Our commitment to environmental production standards
ALDI is committed to sustainability in the area of textiles and shoe production. In cooperation with Greenpeace, we have developed comprehensive criteria, which define rigorous environmental requirements for production. Our action plan includes the gradual elimination of certain chemicals used in the manufacturing processes for both textiles and shoes by 2020.
With this voluntary commitment, ALDI reaffirms its corporate responsibility for people and the environment. In recent years, we have been actively promoting the development of sustainable social and environmental standards in our production countries. In this regard, ALDI is constantly focused on finding sustainable solutions.
We are aware that the path to achieving lasting acceptance and understanding of the Detox requirements among all parties involved will be a long-term process. However, in order to establish progress, ALDI relies on the involvement and support of all parties throughout the supply chain.
How we will eliminate the 11 hazardous chemical groups from our supply chain
ALDI is committed to phasing out the use of the 11 hazardous chemical groups in the production of garments, household textiles, and shoes, and replacing these substances with safer alternatives over the next few years. Our goal is to completely refrain from using certain chemical groups from 1 January 2020 onwards.
- By publishing the ALDI Detox commitment, we have pledged to eliminate and ban certain chemical groups from production.
- The testing limits defined by ALDI for both the chemical groups concerned and waste water are listed within the M-RSL (PDF), which is attached to the ALDI Detox commitment. Furthermore, the attachment also contains testing limits for products (PDF).
- Our suppliers and commissioned production facilities are required to comply with the limits and threshold values which apply to the chemical raw substances, the materials used, and, thus, the final products. For this reason, suppliers and production facilities are provided with specialised training.
- The PFCs (per- and polyfluorinated compounds) used for the production of water, oil, and stain-repellent textiles will be replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives. Since 2015, textiles and shoes which have been produced with alternative water-repellent finishing agents, for example using the ecological and sustainable 'bionic-finish®eco' and 'Teflon EcoElite™' technologies' have been offered for sale. ALDI has obliged all of its business partners to completely abstain from using PFC as of 31 December 2016.
- APEOs (alkylphenole ethoxylates) which are used, for example, during washing processes are also being replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives in production. We have contractually agreed with our suppliers to replace APEOs with more environmentally sound alternatives as of 31 December 2016 at the latest.
- ALDI has appointed testing institutes to regularly check compliance with the agreed threshold values (in accordance with the M-RSL) (PDF) by analysing the waste water and sludge produced by the production facilities. The test results are published on a publicly accessible platform (IPE) as agreed with Greenpeace.
- We demand that all wet-processing facilities reported to us possess valid wastewater and sludge analysis reports and can produce the corresponding test results.
- ALDI encourages our suppliers to establish suitable chemical management processes throughout the supply chain in order to fulfil our Detox requirements. In conjunction with the production facilities, products will also be analysed in accordance with the current RSL (PDF).
- Together with our suppliers, research and industry partners, ALDI will jointly publish regular information on case studies (Case study on subsititon of PFCs/Case study on substitution of APEOs/Case study on substitution of DMFs) and practical examples on the www.subsport.org internet platform. Furthermore, ALDI promotes active dialogue between suppliers, production facilities, the chemical industry, and the testing institutes.
- We wish to promote best practice examples made within our supply chain and share our knowledge with interested stakeholders. Here (PDF) you can find a case study on one of our supply chain partners in India which produces textiles using zero wastewater, therefore ensuring greater environmental protection in textile production.
- These processes will not only change the standards applied but also establish certification schemes and initiatives. ALDI is actively considering these approaches and evaluates both their effectiveness and feasibility with regard to achieving our goals set for 2020.
- ALDI defines procedures for dealing with cases of non-compliance with set requirements within the supply chains.
Supply Chain Management
How we keep our supply chain clean
Changing chemical formulas across the textile and shoe supply chains constitutes only one part of our efforts as ALDI also supports suppliers in motivating their business partners to comply with the Detox requirements. ALDI is also currently establishing an objective rating system as a guideline for our Corporate Buying departments.
- Our buying processes reflect the Detox requirements.
- ALDI provides instruments which enable our business partners to support their own business partners and pre-producers in implementing the changes necessary to ensure compliance with ecological standards. ALDI aims to raise the awareness of pre-producers and production facilities regarding their responsibility.
- In order to make our supply chains fit for the future, ALDI is currently compiling a criteria and ratings catalogue. This will include, among other things, the results of the waste water and sludge analyses together with the product tests, all of which will be taken into account to evaluate our supply chains.
- ALDI establishes follow-up routines for cases of non-compliance as well as corresponding measures and consequences, which are to be taken as applicable.
