Strategy for sustainable business

» Simplicity and responsibility are core values of ALDI SOUTH. Our business model is simple: great quality at the best price, fair and honest product offers, and efficient business processes. In all we do, we assume responsibility towards our customers, business partners, employees, the community, and the environment. Our CR Principles summarise our commitments to people and planet. They guide all of us in our day-to-day actions and are a strict requirement of our business partners. «
(CR Principles)

The companies of the ALDI SOUTH Group are dedicated to the principle of corporate responsibility. In doing so, we focus on delivering maximum efficiency. This means that we:

  1. analyse the impact of our operations on society and the environment,
  2. identify topics and approaches for all relevant business processes,
  3. set measurable goals,
  4. plan and implement effective measures, and
  5. monitor implementation and make adjustments if and when necessary.

Guiding principles embedded throughout the company

ALDI SOUTH first defined CR Principles that apply across the group as early as 2010 and reviewed these in 2015. They define our understanding of responsibility towards people and the environment. They guide us in our day-to-day actions and are a strict requirement of our business partners. The CR Principles define our approach to our five central fields of action: customers, supply chain, people, community, and environment. (Focussing on the essentials)

Our understanding of responsible corporate governance is further specified in the ALDI Management System (AMS) and in our Code of Conduct (CoC). The AMS describes the main principles for leadership, organisation, and cooperation in our company. (Honest and fair cooperation) The Code of Conduct illustrates our understanding of integrity in corporate dealings and explains how this essential principle is to be adhered to in our daily business. (Compliance and risk management)

In areas where the company faces particular challenges, the ALDI SOUTH Group develops its own frameworks and guidelines. For example, we have developed our own set of standards for our suppliers, which target working conditions and social issues in production. (Safeguarding social and environmental standards)

National organisations manage local activities

The decentralised structure of the group is also reflected in the development and implementation of corporate responsibility strategies. The experience of the ALDI SOUTH national organisations in their respective countries forms the basis for the development of viable solutions that allow them to reach our common goals. Together, the national organisations decide on topics and goals with group relevance, which are then developed into international strategies for the individual CR areas. The goals agreed upon are summarised in an international action plan, which is updated annually. Taking into account these international strategies, the national organisations then formulate their own priorities and measures, which, depending on the national situation, may go above and beyond those agreed at international level.

All national organisations have established CR departments for the planning, management, and implementation of the measures, and which are responsible for the majority of the CR activities. In some countries, certain topics, e.g. individual aspects of our operations’ impact on the environment and climate, or certain personnel topics, are coordinated by one of the regional companies.

International coordination and presence in Asia

The service unit Corporate Responsibility International (CRI) is a central partner for the national organisations when it comes to topics with international relevance. The national organisations commission CRI with the aggregation and coordination of both strategic and operational issues. On their behalf, CRI analyses future developments in the area of sustainability, develops suggestions for the strategic coordination of activities, and manages the internal reporting process as well as external CR communication at group level. CRI also maintains contact with international stakeholders and represents the ALDI SOUTH Group’s national organisations in international committees and multistakeholder initiatives.

All the national organisations procure a portion of their goods from sourcing countries in Asia. In order to minimise risks relating to production conditions and to oversee compliance with our high standards, the ALDI SOUTH Group has established the CR Unit Asia in Hong Kong. Its primary task is to monitor our suppliers’ production facilities and CR performance. The CR Unit Asia performs checks of the working conditions in production facilities on behalf of the national organisations and supports suppliers in implementing social and environmental standards.

In order to meet our own standards as well as the expectations of our stakeholders, over recent years we have steadily increased the number of employees that work on corporate responsibility issues. In addition to the national organisations’ CR teams, in the international CRI unit alone – including the CR Unit Asia in Hong Kong – the number of staff grew from 36 to 44 in 2015.