Jungle from above

Forest Protection

Our Approach

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. Forests are diverse and complex ecosystems that provide a habitat for plants, animal and people. This is particularly true for tropical forests which harbour the majority of our planet‘s biodiversity and water supply. Protecting the world's forests is also essential for climate change mitigation. The challenge is that deforestation continues at alarming rates. Clearing of natural forests to create agricultural land is a key driver of global habitat loss and contributes to 15% of global CO2 emissions.

The ALDI SOUTH Group strives to eliminate deforestation from our high priority supply chains by 31 December 2030. Cut-off dates for each commodity will be defined in line with the market and available certification schemes. The latest cut-off date targeted for any commodity is 2020.

Our Actions

Commitment to eliminate deforestation

During 2020, we examined the deforestation risk within our supply chains in order to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of our current and future measures. The aim of this assessment was to identify any adverse impacts our company may have on forests, gain insights into our actual impacts and understand where our greatest level of influence is throughout the global supply chains of the ALDI SOUTH Group.

At the beginning of 2022, we will publish an International Position Statement comprising the results of our deforestation risk assessment and commodity specific milestones. The statement will set out how we aim to eliminate deforestation from our high priority supply chains by 2030.

Tools

Our major fields of action in order to tackle deforestation in our high priority supply chains are:

  • Standards and Transparency: Where available, raw materials certified by independent third parties play a key role for retailers to ensure that sustainability requirements are implemented on the ground. In this context, a good option are physical supply chains. In case of limited availability, we acknowledge the impact of [credits] to minimise deforestation as a first step. In addition, we strive to maximise transparency where possible to increase the impact of our measures.
  • Stakeholder dialogue and collaboration: Especially for complex supply chains, collaboration between stakeholders is essential for market transition. We collaborate with:
    • Standard bodies to make certification criteria more robust.
    • Our supply chain: Direct suppliers and traders.
    • Industry groups: Across the sector with organisations such as the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC), the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), the Retail Soy Group (RSG), among others.
  • Capacity building: We engage in the origin of raw materials of our products to create direct impact. Complementing certification and collaboration, we consider supporting projects or [landscape approaches], which have the most impact and minimise deforestation.

Support of European legislative framework

We want to go one step further to successfully address systematic challenges throughout complex supply chains. Our longstanding commitment and cooperation with various stakeholders has shown that the best way to minimise deforestation within complex supply chains is through joint initiatives and partnerships.  The urgency to create maximum leverage in a timely manner requires all relevant political, economic and social stakeholders to collaborate.

Therefore, the ALDI SOUTH Group supports the introduction of a smart and robust European legislative framework to halt EU-driven deforestation.

Legislative action on deforestation by the European Union is essential to create a level playing field and to drive sector-wide change. It can contribute significantly to the prevention of deforestation and mitigate climate change, and protect the planet’s biodiversity.

Palm oil

In order to prevent deforestation, the palm oil used in our own-brand products is certified according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) chain of custody standard. The share of certified palm oil sourced by the ALDI SOUTH Group has increased significantly: from 69% in 2016 to 100% since 2018.

Beyond Certification, the ALDI SOUTH Group is working on transparency and smallholder inclusion in the palm oil sector: We are a founding member of the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC) and are member of the Retailers' Palm Oil Group (RPOG). In 2016, we developed an approach to better integrate smallholders in our value chain: In addition to being a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Smallholder Standing Committee and purchasing Independent Smallholder Credits, we also support smallholder farmers on the ground through our smallholder project in Cote d’Ivoire together with our Partner Solidaridad.  

Soy

The largest share of global soy production is being used as animal feed and therefore transparency and traceability are a challenge due to the complexity of the supply chain. Our aim is to ensure that the cultivation of soy in our supply chains does not harm natural ecosystems, such as forests, or violates human rights.  We collaborate with other retailers as part of the Retail Soy Group (RSG) and Soy Transparency Coalition (STC) in order to tackle these challenges, and to increase the availability of sustainable soy feed.

