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Human Rights

Our Vision 2030: 

Using our buying power to respect human rights.

Our Approach

We are committed to respecting human rights and improving living and working conditions throughout our supply chains. Our commitment encompasses any adverse impact on human rights that we might cause, contribute to or are directly linked to.

In order to make a real difference, we have established a wide range of partnerships with organisations including suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, governments, and NGOs. Together we can improve the lives of workers and their families in many different ways; these include promoting better working and living conditions for workers and their families, paying fair wages, empowering women, clamping down on child labour and increasing the transparency in our supply chains.

Our Actions

Responsibility to respect human rights

The ALDI SOUTH Group respects all internationally recognised human rights. Certain human rights aspects are of increased relevance to us as a food and non-food retailer, these include non-discrimination, health and safety, freedom of association, fair remuneration, working hours, prohibition of child labour and forced labour. We work with external experts and utilise the knowledge of our internal teams to review our human rights impact.

Human rights violations are a global problem affecting every economy, industry and sector. We have an important role to play in raising awareness of human rights and working collaboratively with our business partners and other external parties, such as governments and trade unions, to prevent or mitigate the adverse impact of our business or remediate where necessary. Our approach is based upon understanding the complexities of the issues and continually improving the processes that we have in place to prevent negative impacts.

We understand that weak, or lack of, existing legislation and lack of compliance and minimum standards in some countries are not conducive to achieving just and favourable conditions of work and wages, for example forced or child labour. Therefore, we adopt more stringent standards to mitigate the specific risks of rights violations that workers in some sourcing countries face, for example in Bangladesh and Myanmar. We acknowledge the positive role of trade unions in protecting workers’ rights, and that labour rights violations can occur when trade unions are absent or weak. We understand the potential negative impact if trade union activity is restricted.

Identification of risks

The ALDI SOUTH Group strives to reduce any adverse impact on human rights that our business operations could have. We use activities such as risk assessments, audits, and supplier assessments to identify the actual and potential risks in our food and non-food supply chains.

Human rights impact assessments

We are developing specific measures to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts identified during our risk assessment in 2018. We are carrying out detailed human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) for three high priority raw materials - Brazil nuts, coffee and avocado - to identify, understand and assess the potential and actual adverse effects of our business activities on workers and other affected rights-holders such as community members, smallholder farmers and women. They will be based on background research and engagement with rights-holders in the field. Despite the persisting challenges due to the global pandemic, we plan to publish our results by the end of 2021.

Working together with key stakeholders

We believe that a collaborative approach is the best way to ensure human rights are respected. Therefore, we seek dialogue with rights holders and duty bearers, through our key partnerships and memberships.

Our Goals & Performance (2019)

Focus Area: Human RightsBy measuring our progress against our Corporate Responsibility goals on a regular basis, we are continuously validating the effectiveness of our actions. 

 

 

Our Projects

General

Anke Ehlers cutting cake on the opening of the Bangladesh CR office
International organisation
ALDI CR offices in Asia

Each of the ALDI SOUTH Group’s national organisations sources products from Asia. To minimise the risks relating to working conditions and ensure compliance with our high standards, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with ALDI Nord, has been operating its own CR office in Hong Kong since 2012 and established a second CR office in Bangladesh in 2017.

The focus of these CR offices is to monitor our business partner’ production facilities and the performance of our business partners with regard to social compliance. For this purpose, the CR offices conduct ALDI Social Assessments in the production facilities on behalf of the ALDI SOUTH Group and provide support to business partners on how to implement them.

More on 'Company Profile'
Male and female people sitting around in circle
Project in Bangladesh
ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project

ALDI is committed to promoting human rights in the garment industry. With the ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with ALDI Nord, has introduced a programme which delivers change in factories that produce our garments in Bangladesh.

Launched in 2013, the AFA Project places factory workers and managers at the centre of its activities to find sustainable solutions for improved workplaces. Its core principle is the promotion of dialogue and cooperation between workers and managers. To date, approximately 85,000 workers and their managers of 40 participating factories have benefitted from the project and experienced positive changes in their day-to-day working environment.

More about 'AFA Project'
Picture drawn from a child showing the scene from a child care service
Project in Bangladesh
AFA Project Plus for child care services

From 2016 until 2019, the AFA Project PLUS addressed the critical need for quality childcare for the children of working parents in factories that produce our textile goods in Bangladesh. ALDI supported selected factories participating in the AFA Project in improving their internal day-care services.

