Certification and Standards
We want to provide our customers the highest quality at the best possible price. Certification schemes are one way to determine whether sustainability standards are adhered to in the cultivation of the cocoa used in our products. We require the sustainability standards UTZ/Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, Fairtrade USA or organic when buying products containing cocoa and we have already converted the majority of the cocoa used in our private label products. The ALDI SOUTH Group additionally engages with certification organisations to strengthen requirements and improve sustainability standards at farm level.
The ALDI SOUTH Group is a proud partner of the Fairtrade Cocoa Programme and in 2020 paid over €4 million of Fairtrade premium to the producer organisations of cocoa farmers through selling Fairtrade-certified products to our customers. Due to our commitment to increase the share of certified products, we have increased the sale of Fairtrade-certified chocolate products and the benefits for farmers by 25% compared to the previous year. Approximately 30% of our chocolate products contain Fairtrade certified cocoa.
The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money, paid on top of the selling price that farmers or workers independently invest in sustainable projects to fulfil the standard. They decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community.
How do farmers and workers typically spend their Fairtrade Premium?
The Fairtrade Premium is spent on a broad range of business or community improvements and projects.
Small producer organizations:
Farmer members of small producer organizations invest the majority of their Fairtrade Premium on direct services for farmers and measures to strengthen or maintain their cooperative.
Spending is directed towards projects that will improve crop quality or productivity – co-op level facilities and infrastructure such as improvements to facilities for crop processing and storage, quality testing, and crop collection and transport. Premiums are also used to purchase fertilizers, seeds, plants, tools, and equipment. Small producer organizations also spend the Fairtrade Premium on direct payments to members, and on community projects supporting access to education and healthcare.
In the case of plantations, the bulk of Fairtrade Premium spending goes towards direct support for workers and their families, including education bursaries, books and uniforms; healthcare; housing improvements; loans and credit, and much more. The Premium is also spent on broader community education and health projects, and to supporting and training the members of worker organizations.
For specific Fairtrade Premium allocation, please see the latest edition of ‘Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade'.
Certification schemes are an important aspect of our sustainability approach and ensure that sustainability standards are adhered to in the cultivation of the raw materials used in our products. Approximately 60% of our chocolate products contain Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa. Starting from September 2020, our products will be carrying the new Rainforest Alliance certification seal, which is part of their new identity after they merged with UTZ in 2018.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation that brings together farmers, businesses, consumers and others to work towards a world where people and nature thrive in harmony. The alliance works in more than 70 countries.
About 2.5 million cocoa farming families in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire produce more than 60% of the world’s cocoa. These smallholder farmers can face difficult working and living conditions. Human rights violations including illegal child labour, as well as environmental risks such as deforestation, are key challenges for retailers when sourcing cocoa. The cocoa used in ALDI products mainly comes from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and we are committed to fostering fair working conditions and environmentally friendly production in the cultivation of cocoa.
Visits and Assessments
As part of our engagement, we regularly visit and assess production sites together with our business partners in our food and non-food supply chains.
We respect human rights and do our part to improve living and working conditions throughout our supply chains.
Human Rights Risk Assessment
We regularly conduct human rights risk assessments to examine 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 how we may be involved through our own activities or as a result of our business relationships.
We determined cocoa as a raw material with a high risk of adverse impacts on the enjoyment of human rights and consider it most important to the ALDI SOUTH Group.
Forced labour continues to be a severe problem in the cocoa industry. A study conducted in 2018 confirms that at least 30,000 people are victims of modern slavery in the cocoa industry in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
The ALDI SOUTH Group and the ALDI Nord Group jointly published their ‘International Policy on Forced Labour’ in order to expand their zero-tolerance approach to any forms of slavery and forced labour.
Illegal child labour remains a problem in the cocoa supply chain and 95% of the children working on cocoa plantations are doing hazardous work, such as working with dangerous tools or harmful pesticides.
ALDI does not tolerate illegal child labour in any areas of its operations, including its supply chains. The cocoa used in almost all of ALDI’s cocoa-containing products is certified according to UTZ/Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade. All of these standards set requirements for the prevention of child labour in supply chains.
The concept of living income seeks to address the question of how to reach a decent standard of living for self-employed people such as smallholder farmers. The income of smallholders is often below national poverty lines and does not provide them with enough money to cover their basic needs and the cost of cocoa production. Inequality in the cocoa value chain and the resulting extreme poverty make working towards the payment of a living income an important part of a sustainable supply chain.
ALDI supports the integration of mechanisms to enable living incomes into certification standards. Where certification reaches its limitations, ALDI will pilot the following approach to increase incomes:
Premiums to boost incomes
A sweet deal for consumers and farmers: ALDI is proud to be a sustainability frontrunner by enabling cocoa farmers to earn a living income. As a Mission Ally of Tony’s Open Chain, ALDI pays farmers a premium for the Choceur CHOCO CHANGER chocolate bar based on the calculations of a living income by Fairtrade and Tony’s Chocolonely. The higher price takes into consideration the costs of living and the costs of farming. Fairtrade and Tony’s Chocolonely share the same vision and use the same model for calculating the cocoa price that enables farmer to earn a living income. They have improved existing models, integrated widely accepted benchmarks and research and share their insights with the chocolate industry with the Living Income Reference Price for cocoa. The premium is coupled with responsible purchasing practices such as long-term contracts and risk sharing e.g. due to insurances to increase the resilience of smallholders.
Income diversification to generate off-farm income
ALDI promotes alternative income sources for smallholders and provides access to credit, loans, inputs and trainings, such as educating women and youth in the households of cocoa farmers to achieve financial literacy and business entrepreneurship as well as the distribution of chickens. Only paying higher prices could lead to overproduction and increased pressure on ecosystems. In 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group joined forces with the chocolate producer Barry Callebaut and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation to support Ghanaian cocoa farmers generate alternative income sources to cocoa. The two-year project is co-funded by the Belgian initiative ‘Beyond Chocolate’ and coordinated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative. The project is intended to support achieving the living income target of ‘Beyond Chocolate’ and is implemented by the Cocoa Horizons Foundation.
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.
Apart from paying premiums, supporting off-farm income and access to financial support, the intervention measures to close the living income gap include trainings and access to inputs to increase productivity while protecting forests from further expansion of farms. The learnings from these pilots will serve as a blueprint for further actions.
Our CR Performance (2021)
Our Goal: All cocoa used in relevant own-brand products is from certified sources.
of products containing certified cocoa
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