Timber

We focus on sourcing all timber used for our own-brand products and packaging in a sustainable manner. We have set the goal to use only certified materials according to the FSC, PEFC, SFI, Blue Angel standard, or made from recycled materials by the end of 2020. In 2020, 84% of our own-brand products and 74% of our own-brand product packaging were certified or recycled. 

In 2019, ALDI SOUTH Germany and HOFER S/E started working with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Namibia. The aim of the project is to increase the amount of sustainable and directly traded charcoal on the market, which benefits local farmers directly. After successfully concluding trainings and audits, the farmers are certified according to the FSC Forest Management Standard.  

Beef

Beef is one of the main drivers of deforestation, especially in South America and Eastern Australia. Brazilian beef supply chains are especially complex and hard to monitor: meatpackers and slaughterhouses are only allowed to purchase cattle from legally registered farms in the Amazon region, but different steps of the cattle supply chain are often carried out on different farms. The farms for calving, rearing, and fattening often stay hidden and only the last step, the legally registered farm, can be verified. As a result, so called cattle laundering from farms, which recently cleared rainforest for pastures, to legally registered farms, is a major challenge.

According to our deforestation-risk assessment 2020, only about 0.5% of ALDIs global beef supply is from Brazil and Argentina. In contrast to most other high-priority supply chains, there is no third-party verified certification scheme for beef that excludes deforestation. We have developed an international framework to further reduce the deforestation-risk within our beef supply chains with a focus on promoting more regional beef in our national markets.

Our leverage to drive more sustainable local production in South America is limited due to the low volumes we purchase from there. Therefore, we focus on beef from lower risk regions, such as Uruguay, and withdrawing from risk countries, only where there are no assurance mechanisms in place.

Our CR Performance (2020)

Our Projects, Memberships & Working groups

Palm oil

Man watering plant
© Solidaridad
Project in Côte d'Ivoire
Palm oil smallholder project (2017-2021)

Between 2017-2021, the ALDI SOUTH Group, together with ALDI Nord, supported a smallholder project in Côte d'Ivoire in order to pave the way for sustainable cultivation of palm in the area. In close cooperation with our partner Solidaridad, we developed a project that focused on improving smallholder farmers’ knowledge on Best Environmental Practices and on agriculture that respects High Conservation Values (HCV) and natural forests.

Solidaridad offered training through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) for 2,611 palm oil smallholder farmers and helped restore approximately 250 hectares of forest land in the project area. The team cultivated 17,532 tree seedlings in nurseries that were then distributed to individual farmers, planted in schools and borders of sacred forests, and used to help restore natural reserve areas.

Various partners and stakeholders were involved in the project, including the Inter-professional Association of Oil-Palm Industry (AIPH). This institution has fully endorsed the project’s outcomes and is now installing tree nurseries in other palm oil-growing regions. Additionally the cooperatives engaged are were COOPALEN, UCCOPES, COOPTOSA from the Sud Comoe region, UCOOPALM from the Grand Ponts region, USCOPAHLD from Loh Djiboua and U3SC from San Pedro.

Despite the many challenges facing the project, including COVID-19 restrictions, and political tensions, 90% of the community participants, including community leaders and the youth, reported positive outcomes of the project in the area and increased knowledge from the trainings. 

© Solidaridad
More: Solidaridad
Four Palm oil pulps and Palm Oil Transparency Coalition logo
Copyright: POTC
Since 2017
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.

More on 'Palm Oil Transparency Coalition'
Logo of Retailers' Palm Oil Group
Since 2012
Retailers' 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 'Retailers’ Palm Oil Group'
Logo of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Since 2011
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.

More on 'Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: Smallholder Standing Committee'

Soy

Partnership
Since 2020
Cerrado Statement of Support (SoS) Group

In 2020, the ALDI SOUTH Group signed the Statement of Support (SoS) for the Cerrado Manifesto.  We are working in the SoS Group together with other companies to engage local and international stakeholders to protect the native vegetation in the Cerrado, Brazil.