How we effectively use the data collected
The successful implementation of the ALDI Detox commitment requires the collection and analysis of a vast volume of data. ALDI will use the knowledge gained for the purpose of changing the processes throughout our supply chains.
- We are increasing the transparency of our supply chain: existing IT systems have been modified to enable the processing and evaluation of complex data. At the same time, an internal monitoring, verification, and rating system has been developed.
- Within the scope of the extended data collection process, we continuously update internal processes and documents, such as relevant tender and contract documents, wherever required.
- Results of chemical tests will be uploaded to the publicly accessible IPE internet platform as agreed with Greenpeace, which in turn increases transparency.
- ALDI regularly discusses the knowledge gained with relevant business partners to jointly develop improvements throughout the supply chains.
How we raise the awareness of all parties concerned
In order to reach our goal, we need to achieve a shift in awareness across all stages of the production processes and help to increase the necessary knowledge and capacities – from Buying departments to the producers. In this context, ALDI suppliers are of great importance as they assume responsibility for selecting production facilities which are motivated to drive the change.
- We work to gradually build on the knowledge of the Detox requirements among our employees and suppliers as well as the production facilities which they use. This is achieved, for example, by means of internal training measures held within the relevant fields and also special supplier training sessions.
- Detox training materials are compiled and kept up to date. This documentation includes complete background information, details regarding chemical management, and guidelines on the implementation of the ALDI Detox requirements.
- In terms of acquiring qualification, our suppliers are our key focus. They assume considerable responsibility for promoting local transition processes. For this reason, our suppliers cooperate with external advisors, service providers, and experts in order to assist the production facilities in reaching their goals. For this purpose, we provide them with a contact person and our ALDI teams on site also support them with regard to crucial aspects of the transition process.
- ALDI is constantly engaging in dialogue with its main suppliers to discuss potential solutions and identify best practice for all suppliers.
- ALDI is committed to encouraging relevant business partners to comply with ecological and social standards across the supply chains and work towards a gradual improvement.
- ALDI considers this commitment an element of corporate responsibility management.
How we engage in dialogue with stakeholder groups
Proactive, public, and transparent: ALDI will publish regular information about its progress and the steps planned with respect to the Detox commitment.
- We publish the complete Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (PDF) and Restricted Substances List (PDF) in their most recent versions and upload the data on wastewater and sludge analyses conducted at production facilities to the publicly accessible IPE internet platform as agreed with Greenpeace.
- In regular intervals, we communicate the current status of our already implemented measures by means of our progress reports in order to promote adherence to ecological production standards throughout our supply chain. We will update our roadmap and publish information on the challenges faced at regular intervals.
- ALDI engages in dialogue with relevant stakeholder groups on topics such as production-related transformations and developments, and to promote sustainable consumption within the context of its Detox commitment.
- We will continue to drive progress through our work in various initiatives, working groups, and associations. For this purpose, we enter into collaborations with other market players in order to jointly address the challenges faced within global and complex supply chains. For example, ALDI is an active member of the Leather Working Group, the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles initiated by the German government, and the amfori Business Environmental Performance Initiative (amfori BEPI). Moreover, we have been a participant of the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) since 2017.
Transparency throughout our supply chains is of considerable importance to ALDI (example: ALDI SOUTH Germany).
ALDI will support a systemic change across the society, which will impact our business, our product design, our suppliers, and also our customers. This change focusses on the promotion of more sustainable products and production processes as well as on responsible consumption behaviour. It ranges from banning the 11 hazardous chemical groups and improving product lifecycles to recycling efforts.
- We are increasing knowledge at each stage of the textile production processes to monitor compliance with the Detox requirements during production.
- In order to further improve the products with regard to the product lifecycle, ALDI will evaluate optimised product designs for textiles and shoes together with suppliers. In this context, ALDI will review the concept of re-using original materials by means of effective collection processes, environmentally friendly reprocessing of the products collected, and through recycling. Within the scope of pilot programmes, ALDI intends to trial closed product lifecycles and recycle/reuse concepts.
- The results obtained will be integrated into the long-term commitment. Another goal of the ALDI commitment is to provide customers with ways to make their use of textile products more sustainable and responsible.
- In different product areas, ALDI already supports the promotion of more sustainable resources, for example, by using our position as a food retailer to offer products which carry sustainability labels due to their characteristics. We will also use the experiences gained in the different areas for the purpose of implementing the ALDI Detox commitment.
- ALDI jointly promotes this change by collaborating with the textile and chemical industry as well as the scientific community in order to trial new approaches and processes in a target-oriented way.