Protection of human rights at ALDI SOUTH
As an international company with global supply chains, we are aware of our responsibility towards the protection of human rights. The ALDI SOUTH Group is certain that long-term business success can only be ensured if human rights are acknowledged and protected.
We believe that companies should be committed to respecting human rights and preventing human rights violations. Our commitment therefore encompasses our own business operations and our business relationships, as well as those indirectly caused by our actions.
The ALDI SOUTH Group respects all internationally recognised human rights. There are certain human rights aspects that are of increased relevance to us as a food retailer and vendor of non-food as our actions could have a stronger impact on these. These include discrimination, health and safety, freedom of association, remuneration, working hours, child labour and forced labour. We review our human rights impact, in particular our areas of focus, in cooperation with external experts.
Our Human Rights Policy Statement outlines our human rights due diligence process and future commitments.
“We are really pleased that the ALDI SOUTH Group has committed to publish a statement regarding respect for human rights. The continuous implementation of human rights due diligence processes in businesses' own operations and along the value chain is one of the core objectives of the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact and the United Nations Global Sustainability Goals.”
Marcel Engel, Executive Director, German Global Compact Network (DGCN)
- International CR Report 2017
- International CR Report Update 2016
- International CR Report 2015
- ALDI SOUTH Germany CR brochure
- ALDI UK Modern Slavery statement
- ALDI US California Transparency in Supply Chains Act statement
- ALDI SOUTH Germany publication of factories for textiles and shoes
- Detox Progress Report
Identification of potential negative impacts
Identification of potential negative impacts
We are aware of the fact that our actions and those of our business partners can have a potentially negative impact on human rights throughout our supply chain. In line with our obligation under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts directly linked to our operations, products or services and we continuously carry out human rights due diligence to identify human rights-related risks, for example, ongoing research and hot spot analyses. In addition, we also consult with external experts, for example, within the scope of an extensive stakeholder survey, and consider their assessment for all of our actions.
We gain regular insights into the working conditions at production facilities used for making our non-food products in risk countries through certification, comprehensive social audits conducted by external service providers, our own production facility assessments - ALDI Social Assessments (ASAs) - performed locally by our expert staff, as well as direct dialogue with suppliers. Furthermore, we are increasing the frequency at which we undertake business trips to the countries of production and origins of our merchandise to gain a clearer picture of conditions on the ground. On site, we engage in dialogue with stakeholders and individuals who are potentially affected in order to improve the identification and early prevention of instances where human rights are not respected.
Human rights risk assessment
Furthermore, as a food retailer, we place a particular focus on the identification of human rights-related risks in food products. Alongside other measures, we are increasing the number of social audits and visits conducted for our food product supply chains either by our own employees or with the assistance of external third parties. Together with an independent service provider specialising in sustainability issues, we have now also comprehensively examined the human rights risks which are present throughout our supply chains for food products. The aim of this assessment was to identify human rights risks and our greatest level of influence throughout the global supply chains of the entire ALDI SOUTH Group. The scope of this assessment includes the entire supply chain with a special focus on the sourcing of raw materials and final assembly processes. We understand that the greatest risks lie at the raw material stage but our greatest influence is often at final assembly stage.
The assessment was based on internal data, such as buying volumes and the locations of producers and production facilities, as well as global industry data. In addition to this, several existing recognised indicators and analyses were included such as the Global Slavery Index, the Environmental Performance Index, and the Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International.
In addition to social risks, the assessment covered environmental risks (for example climate vulnerability, water scarcity, and industrial pollution) throughout the supply chain, as these also have an indirect impact on human rights. An overall risk assessment was undertaken for every country of origin or production from which we source our products.
The following eight indicators were used for the assessment:
Workers' rights: the risk that workers' rights could be violated, for example, by exceeding the permissible working hours, low wages, health and safety risks, workplace bullying, harassment and abuse, discrimination or restricted freedom of association.
Gender-based discrimination: assessment of unequal treatment between men and women (including specific challenges faced by women) and the risk of possible gender-specific discrimination, for example, through gender-based abuse or discrimination with regard to wages and working conditions.
Child labour: the risk that children undertake work that has a negative impact on their health and development and the risk of work by children of mandatory school age.
