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Coffee farmer in field

Respecting Human Rights

Our Approach

Human Rights SchemeAs an international company with global supply chains, we are aware of our responsibility to respect human rights. The ALDI SOUTH Group is certain that long-term business success can only be ensured if human rights are acknowledged and respected, protected and fulfilled.

We believe that companies should be committed to respecting human rights. Our commitment encompasses adverse impact on human rights that we might cause, contribute or are directly linked to.

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.

Human rights risk assessment

We have comprehensively examined the human rights risks within our food and agriculture supply chains. The aim of these assessments is to identify any adverse impacts our company may have on human rights, gain insights into our actual impacts and understand where our greatest level of influence is throughout the global supply chains of the entire ALDI SOUTH Group. We understand that the greatest risk of severe human rights impacts lie at the raw material stage but our greatest influence is often at final assembly stage. National ALDI countries provided input on their national priorities where human rights violations are mostly likely to occur. This was combined with our risk assessment findings to determine our final list of priorities. In addition to the assessment by the third party service provider, we identified fish and seafood and Spanish and Italian produce at raw material level as further high priorities. This was based on internal expertise and dialogue with expert stakeholders.

The raw materials and product groups which present a high risk of adverse impacts on the enjoyment of human rights and are considered most important to the ALDI SOUTH Group in terms of leverage are:

Raw material level
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Fish and seafood
  • Nuts
  • Spanish and Italian produce
  • Tropical fruit
Production facility level
  • Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Dressings, oils, sauces, herbs and spices
  • Fish and seafood


      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 selected an external service provider to help us carry out detailed human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) for three high priority raw materials - Brazil nuts, coffee and avocado - by the end of 2020 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. We will publish the results of the HRIAs once completed.

      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)

      By measuring our progress against our Corporate Responsibility goals on a regular basis, we can continuously validate the effectiveness of our actions and highlight the areas where we are already making strong progress as well as other areas where further action is still required.

      Our Projects

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

      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 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.

      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.

      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.

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

      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. Farmers receive assistance in improving the quality and quantity of their coffee harvests and learn how to optimise the sale of their products. This project also helps the cooperatives to improve their organisational and financial structures, increases the involvement of women and young people in coffee-growing activities, and supports the implementation of environmental and climate adaptation measures in the coffee-growing sector.

      More on 'Coffee'
      Hand holding cotton
      International goal & projects in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Mozambique

      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'
      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.

      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.

      More on 'Fish & Seafood'
      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'
      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.

      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'
      Cashew nuts in bush
      Project in Vietnam

      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: Smallholder Standing Committee

      A significant share of the globally traded palm oil is produced by smallholders. In order to account for these smallholders within the scope of our commitment to using only sustainable palm oil, we purchase RSPO Independent Smallholder Credits to support their work and participate in the RSPO Smallholder Standing Committee in order to further support and integrate smallholders.

      Palm oil smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire (2017-2020)

      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 forest protection as well as resource and environmentally friendly cultivation methods, which are compatible with resource conservation requirements.

      Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC)

      As part of the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition, we engage and review the major international importers of palm oil to determine how they are 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)

      As a Retailers' Palm Oil Group (RPOG) member, we engage in a non-competitive coalition of companies who have the common aim of making the use of sustainable palm oil across all relevant supply chains the norm.

      More on 'Palm oil'
      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'
      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'

      Our Memberships & Partnerships

      We believe the best way to improve the working conditions throughout our supply chains is through joint initiatives and partnerships. For this reason, we engage in product-specific 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


      Human Rights

      Principle 1

      Support and respect the protection of human rights

      Principle 2

      Not complicit in human rights abuses


      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


      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