Canal view

Chemicals in Production

Our Approach

In 2015, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with 80 other international fashion retailers, committed to the goals of Greenpeace’s Detox Initiative. Through a process of substitution and elimination, we have significantly reduced the use of hazardous chemicals in our textile and footwear production.

By working with teams from across the whole group, we set ambitious standards and introduced comprehensive chemical management across all tiers in the supply chain. This has led to improved wastewater and sludge testing results, and an increased treatment of factory wastewater. A highly efficient overview of our supply chain also enables us to support strategic production facilities to meet our requirements.

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. This means that we will promote more sustainable production processes and sustainable products to enable our customers to consume sustainably.

The ALDI Detox Commitment

The ALDI SOUTH Group is excited to be one of 23 organisations to be featured in the “Better Lives through Better Business” campaign presented by The Consumer Goods Forum and produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Production.

Our Actions

Eliminating hazardous chemicals from production

Our goal is to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing processes and to replace them with safer alternatives. The following documents are key tools for this activity and form part of all relevant contracts with our business partners:

While the ZDHC MRSL defines the substances which should not be used at all or only to a limited extent for the production of merchandise intended for ALDI, the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines define threshold values for chemical residues contained in wastewater and sludge generated by the production facilities. The ALDI RSL defines threshold levels for the finished products.

All tanneries are required to hold a valid Leather Working Group (LWG) certificate to ensure a certain level of environmental compliance.

Since 2015, we have achieved a significant reduction in the use of hazardous chemicals through substitution and elimination. This has also led to improved wastewater and sludge testing results. This was only possible because of improved chemical management. In addition, we are actively removing non-compliant business partners and production facilities from our supply chain.


Due to improved wastewater and sludge testing results, we have set our future focus on the improvement of the input chemicals. These are used in the production processes, such as in the dyeing and finishing. The monitoring of input chemicals has several advantages:

  • MRSL compliance can be checked continuously to immediately implement corrective actions.
  • The data better reflects reality and enables a clear link between chemicals and ALDI production.

We are working with BHive® and BVE³. to establish a digital monitoring process. These platforms allow production facilities to submit their chemical inventories directly to us.

Input Chemicals

Increasing the transparency of our supply chain

The successful implementation of responsible chemical and environmental management practices requires the collection and analysis of large amounts of data. An internal monitoring, verification, and rating system for production facilities helps us to ensure compliance with our requirements for every order.

We receive production facility data prior to delivery of the merchandise and then perform a plausibility check. Our Corporate Responsibility Units in Asia regularly verify the provided supply chain information and compliance with our requirements during onsite assessments. 

In 2020, we also started to publish our main production facilities for textiles and shoes on the Open Apparel registry (OAR) platform

We integrated the chemical management performance of our business partners into our annual Corporate Responsibility Supplier Evaluation (CRSE) for garment textiles and shoes. This process increasingly influences our buying decisions and provides guidance to our business partners for improving their social and environmental supply chain performance. The CRSE supports long-term relationships with those business partners who demonstrate a strong sustainability record and provides incentives for continuous improvement.

Engaging with stakeholders

We strive to be proactive and transparent by maintaining open dialogue with our stakeholder groups through engagement in various partnerships, working groups and initiatives. Together we increase our understanding, select and develop tools that fit our approach and harmonise our requirements with other retailers to drive improvements into the chemical management practices across our supply chains. We support common standards and training approaches through our engagement with the Leather Working Group (LWG) and the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles.

We regularly inform our stakeholders and the wider public through progress reports and updates on our next steps with respect to environmental and chemical management in our textile and shoe supply chains. 

Providing training to internal stakeholders, business partners and production facilities

We want to understand all the different stages of the production process to help us increase our knowledge and capability so that we can improve chemical management in our supply chains. We conduct internal and external training and workshops for Buying, Quality Assurance, Corporate Responsibility Departments, business partners and selected production facilities.

One example are the Advanced Chemical Management Trainings that we have been piloting in collaboration with our regional CR Offices in Dhaka and Hong Kong since 2019. This training is jointly implemented with other brands, the German development agency GIZ and our business partners and help production facilities improve their competencies through peer learning and individual support.

Promoting sustainable consumption

We support systemic change within society, which will affect our business, our product design, our suppliers, and our customers. This change focuses on the promotion of more sustainable products and production processes as well as on responsible behaviour. It ranges from banning hazardous chemicals, improving product lifecycles and increasing recycling efforts.

Our CR Performance

Our Goal: Since 2015, we have beenare working to on phase ing out or replaceing hazardous chemicals used in the manufacturing processes for both textiles and shoes with safer alternatives.

Our Projects & Memberships

Asian garment workers working in factory line
Special focus

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.

Most of our textile products are manufactured in production facilities in Asia. Our Corporate Responsibility (CR) team works closely with our textile business partners to support them in the implementation of our CR standards. Additionally, our colleagues based in Hong Kong and Bangladesh are frequently in the production facilities to assess the conditions on the ground. While we strive to improve working conditions in our production facilities, we also look at other stages of our supply chain, from cotton production over spinning to dyeing and finishing of garments.

More on 'Textiles'
Logo of LWG
Since 2016
Leather Working Group (LWG)

The Leather Working Group (LWG) is a not-for-profit membership organisation for stakeholders across the leather supply chain. The LWG has developed audit protocols designed to certify leather manufacturers according to their environmental compliance and performance capabilities. The Group aims to promote sustainable business practices and create alignment on environmental priorities throughout membership and the industry as a whole. The ALDI SOUTH Group became a member in 2016.

More information
Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien
Logo of Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien
Since 2015
German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles

ALDI became a member of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (German: Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien) in 2015. This multi-stakeholder initiative is committed to improving social and environmental conditions in the global textile production.

Working together

In the context of ALDI’s membership, we are actively working on the topic of living wages by being a member of the “Partnership Initiative on Living WagesSince 2019, we have been working on the improvement of our purchasing practices as these can have a large impact on the working conditions and wage payments in production facilities used for ALDI production.

In September 2021, ALDI joined the “Living Wage Lab” of the “Partnership Initiative on Living Wages” to strengthen its work towards fairer wages for workers in the garment textile supply chain.

More: Textilbündnis
Four women around sheet full of cotton
© Fairtrade / Didier Gentilhomme
Project in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (2018-2021)
Fairtrade project on cottonseed

From 2018-2021, ALDI SOUTH Germany supported the Fairtrade cottonseed project in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The project aimed to empower smallholder farmers and to improve the quality and supply of non-GMO cotton from Central Asia.

To reach the project goal the following measures were implemented:

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


More: Fairtrade Germany
Women holding empty pesticide containers
© Cotton made in Africa
Project in Mozambique
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.

© Cotton made in Africa


More: Cotton made in Africa

Sustainable Development Goals

6 Clean water and sanitation 8 Decent work and economic growth 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure 12 Responsible consumption and production 14 Life below water 15 Life on land 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 4

Elimination of forced and compulsory labour


Principle 7

Precautionary approach to environmental challenges

Principle 8

Promote environmental responsibility

Principle 9

Development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

GRI references

GRI 103: Management approach 2016

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

GRI 308: Supplier environmental assessment 2016

Global Reporting Initiative 308-2