Requirements for chemical management

 

Please note that this English version serves merely as a translation of the original German version. In the event of inconsistent or ambiguous content, the German original version shall prevail.

The Detox Commitment and the ALDI M-RSL

International and national legislation and guidelines regulate the use of chemicals. However, especially in developing and emerging countries, the applicable legal requirements are often insufficient or not consistently adhered to. Our goal is to successively eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals during the production of garments, household textiles, and shoes and to replace these substances with safer alternatives wherever possible. Our ALDI M-RSL/RSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substances List/Restricted Substances List) is a key tool for this purpose and forms part of all relevant contracts concluded with our business partners. Besides our existing quality guidelines, we have published this document on our websites in 2015. The ALDI M-RSL/RSL defines substances which may either not be used at all or only to a limited extent for the production of goods intended for ALDI. The aim of this list is to regulate the use of chemicals during the production of textile and shoes, as these substances involve potential risks to people and the environment. While the ALDI M-RSL defines threshold values for chemical residues contained in wastewater and sludge generated by the production facilities, the ALDI RSL defines threshold values for the finished products. Our specialists conduct an annual comparison of the RSL with the most recent requirements and make amendments where necessary.

The ALDI 'Eliminiation Strategy' for the 11 hazardous chemicals groups

The next steps of the elimination strategy will be focused on prohibiting the deliberate use of APEOs and PFCs and, subsequently, the use of other selected chemical groups. Consequently, we are gradually requesting our suppliers and the wet production facilities to concentrate on specific fields of action (see figure titled 'Steps of our elimination strategy'). For all remaining chemical groups, we will continue to pursue their elimination by 1 January 2020 as defined within our Detox Commitment.

  1. 1 March 2019: No violation of PFC and APEO threshold values applicable to wastewater and sludge;
  2. 1 April 2019: No violation of organotin compound and azo dye threshold values applicable to wastewater and sludge;
  3. 1 July 2019: No violation of chlorophenole and short-chain chlorinated paraffin threshold values applicable to wastewater and sludge
  4. 1 October2019: No violation of chlorobenzene threshold values applicable to wastewater and sludge

In future, the basis of production facilities used for production intended for ALDI will be limited to those partners who are willing to follow this path jointly with us. In order to promote the implementation of the strategy, we provide training measures and conduct Chemical Management Audits (CMAs).

The 'clean factory' approach aims to replace hazardous chemicals used with harmless alternatives throughout the entire production process. In a nutshell, 'clean factory' means that a certain production facility completely – not only for the production of goods for ALDI – refrains from using hazardous chemicals. In order to provide the wet-processing facilities with suitable tools for complying with this obligation, we defined the requirement that all chemicals used must be compliant with the ZDHC MRSL already in 2016. The ZDHC MRSL specifies relevant threshold values for chemicals used during production ('input chemicals') and, consequently, supplements the ALDI M-RSL/RSL. 

Achieving improvements through consistent chemical management processes

In order to achieve compliance with all Detox goals in the long term, we develop input and output-oriented requirements and, thus, focus on two different starting points within the production process. 

Since the end of 2015, we have made it a requirement for wastewater and sludge analyses to be conducted at wet-processing facilities. The output requirement is assessed at least once per year at the production facilities. The samples are taken on site by an accredited testing institute specifically nominated by us for this purpose, and tested for compliance with our M-RSL threshold values. The results of the analyses are then communicated to us, the suppliers, and to the production facilities. In our annual progress reports, we already report in extracts of the analytical data. A more general overview of the data is made available here.

Illustration of the processes described