Many workers are reliant on these services due to financial constraints and a lack of alternative care options. Together with local non-governmental organisations, we trained caregivers, childcare centre supervisors, nurses and parents working at the factory. 

More about 'AFA Project'

Food

Many cocoa fruits stacked together
Projects in Côte d’Ivoire, membership & working group
Cocoa

PRO PLANTEURS project in Côte d'Ivoire

Since 2015, as a member of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) we have worked in partnership with the German government and the government of Côte d'Ivoire in a joint project. PRO-PLANTEURS works together with 25,000 cocoa farmers, including female farmers, their families, and their cooperatives. Successes of the first project phase were

  • Professionalisation of cooperatives
  • Increase in farmers’ cocoa yields
  • Farmer training in Good Agricultural Practices and professional business management
  • Diversification of agricultural production and nutrition.

In the PRO-PLANTEURS project, women are specifically trained on good nutrition and the cultivation of food crops for their own use. This allows women to be  more financially independent by selling and consuming the harvest of food crops.

In June 2020 PRO-PLANTEURS started its second project phase with a focus on contributing to better living and working conditions of about 30,000 cocoa farmers.

 

Fairtrade cocoa project in Côte d'Ivoire

Since 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group and Fairtrade  have been collaborating on a project in Côte d’Ivoire to improve working conditions and livelihoods for local cocoa farmers. The project analyses the impact of ALDI’s business operations on the community and environment, increases traceability of our cocoa products and provides a basis for further projects together with Fairtrade. As part of the project, ALDI’s business partner will source cocoa beans which are 100% traceable from the selected cooperative for our cocoa-based products.

Closing the living income gap for cocoa farmers 

In 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group has joined forces with the chocolate producer Barry Callebaut and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation to support Ghanaian cocoa farmers to generate alternative income sources to cocoa. The two-year project is co-funded by the Belgian initiative ‘Beyond Chocolate’, which is funded by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and coordinated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

The project is intended to support achieving the living income target of ‘Beyond Chocolate’. The following activities are included in the project:

  • Approximately 80 households will benefit from the rejuvenation of 40 hectares of old cocoa farms.
  • 77 ‘Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs)’ will be formed empowering women and young people to invest in enterprises and households.
  • Approximately 1,000 farmers will be provided with official land titles to secure ownership and allow long-term investments on farms.
  • Between 400 - 500 households will be supported in setting up alternative income sources via poultry farming and energy efficient cook stoves.

German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO)

ALDI has been an active member of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) since 2015 and works with other members to achieve the initiative’s objectives.  This multi-stakeholder initiative aims to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers and their families, to contribute to a secure living, to conserve and protect natural resources and biodiversity in cocoa producing countries, as well as to increase cultivation and commercialisation of sustainably produced cocoa. ALDI is actively engaged in the sustainability and PRO-PLANTEURS working groups, which focus on the implementation of GISCO’s goals and monitoring the PRO-PLANTEURS project.

Retailer Cocoa Collaboration

In September 2019, the ALDI SOUTH Group joined the newly-formed Retailer Cocoa Collaboration (RCC) which commits to support the Cocoa and Forests Initiative. This initiative will drive change by protecting and restoring forests in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Colombia. The RCC will also map collective cocoa supply chains to gain a greater understanding of the social and environmental risks found in production countries. The trader assessment conducted by RCC will also provide us with greater transparency and insight into lower supply chain tiers.

More on 'Cocoa'
Coffee bush with red coffee fruit
Project in Honduras & membership
Coffee

Fairtrade coffee project in Honduras

Since 2016, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with TransFair e. V., has supported 22 Fairtrade certified coffee cooperatives in Honduras, directly benefitting over 4,600 farmers, including over 1,000 female farmers, and their families. The project is implemented by Fairtrade. Through its standards, Fairtrade fosters collective organisation of smallholder farmers in so-called small-producer organisations, for instance farmer cooperatives or associations. With every Fairtrade-certified product and by supporting Fairtrade campaigns, we support collective organisation as well as other benefits for the farmers and their communities. With the Honduras project, we go a step further, supporting the farmers and collective organisation through additional activities.

In the current project phase with 16 cooperatives, the livelihoods and future perspectives of the participating coffee farmers, their cooperatives and families will be improved by:

  • Improved administrative capacities, organizational structures and internal policies of the cooperatives
  • Improved ecological practices contributing to climate change resilience
  • Improved coffee quality and sales under Fairtrade terms
  • Stronger integration of women, youth, children and indigenous groups into decision making processes of cooperatives and advocacy initiatives at community level
  • Pilot initiatives for income diversification and child protection

The project follows up on the rights and protection of vulnerable groups as well as promotes the empowerment of next generation farmers and women in the different organisational processes related to cooperatives, productive and marketing aspects, as well as the search for spaces to achieve knowledge transfer within the organizations.

