Sustainable buying practices are essential for the long-term success of our business. Together with our business partners, we work towards increasing transparency and continuous improvement within supply chains.
We want to increase the share of sustainable products available to our customers. Our aspiration is that our products are made in a sustainable way and that we consider environmental and social criteria in our global supply chains - from raw materials to final production.
We will reduce food waste across our business, make other operational waste reusable or recyclable, reduce our own-brand product packaging weight and make the packaging we use 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.
The ALDI SOUTH Group’s commitment to corporate responsibility is not restricted to meeting minimum legal requirements. Our aim is to go above and beyond by defining and strengthening sustainability as a quality factor for our products. We focus on both the resources used in our products as well as the working conditions and environmental standards in production.
Transparency of supply chains
We attach great importance to sustainable production conditions in the manufacturing of food and non-food products. Supply chain transparency is the foundation for all our sustainability measures. Without the knowledge where our products come from, we cannot ensure compliance with our requirements, analyse risks, monitor or implement projects. We work with our business partners to increase the transparency of our supply chains so that we have a better understanding of the origins of the products we sell and the raw materials we use in our products.
In order to offer greater transparency to our customers, we are publishing the addresses and number of employees of all our main production facilities used for the manufacturing of garment textiles and shoes bought by the International Buying department. Production facilities are classified by product groups or country and the information will be updated bi-annually.
In 2021, we published the names and addresses of our direct business partners (tier 1 suppliers) for bananas & pineapples, coffee and fish & seafood. We will subsequently publish these details for all of our food high-priority supply chains by the end of 2022.
National traceability platforms
In order to offer their customers a higher transparency for products, ALDI SOUTH Germany and HOFER have established traceability platforms. With the help of a QR code or a tracking code on the packaging, the respective product can be traced back to its origin.
The relationships we have with our business partners are based on mutual respect and trust, it forms the foundation for all our supply chain activities.
We expect our business partners to comply with all our social and environmental standards, e.g. ALDI Social Standards in Production, and we pay particular attention to production conditions in countries where adherence to these standards cannot yet be taken for granted. In these countries, we want to contribute to the improvement of working conditions and the protection of the environment. We do this by maintaining an ongoing dialogue with our business partners, working together on projects and monitoring activities to ensure our requirements are implemented and adhered to in all production facilities used for ALDI production.
High-priority supply chains
More sustainable agricultural practices and the responsible use of resources help protect the environment and ensure the long-term availability of resources in the future. As a global retailer, we will create lasting change by focusing on our activities on high-priority raw materials and commodity groups.
Cocoa is grown by smallholder farmers who may face difficult working and living conditions. We are committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation of cocoa. We continue to increase the amount of certified sustainably sourced cocoa. We collaborate with other stakeholders on projects on the ground and are working with our business partners to increase traceability of our cocoa.
Coffee is among the world’s most-traded raw materials and is primarily cultivated by smallholder farmers in sub-tropical regions. The ALDI SOUTH Group is committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation of coffee. We are sourcing independently certified products to ensure that producers receive a fair price for their products as well as adapt to climate change and fighting deforestation.
Cotton accounts for the majority of all fibres used in the garments and household textiles offered by the ALDI SOUTH Group. Whilst cotton is a renewable natural resource that is fully biodegradable, it is also linked to human rights and environmental risks in the countries where it is grown. By 2025, all our ALDI-exclusive garments and household textiles products will be of either recycled, sourced or certified according to internationally recognised sustainability standards.
Fish and seafood
Fish stocks around the world are under increasing strain from overfishing. We are committed to the principles of responsibility and sustainability in the sourcing of our own label fish. Our goal is to source all our seafood products from responsibly managed fisheries and farms, which have a minimal impact upon the wider marine environment.
Each nut type and its value chain is unique and comes with its own social and environmental challenges. The ALDI SOUTH Group has identified nut supply chains as a high priority focus area, with Brazil nuts, cashews and hazelnuts being of particular importance. We are committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation and processing of nuts.
Palm oil has the highest yield compared to rapeseed, sunflower, or coconut oil, and is the most versatile and efficient oil with regard to consistency and durability. We use sustainable RSPO-certified palm oil for 100% of our own label food and non-food products. Our engagement plan for palm is complemented by active memberships in several multi-stakeholder initiatives and a strategic approach to smallholder farmers.
Most of our textile products are manufactured in production facilities in Asia. It is important to us that garment and household textiles are produced in an environmentally and socially sound way. Our Teams work closely with our textile business partners to support production facilities in the implementation of our corporate responsibility standards. While we strive to improve working conditions in our production facilities, we also look at other stages of our supply chain, from cotton production to dyeing and finishing of garments.
Human rights violations and environmental risks such as living wages and incomes and water scarcity are key challenges when sourcing tropical fruit. We are committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation of tropical fruit. We apply social and environmental requirements for suppliers at grower level for bananas, pineapples, mangos and avocados.
Our business activities have a significant impact on climate and the environment. This is a result not only of the products we sell, but also of our entire operations. From the construction and operational running of buildings to the transport of goods. Our goal is to minimise the ecological footprint of our corporate activities.