The Brazilian Cerrado is the world’s most biodiverse savannah and after the Amazon rainforest it is the second largest biome in South America. Protection is urgently necessary, as rates of deforestation and land conversion in the Cerrado are even higher than in the Amazon: The Cerrado region has already lost 50% of its original area mainly due to soy production and cattle ranching. 

More on 'Cerrado Statement of Support (SoS) Group'
Soy field in evening sun light
Project group
Collective Soy Reporting (CSR)

Since 2018, we participate in the Collective Soy Reporting together with a group of other retailers to:

  • quantify the amount of soymeal present in animal feed used in 2018;
  • identify where the soy was produced; and
  • determine whether any of the soymeal carried a recognised deforestation free production certification

Overall, more than 230 livestock producers, packers, and manufacturing suppliers fed into the report. Based on the results, we engage with relevant stakeholders and develop appropriate measures to increase the share of deforestation-free soy in our supply chain.

More on '3keel case study'
Donau Soja
Since 2021
Donau Soja

After founding member HOFER Austria, now the entire ALDI SOUTH Group became a member of Donau Soja. This is another step in our international approach to work with other ambitious stakeholders on industry-wide solutions for sustainable and deforestation-free soy production.

Donau Soja is a non-profit association with the aim of supporting the sustainable development of European agriculture and increasing European soy cultivation. This includes the cultivation of soy in line with EU agricultural regulations, additional sustainability criteria and the support of research and innovation activities in the field of European soy production. Donau Soja developed two certification schemes called Donau Soja (especially for the Danube region) and Europe Soya. Both standards ensure sustainably grown, regional and GM-free soy.

More: Donau Soja
Logo of Retail Soy Group
Since 2017
Retail Soy Group (RSG)

The ALDI SOUTH Group joined the Retail Soy Group (RSG) in 2017. The RSG is an independent group of international retailers collaborating pre-competitively to find industry-wide solutions for sustainable soy for their animal feed and food supply chains.

More on 'Retail Soy Group'
Logo of RTRS
Since 2017
Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS)

The ALDI SOUTH Group became a member of the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in 2017. The RTRS is a global platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue to promote responsible production, processing and trading of soy on a global level. Its mission is to encourage soybean production to be verified by a certification standard and produced in a responsible manner. Its objective is to reduce the social and environmental impacts of soy while maintaining or improving the economic status for the producer.

More on 'Round Table on Responsible Soy'
Log of STC
Since 2020
Soy Transparency Coalition (STC)

We are a founding member of the Soy Transparency Coalition (STC), which was established in 2020. The STC is a pre-competitive coalition whose aim is to help deliver a sustainable soy production system. The STC does this by engaging with major international soy traders on tackling deforestation and transparency challenges in soy supply chains.

More: Soy Transparency Coalition

Timber

ALDI SOUTH Sustainable Namibian Charcoal
ALDI SOUTH Germany & HOFER S/E
Sustainable charcoal in Namibia

In 2019 ALDI SOUTH Germany and HOFER S/E started a project together with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Namibia to ensure 100% deforestation-free charcoal. Charcoal is a major driver of illegal deforestation in Africa and South America. In Namibia, large parts of land are affected by the spread of thorn bushes that decrease biodiversity, groundwater supply, and farmland productivity. These bushes usually are removed in an unsustainable manner with the use of fire and chemicals.

The aim of the project is to use these bushes to produce sustainable charcoal. Together with our partner FSC, we promote the sustainable production of charcoal and work with farms towards their certification according to the FSC Forest Management standard. Besides the ecological aspect, the FSC certification also ensures minimum social standards for the workers during the bush harvest. From logging to production and packaging: all the work steps are carried out locally, creating jobs, especially in rural areas. Compliance with these environmental and social standards is regularly checked by independent auditors. 

More: Sustainable Namibian Charcoal (German only)

Sustainable Development Goals

1 No poverty 2 Zero hunger 6 Clean water and sanitation 8 Decent work and economic growth 12 Responsible consumption and production 13 Climate action 15 Life on land 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

Environment

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