The project also includes income diversification for women and youth by incentivising cooperatives to develop activities to promote women/youth committees and groups.

Sustainable Coffee Challenge

In 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group became a member of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC). In the SCC, we collaborate with other retailers, traders, governments, NGOs, and research institutions on improving living and working conditions in the global coffee sector.

More on 'Coffee'
Fish swarm in blue ocean water
Copyright: HOFER
Project & partnerships
Fish and seafood

Fishery improvement project in Morocco

The project aims to sustainably improve fishery management in order to ensure fishing practices, which comply with the MSC criteria in the long term. Since 2014, the ALDI SOUTH Group initiated project concerning the active improvement of the sustainability of sardine fishing in Morocco.

Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST)

In 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group proudly joined the ‘Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability’ (GDST). This is another important step towards improving traceability throughout the fish and seafood supply chain and to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The GDST is an international, business-to-business platform established to advance a unified framework for seafood traceability practices. The initiative brings together a broad spectrum of seafood industry stakeholders from across different parts of the seafood supply chain and  civil society experts. We are committed to implement the ‘GDST 1.0 Standards and Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems’ in our company and will work together with our suppliers for the implementation of the standard in our supply chain.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)

Since 2012, we have worked in collaboration with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), a leading non-governmental organisation.  Their focus is to improve the sustainability of wild fisheries as well as aquaculture. The SFP acts as our independent adviser on fish sustainability and rates the sustainability of the fish and seafood used in our own label products and provide recommendations to drive continuous improvement of fisheries. Through our partnership, we can gain better insight into how to source more sustainable seafood products. 

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Since 2010, we are collaborating with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the field of sustainable fishing and aquaculture farming. The WWF acts as an independent adviser on fish sustainability and rates the sustainability of the fish and seafood used in our private label products. The WWF also provides us with recommendations to drive continuous improvement of fisheries and aquacultures.

Seafood Task Force

Since 2017, the ALDI SOUTH Group is a member of the Seafood Task Force, a multi-stakeholder initiative seeking to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in an effort to address human rights issues and marine conservational problems, which are believed to be closely interlinked.

The Seafood Task Force uses the combined knowledge and experience of its membership to address complex supply chain issues that cannot be solved individually. The aim is to achieve clean seafood supply chains from vessel to retailer through driving oversight and continuous improvement across people, product, process and policy.

Aquaculture Technical Committee of the certification scheme GLOBALG.A.P

Credible certification schemes like GLOBALG.A.P. are important tools to drive improvements and bolster our consumers’ trust. GLOBALG.A.P. sets standards for good agricultural and aquaculture practices (G.A.P.) and in May 2020, we followed the invitation to join the Aquaculture Technical Committee, which will enable us to promote improvements through a well-established dialogue with all relevant industry stakeholders.

 

More on 'Fish & Seafood'
Bucket of lemons
Copyright: ALDI SOUTH Germany
ALDI UK, ALDI SOUTH Germany & working group
Fresh produce

Project in Western Kenya

In 2016, ALDI UK became the first UK supermarket to team up with international development charity Farm Africa in a three-year partnership to support young farmers in Kenya. ALDI funds the Growing Futures project to educate and improve the lives of more than 450 young people in Kitale, Western Kenya.

The project trains young people how to grow high-quality crops, like green beans, tomatoes and kale, as well as how to run their farms as businesses. As well as assisting young farmers to improve the quality and amount of food they produce, the project will help ensure they are growing the most valuable crops, support them in finding the best contracts, and enable them to sell crops at higher value markets so they can find a lasting way out of poverty.

Producer assessment

ALDI SOUTH Germany is systematically introducing its own producer assessments for its range of fresh produce. The products and countries of origin in which ALDI SOUTH conducts the producer assessments are selected based on a risk analysis. Besides tropical fruits from Central and South America, assessments of the quality of fresh produce have also already been conducted in Southern Europe.

Working group

In line with our responsible sourcing strategy to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts of our business activity, the ALDI SOUTH Group has been an active member of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Italian Produce Working Group since 2018. ETI is a global alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers' rights and the Italian Produce Working Group aims to create a trusting, collaborative space, within which open dialogue can be held to share and discuss challenges and practical solutions for human rights issues with the Italian produce sector.

