In dialogue with our stakeholders
Our operations have an impact on many people and organisations along the value chain. As a result, ALDI SOUTH must take into account highly varying interests in all of its corporate decisions. We maintain communications with our stakeholders at both a national and an international level. This allows us to address international topics without neglecting national specifics. This also helps us to define the focus of our actions.
Customer needs guide our actions
Our customers are our most important external stakeholders. Responding to their needs is imperative for our company’s success. We are also working to increase dialogue with customers outside of our stores, for example by increasing the activity of national organisations on social media. We also regularly learn more about our customers’ thoughts on our company and products via customer surveys. Moreover, we answer more than 2.1 million enquiries from customers annually – and the number of questions relating to sustainability is increasing every year.
Close dialogue with our employees
The dedication and expertise of the group’s employees are ALDI SOUTH’s most important resource. We value employee satisfaction and a cooperative corporate culture. The ALDI Management System has been the foundation of our personnel management for decades. It describes how employees and management cooperate and communicate within our companies. The concerns and suggestions of our employees are compiled through regular staff surveys. We then use these surveys to determine fields of action and introduce initiatives that take into account the needs of our employees. We have also established independent points of contact in all national organisations that our staff can turn to confidentially. (Honest and fair cooperation, Compliance and risk management)
Cooperative relationships with suppliers
Business relationships with our suppliers and partners that are based on fairness and trust are another important building block for our success. We aim for robust partnerships where both partners meet high expectations. Transparency with regard to expectations of one another and ongoing dialogue form the foundation of our partnerships. Together with our suppliers we work to optimise our products and processes and improve compliance with social and environmental standards in the sourcing countries.
Involvement in associations and initiatives
The ALDI SOUTH Group maintains a close exchange of information with trade associations, interest groups, and public bodies and participates in topic-related working groups and forums. We contribute our expertise and experience and, in return, we benefit from national and international dialogue. (Memberships)
Regular stakeholder engagement
All national organisations maintain communication with their relevant stakeholders. At international level, the department Corporate Responsibility International is responsible for communicating with stakeholders and representing the positions jointly adopted by the ALDI SOUTH Group’s national organisations in international bodies and associations.
In 2015 we interviewed stakeholders from several different countries and sectors regarding our CR fields of action – customers, supply chain, people, community, and environment. We wanted to know how our company and our performance was perceived with respect to sustainability and to assess how this must translate to future action.
The results of the stakeholder interviews were taken into account during the creation of a materiality matrix in which the CR topics are weighted from the point of view of the stakeholders as well as of the ALDI SOUTH Group. The topics determined to be extremely relevant are the quality and safety of our products, building up our suppliers’ competence with regard to maintaining social standards, and workplace-related topics such as corporate culture and values as well as training and professional development. In future, we will continue to give these topics particular consideration.
Dialogue with stakeholder groups is also managed at a national level: ALDI Australia, for instance, conducted a stakeholder survey in winter 2014/2015. As part of its “Project 2020” sustainability initiative, Hofer in Austria established a four-person Stakeholder Council to ensure direct contact with relevant stakeholder groups.