Chemicals in Production
In 2015, the ALDI SOUTH Group joined 80 other international fashion retailers in committing to the goals of Greenpeace’s Detox campaign. Since then we have reduced the negative impacts of chemical-based production processes used in the textile and footwear industry on workers, local communities and the environment. We will continue to increase the scope of our work to address further environmental impacts, ranging from strengthening our commitment to more sustainable material sourcing to raising awareness of opportunities to buy more sustainably.
Forests are diverse and complex ecosystems that provide a habitat for plants, animal and people. As a global retailer, one of the ALDI SOUTH Group’s key responsibilities is to ensure that our products do not contribute to the destruction of forests. The ALDI SOUTH Group strives to eliminate deforestation from our high priority supply chains by 31 December 2030.
Product packaging plays an important role in protecting our products from damage and environmental influences in order to ensure quality of our products and to avoid food waste. We have set ourselves ambitious goals aimed at increasing material efficiency and circularity of our ALDI own-brand product packaging. We are working with our business partners to push for more environmental-friendly packaging options across our product range.
In 2015, we adopted an international waste strategy based on the principle “reduce, reuse, recycle” to further lead our business activities towards a circular economy. Suitable waste management measures have been determined and implemented at a national level. The ALDI SOUTH Group’s national organisations worked on systems that can comprehensively monitor the various types of waste. Based on this, we will implement further international and national goals and activities that ensure a sustainable approach to waste management.
Water is a key resource and good water stewardship is a priority in our supply chains. The ALDI SOUTH Group and ALDI Nord are launching a new approach to water management, which will see ALDI SOUTH in Germany and HOFER in Austria as well as for internationally bought products for ALDI SUISSE collaborating with producers to implement responsible water management standards by 2022 in their fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains.
By starting with our 15 top selling fruit and vegetable products, we can make sure to reach a significant share of our growers and generate a positive impact for the environment and communities in the regions. Products include for example avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, apples and lettuce.
Working with key partners
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.
Supporting Global Goals
The ALDI SOUTH Group believes that the best impacts can be created via collaboration. We support partnerships and collaborate to improve the livelihoods and working conditions along our supply chains.
Sustainable Development Goals
The ALDI SOUTH Group is aware of our responsibility as one of the world‘s most successful retailers. Our international structure, our market position, our decades of experience, and the daily commitment shown by our employees provide us with the potential to make important contributions in increasing sustainability across our markets and within our supply chains.
We consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the scope of defining our goals and have incorporated them within our selection of sustainability-related topics. We promote the achievement of these global goals by participating in initiatives and implementing a range of sustainability policies.
UN Global Compact
In August 2017, the ALDI SOUTH Group was the first discount food retailer to join the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). By joining this initiative, we have committed to implementing the UN Global Compact's ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption as part of our corporate strategy and within the scope of our daily business operations.
Sustainable supply chains
Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI)
In line with our responsible sourcing strategy to mitigate adverse human rights impacts of our business activity, the ALDI SOUTH Group was accepted as a Foundation stage member of the ETI in 2019. ETI is a global alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers' rights. Our Social Standards in Production are aligned with the ETI Base Code.
amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (amfori BSCI)
For over 40 years, amfori has been the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade. Its mission is to support each of its members to enhance human rights, use natural resources responsibly and drive open trade globally. It brings together over 2,000 retailers, importers, brands and associations.
amfori is run by Board of Directors representing the member’s interests from different countries and businesses. In June 2019, Anke Ehlers, Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility International of the ALDI SOUTH Group, was elected to the Board of Directors of amfori to represent ALDI SOUTH and ALDI Nord internationally. This shows the continuing dedication of ALDI to enhance sustainable development in our global supply chains.
The ALDI SOUTH Group is also an active member of the amfori Project Group ‘Social Issues in Food’ which unites retailer and producer members of amfori to tackle shared social and environmental issues in the food sector. A representative from ALDI SOUTH chairs the group.
Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex)
Sedex is one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, striving to improve working conditions in global supply chains. Sedex provides practical tools, services and a community network to help companies improve their responsible and sustainable business practices, and source sustainably. ALDI UK is part of the Sedex Board.
German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles
ALDI SOUTH Germany became a member of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (German: Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien) in 2015. This multi-stakeholder partnership is committed to improving social and environmental conditions in the global textile production.
Green Button initiative
The ‘Green Button’ (German: Grüner Knopf) is a voluntary label established by the German government that identifies textiles that are produced in a sustainable way. Labelled products meet 26 minimum requirements for social and environmental standards in textile production. Since 2019, ALDI SOUTH Germany and ALDI Nord have used the ‘Green Button’ to label textiles that have been produced in a socially and environmentally friendly way. With our participation in this initiative, we emphasise our commitment to promoting sustainable textile production to our customers.
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
Support and respect the protection of human rights
Not complicit in human rights abuses
Uphold freedom of association and recognition of right to collective bargaining
Elimination of forced and compulsory labour
Abolition of child labour
Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
Precautionary approach to environmental challenges
Promote environmental responsibility
Development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
Work against corruption in all its forms