Cashew nuts in bush
Project in Vietnam
Nuts

Project in Vietnam

ALDI seeks to respect human rights and prevent violations in our Vietnamese cashew nut supply chain by supporting the Ethical Trade Norway’s Cashew project. The project strengthens labour standards while having a focus on women and vulnerable groups as well as improves environmental management.

Together with our cashew suppliers, ALDI encouraged processors in the Vietnamese cashew supply chain to participate in social dialogue training during September and November 2019. This training was designed to improve worker and management dialogue, grievance handling and knowledge of trade union rights. The project also trained farmers on labour standards, good agricultural and environmental practices. The project will continue to support farmers, workers and processors over the next year via further training and knowledge-sharing.

More on 'Nuts'
Palm seed in bowl
Project in Côte d'Ivoire & project groups
Palm oil

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

In 2011, the ALDI SOUTH Group became a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not-for-profit organisation that unites stakeholders from the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. The RSPO has more than 4,800 members worldwide who represent all links along the palm oil supply chain. They have committed to produce, source and/or use sustainable palm oil certified by the RSPO.

Working together

Since 2019, the ALDI SOUTH Group is the only retail representative of the RSPO Smallholder Standing Committee (SHSC). The SHSC’s responsibilities include overseeing the execution of the RSPO Smallholder Strategy and decision making throughout the implementation of the RSPO Smallholder Strategy.

Palm oil smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire (2017-2021)

Since 2017, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with ALDI Nord, have been supporting a smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire in order to pave the way for sustainable cultivation of palm. In close cooperation with our NGO partner Solidaridad, we have developed a project focussing on the protection of natural forests and environmentally friendly cultivation methods. Solidaridad offers training for 2,100 smallholders on natural forest protection and environmentally friendly cultivation methods, which are compatible with resource conservation requirements. The cooperatives engaged are COOPALEN, UCCOPES and COOPTOSA from the Sud Comoé region, UCOOPALM from the Grand Ponts region, USCOPAHLD from Loh Djiboua and U3SC from San Pedro.

Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC)

We are founding member of the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC). POTC is a group of businesses working together in a pre-competitive coalition to remove deforestation and exploitation from the palm oil sector. We engage and review the major international importers of palm oil to determine their progress towards tackling deforestation and exploitation in their palm oil supply chains. Our approach aims to promote transparency and encourage progress beyond certification.

Retailer Palm Oil Group (RPOG)

The ALDI SOUTH Group has been a member of the Retailers' Palm Oil Group (RPOG) since 2012. RPOG is a non-competitive coalition of retailers who have the common aim of making the use of sustainable palm oil the norm across all relevant supply chains.

More on 'Palm oil'
Logo of World Banana Forum
Working group & human rights assessment
Tropical fruit

Cost of sustainable production in the banana sector

As a member of the World Banana Forum, we are involved in the working group ‘Cost of Sustainable Production’. Its aim is to create transparency about living income and wages in the producing countries. On this basis, governments are supported in the assumption of their responsibility that minimum wages meet living wages and also their enforcement is controlled. In this context, we support the FAO World Banana Forum’s Living Wage Advocacy Initiative (LIWIN), which works towards the establishment of living income and wage benchmarks in several banana exporting countries and living income/wage advocacy activities with government, private sector and civil society organisations in major European importing countries.

Human rights assessment

In 2018, we comprehensively examined the human rights risks within our food and agriculture supply chains. We identified tropical fruit as a raw material with a high risk of human rights violations and consider it to be very important to us in terms of leverage.

In 2020, we will carry out detailed human rights impact assessments for avocados to identify, understand and assess the effects of our business activities on workers and other affected rights-holders.

More on 'Tropical fruit'

Non-Food

Hand holding cotton
International goal & projects in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Mozambique
Cotton

International goal

Together with our business partners, we are committed to standards that achieve long-term sustainable improvements in the cultivation of cotton. We will ensure to use 100% sustainable cotton for our ALDI-exclusive garments and household textiles by 2025.

We prohibit our business partners from using cotton sourced from countries where cultivation and harvesting are systematically associated with human rights violations, such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Fairtrade project on cottonseed

Since 2018, ALDI SOUTH Germany has been supporting the Fairtrade project in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The project aims to empower smallholder farmers and to improve the quality and supply of cotton from Central Asia.

