Using resources responsibly
More sustainable agricultural practices and the responsible use of resources help protect the environment as well as ensure the long-term availability of resources.
At group level, we have carried out a materiality analysis of CR criteria in buying, taking into account both the perspectives of internal and external stakeholders as well as the developments in our national markets. Our activities focus in particular on those resources which are most relevant for our product range at an international level and for which great action is needed. At the moment, these include palm oil, timber, cocoa, coffee, fish and seafood, as well as the topic of animal welfare.
Transition to sustainable palm oil production
Due to its many useful properties, palm oil can be found in numerous food and non-food products. Palm oil has many characteristics – it is temperatureresistant, easy to process, and odourless – that make it ideal for numerous applications.
However, cultivation of palm oil has led to the clearance of large areas of tropical rainforest and continues to do so. Consequently, high volumes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere, local populations are deprived of their livelihoods, ecosystems are destroyed, and biodiversity is reduced.
Nevertheless, replacing palm oil with other types of vegetable oils or fats is not always feasible due to palm oil’s unique properties. Moreover, the palm fruit is a highly efficient source of vegetable oil, meaning that in order to generate the same amount of oil from rapeseed, sunflower seed, soy, or coconut, a cultivation area 2.5 to 7 times larger would be required. If demand were to increase for alternative oils, it could cause more competition for agricultural land that could be used for other food crops.
For these reasons, ALDI SOUTH has committed itself to using sustainably produced palm oil. As of the end of 2015 we had already changed production of all our own-brand food products in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, and Australia to use palm oil certified according to the standard of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). ALDI SOUTH supports exclusively the certifications “identity preserved”, “segregated”, and “mass balance” and requires evidence of the supply chain’s certification to be provided by the last production facility in the chain. In individual cases exceptions are made for small amounts of palm oil derivatives and fractions where physically traceable palm oil is not yet available.✓
We have set ourselves the goal of using exclusively RSPO-certified palm oil in our own-brand food products in all countries by the end of 2018. We are also engaged in dialogue with producers and importers of palm oil, the processing industry, and manufacturers about increasing the availability of certified palm oil derivatives and fractions, used in articles like washing powder and cosmetics.
Wood and paper from sustainable sources
In 2009 we committed to sourcing wood and paper from recycled materials or certified sources (FSC, PEFC) for our products containing wood or paper as well as for communication materials and pulp-based packaging. Thus, we strive to counter the negative consequences of global deforestation. In Europe, this has already been implemented for pulp-based products such as paper towels and cosmetic wipes, toilet paper, and facial tissues. In the USA and Australia, our implementation process is making good progress. In addition, all of our advertising materials have already been completely converted. We will work to transition other wood and paper products as well as primary and secondary pulp-based packaging to sustainable sources by the end of 2020. (Avoiding waste and recycling reusables)
Cocoa from sustainable cultivation
Cocoa is primarily cultivated in tropical and equatorial countries – mainly by small farmers in areas frequently impacted by political and social conflicts. In these areas monocultures and the intense use of pesticides and herbicides negatively impact the environment. Adherence to social standards, in particular to avoid child labour, continues to be a challenge in the area of cocoa cultivation.
ALDI SOUTH is committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation of cocoa, with the support of the sustainability standards UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fairtrade. We have already converted the majority of our products. By the end of 2020 all our own-brand chocolate and biscuits will use exclusively certified cocoa.
ALDI SOUTH in Germany has been an active member of the multi-stakeholder initiative “German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa” since 2015.
Coffee is among the world’s most-traded raw materials. It is primarily cultivated by small farms in sub-tropical regions. As a result, many of the same conditions are seen in coffee cultivation as in cocoa cultivation, with fair working conditions and more efficient cultivation methods being key challenges.
In order to tackle these challenges, ALDI SOUTH has included sustainably sourced coffee (Fairtrade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and 4C Association) in its range. In 2015, this amounted to 30% of the total amount of our coffee.
Since early 2016, ALDI SOUTH in Germany has been actively involved in a cooperative initiative with Fairtrade in Honduras. The project’s goal is to improve living conditions for smallholders.
Requirements for fish and other seafood products
Unsustainable fishing practices endanger marine ecosystems and the long-term availability of fish as an important food source. Even with fish from aquaculture, the adherence to environmental standards cannot always be guaranteed.
Across all countries, ALDI SOUTH has increased the sustainability level of its fish and seafood product range. All national organisations have defined national buying policies, which are equally binding for both our suppliers and our buyers. We review our range of fish and seafood products on the basis of external expertise – provided by Greenpeace and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), among others – for aspects such as species, fishing area, and fishing methods. We evaluate our national fish buying policies annually and amend them as appropriate. (Sustainable fisheries: Insight ALDI US) Over the last few years, we have continually increased the percentage of products in our range that are certified according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Bio (organic), GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture, or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) 2 Stars standards.
More sustainable fishery practices
We use pilot projects to promote more sustainable seafood production. In Morocco, ALDI SOUTH is supporting a project to improve sustainable sardine fishing. As a member of the Asia Reduction Fisheries Supplier Roundtable, we are committed to a solution-oriented approach to improving economical, social, and environmental aspects of procurement methods for fish and other seafood in Southeast Asia. Hofer in Austria has launched a project to foster sustainable prawn production in West Bengal, together with a longterm supplier and with the support of the Austrian Development Agency. As part of the project, a certified-organic supply chain for prawns was developed, in addition to implementing social and environmental improvements.
Dedication to improved animal welfare
Many of our products contain meat or other animal products: fresh meat, eggs, and milk, but also wool, cosmetics, and household items. The ALDI SOUTH Group’s aim is to support its suppliers in improving animal welfare.
Regarding animal welfare, the regulatory framework as well as expectations and priorities vary among the countries in which ALDI SOUTH operates. All the national organisations have defined animal welfare policies which are based on the “5 Freedoms” according to the British Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC). These guidelines cover the exclusion of certain products as well as traceability, transparency, independent monitoring, and research projects for the improvement of animal welfare.
ALDI SOUTH in Germany was instrumental in the founding of the German Initiative Tierwohl organisation, a cross-sector alliance dedicated to enhancing sustainability and animal welfare in the meat-producing sector.