Forced/bonded labour: refers to modern forms of slavery and human trafficking, for example, by exerting pressure, withholding wages, or other forms of coercion.
Water scarcity: the risk that a country's demand for water exceeds its availability. This is accompanied by limited access to a water supply - for personal consumption and/or as a source of income.
Climate vulnerability: assessment of the current and future risk that a certain country is exposed to extreme weather events. In addition, the willingness of the private and public sectors to invest in the necessary modifications was also assessed (for example in the case of drought, flood or hurricane).
Deforestation/land conversion: the likelihood that products are cultivated on land which was recently a forest area with high conservation value, which may mean that forests were destroyed and land rights violated.
Industrial pollution: pollution caused by the manufacturing of products, which then leads to air and water contamination, (chemical) waste and noise pollution.
The graphics show the raw materials and product groups which present a high risk of human rights violations and are considered most important to ALDI in terms of leverage:
- Raw material level:
- Tropical Fruit
- Production facility level:
- Fish and seafood
- Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables
- Dressings, Oils, Sauces, Herbs and Spices
Measures taken and review of effectiveness
Measures taken and review of effectiveness
We see the risk assessment as a starting point for identifying major human rights risks throughout our supply chain and for determining the relevant areas of focus for our continued work.
As a next step, we will focus on the raw materials determined by the analysis to be of highest risk - coffee, cocoa, nuts, and tropical fruit, especially bananas - in the countries of origin which are most relevant for ALDI SOUTH. Subsequently, we will develop specific measures for reducing these risks. In future, we will significantly increase our commitment and efforts within the additional identified areas of risk within the scope of our international Responsible Sourcing Strategy, in addition to the current measures taken to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts.
We currently already implement a variety of different measures to reduce human rights risks within our food and non-food supply chains, for example:
- Employee training
- Consideration of established auditing and certification schemes when making buying decisions and the definition of goals (Activities and commitments in the areas of raw materials and production)
- Qualification of production facility staff within the scope of our ALDI Factory Advancement Project (AFA Project)
- Training for suppliers
- Assessment and, if required, exclusion of suppliers or growers/producers as a last resort
- Adjustment of our buying processes: human rights-related aspects are already considered during the tender process (intensified collaboration with suppliers with good CR performance)
- Implementation of projects at origin: coffee project in Honduras, ProPlanteurs in Côte d'Ivoire, shrimp projects in Costa Rica and India, support for palm oil smallholders in West Africa, climate protection projects (PrimaKlima) in Uganda, Cochabamba, and Bolivia (International activities)
- Review of the effectiveness of the measures taken within the scope of our origin and supply chain-related projects
According to our experience, the best way to improve the working conditions throughout our supply chains is by means of joint initiatives and partnerships – in particular if the problems are systemic and the relevant supply chains are shared with a large number of other companies. For this reason, we engage in product-specific multi-stakeholder initiatives, see section Third party memberships, initiatives and associations.
We publish regular information on the progress of our commitment to respecting and upholding human rights.
For further information on activities and commitments, see the following section Activities and commitments in the areas of raw materials and production.
Activities and commitments in the areas of raw materials and production
- International positions and policies on raw materials
- ALDI SOUTH Germany traceability via Tracking Codes on packaging
- Palm oil / palm kernel oil
- Sustainable cotton
- HOFER policies on wood and paper
- ALDI SOUTH Germany sustainable cocoa
- ALDI SOUTH Germany cocoa buying policy
- ALDI SOUTH Germany Fairtrade coffee project
- ALDI US Fish and seafood
- ALDI SOUTH Germany Fish and seafood
- HOFER Fish and seafood
- HOFER Fish and seafood traceability
- HOFER Soy standard
- HOFER Swiss soy network
- Detox Commitment
Third party memberships, initiatives and associations
- List of ALDI SOUTH Group initiatives and associations
- Bangladesh Accord
- Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien “German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles”
- Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
- World Banana Forum
- Forum for Sustainable Cocoa
- Global Coffee Platform
- Juice CSR Platform
- Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)
- Seafood Task Force
- ETI Italian Produce Working Group
- Food Network For Ethical Trade (FNET)