To reach the project goal the following measures are implemented:

  • Training for farmers on seed production and multiplication
  • Actions to combat GMO-contamination
  • Enlargement of cultivable acreage for organic cotton and yield
  • Knowledge management and sharing

Cotton made in Africa recycling project

In 2019, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the local cotton company SAN-JFS developed a recycling project in Mozambique. This project supports women from local farming communities who operate eco-collection points. Over 72,000 empty pesticide containers were collected and sent for recycling in the first year and benefitted up to 20,000 farmers. With the exclusive support of ALDI, the project is able to continue into a second phase and benefit even more farmers.

More on 'Cotton'
A bouqet of pink roses
ALDI UK
Flowers in Ethiopia

Since March 2019, ALDI UK has funded a project with the Fairtrade Foundation aimed at empowering women flower farm workers in Ethiopia. The four-year programme aims to build on Fairtrade’s impact and will benefit more than 11,000 flower farm workers.

It will deliver training in seven flower farms in subjects such as workers’ rights and gender equality, and offer strengthened support for gender committees and work with trade unions to advocate for fairer wages and improved structures to empower women on Fairtrade certified farms. The aim of the project is to both empower and protect women, and give them the tools and support they need to take on leadership roles on farms in their communities.

More on 'Fairtrade'
Logo of Accord
Process in Bangladesh
Grievance mechanism

ALDI SOUTH was one of the first signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (Accord) in 2013 and 2017. By signing this independent, legally binding agreement we have committed to improve the safety of the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) factories in our Bangladesh supply chain.

A key feature of the Accord is a grievance mechanism, which covers all workers in garment production facilities in Bangladesh producing for the ALDI SOUTH Group. We actively support the investigation and solution of grievances raised by workers through the Accord grievance mechanism.

More on 'Accord'
Asian garment fabric workers at work stations
CR Supplier Evaluation
Sustainable textiles

It is important to us that garment and household textiles, which are a regular component of our weekly special buys, are produced in an environmentally and socially sound way. Our goal for the future is to further expand our range of sustainable textiles and create even greater transparency in ALDI’s supply chain.

Since 2018, we have been annually evaluating the CR performance of all our international garment textiles business partners.

The Corporate Responsibility Supplier Evaluation (CRSE) is a comparable and transparent evaluation based on quantitative and qualitative indicators. The indicators focussing on our business partners’ social and environmental compliance management systems as well as their production facilities’ CR performance are derived from our CR Requirements, which form part of every contract.

The results of this evaluation increasingly influence our buying decisions. The CRSE supports long-term relationships with those business partners, who demonstrate a strong CR record and provides incentives for continuous improvement.

More on 'Textiles'
Two women holding ALDI donation sign
COVID-19 emergency relief in Bangladesh & Myanmar
ALDI & CARE support female garment workers

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on garment workers has been devastating. Women make up the majority of the garment sector workforce and  they have been affected the most. In 2020, CARE International and the ALDI SOUTH Group teamed up to protect the rights and needs of women in the garment sector in Bangladesh and Myanmar during the pandemic.

These efforts resulted in nearly 5,000 female workers receiving hygiene kits while 1,600 workers received household handwashing facilities in Bangladesh. In Myanmar, we were able to reach more than 76,000 factory workers with sanitising and disinfecting materials and provided face masks for more than 28,000 workers.

More on 'CARE'

Our Memberships & Partnerships

We believe the best way to protect the people and the planet is through joint initiatives and partnerships. For this reason, we engage in various multi-stakeholder initiatives.

Sustainable Development Goals

1 No poverty 2 Zero hunger 3 Good health and well-being 4 Quality education 5 Gender equality 8 Decent work and economic growth 10 Reduced inequalities 12 Responsible consumption and production 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions 17 Partnerships for the goals

UNGC

Human Rights

Principle 1

Support and respect the protection of human rights

Principle 2

Not complicit in human rights abuses

Labour

Principle 3

Uphold freedom of association and recognition of right to collective bargaining

Principle 4

Elimination of forced and compulsory labour

Principle 5

Abolition of child labour

Principle 6

Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

Anti-Corruption

Principle 10

Work against corruption in all its forms

GRI references

GRI 102: General disclosures 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 102-12 Global Reporting Initiative 102-13 Global Reporting Initiative 102-47

GRI 103: Management approach 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 103-1 Global Reporting Initiative 103-2 Global Reporting Initiative 103-3

GRI 408: Child labour 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 408-1

GRI 409: Forced or compulsory labour 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 409-1

GRI 412: Human rights assessment 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 412-1

GRI 414: Supplier social assessment

Global Reporting Initiative 414-1 Global Reporting Initiative 414-2