were quite unique at that time. They included increased protection against wrongful dismissal, sick pay, paid leave, profit sharing, a company pension scheme and the right to a works council.