×
customers in an ALDI store

Global Sustainability Strategy

Sustainability is one of the most relevant and pressing topics of our time. How sustainable we act now will influence our planet and the life of future generations. At the ALDI SOUTH Group, responsibility is one of our core values and we need to act quickly and change the way we do business. By addressing pressing social and environmental problems, we can use our scale and influence to have the greatest impact on people and nature.

What is ALDI's Sustainability Strategy?

Our Global Sustainability Strategy sets our business up to embed sutainability practices in all areas of the business. This strategy is not only a plan with clear objectives, but also an attitude and culture which we are cultivating throughout the organisation.

Photo of Anke Ehlers (Managing Director of ALDI International  Sustainability)

 

"Our ambitious goals require close cooperation with both our business partners and the retail industry. Together we can overcome global challenges and ensure that ALDI can contribute to the democratisation of sustainable products, make them affordable, and bring them into any household and onto everybody’s plate.”

Anke Ehlers, Managing Director of International Sustainability at the ALDI SOUTH Group

How was the strategy developed?

To develop and introduce a new sustainability strategy across the ALDI SOUTH Group, collaboration was required from many different departments and functions both internally and externally.

In order to identify which issues we prioritise and focus on as part of the strategy, we used internationally recognised principles and frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the UN Global Compact. We also conducted a comprehensive stakeholder survey, a social and environmental risk assessment, and human rights impact assessments.

Why being more sustainable is crucial for ALDI

Sustainability is not only crucial for ensuring a liveable planet and creating a positive social impact, but also for ALDI to continue to exist as a business.

ALDI is positioned to make significant impact

Considering ALDI is one of the leading international retailers and we have significant reach with stores in 11 countries and sourcing products from many more countries, we know we have the opportunity to make positive and lasting impact on resources, planet and people.

Customers expect us to act

For an increasing number of consumers, sustainability is a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions. More and more of our customers expect us to act responsibly and to offer products which have minimal impact on people and the planet.

Legislation is increasing

Legislation across our national markets has been tightened and the expectations are higher than ever. As a result, operating sustainably is crucial for ALDI to maintain its license to operate.

Climate change affects availability of products

We also know that climate change has and will continue to impact food availability and sourcing. If we don’t work hard to address this then we aren’t able to be part of the solution.

Costs can be reduced

Committing to a more sustainable product/packaging portfolio and operating energy efficiently requires high initial investments but in the long-term, it is more cost effective e.g. reducing and reusing packaging materials diminishes waste and reduces expenses for waste management.

Teamwork works

Collaborating more closely with suppliers builds strong partnerships and enhances the overall resilience of the supply chain. As a result, there are better chances to create change in our value chain and help sustain and grow our business.

Actions speak louder than words

Sustainability has multiple facets - establishing safe and fair working conditions, reducing CO2 emissions and improving animal welfare, to name just a few examples. There are many moving parts behind the scenes in order to put sustainable products and packaging onto every ALDI shelf. Find out what driving sustainability at the ALDI South Group looks like and discover the full scope in our Work in Action section.

Employer of choice

Our employees are the key to our success. They are the ones who define the ALDI business day after day and distinguish us from our competitors. For ALDI to continue on its path of success, we want to provide a great place to work and be an employer of choice within the retail sector. Our conviction is that understanding, respecting and valuing the uniqueness of our employees makes us stronger.

We are committed to invest in our employees inside and outside of work by creating a positive environment and offering programmes that support our employees’ mental, emotional and physical well-being. Our focus is to ensure that each colleague receives the opportunity to grow and develop within their role. For this reason, the ALDI Academy was implemented in all countries. The purpose of the Academy is to enrich the ALDI employment experience by creating tailored training and development programmes.

Our Global Employee Engagement Surveys regularly gather views and feedback on what we do well and where we can improve. This allows us to listen to our employees’ voice and develop international action plans so that we can provide a healthy, safe, and diverse workplace.

Materiality and Stakeholder Engagement

Our business can have either a positive and negative impact on many different groups of people, ranging from employees, to customers, business partners and workers in the supply chain. As a result, we must always take into account how our actions will impact them.

We carefully considered different sources and perspectives when developing our International CR Strategy and Vision 2030. Our global focus areas and strategic goals were identified through environmental and human rights risk assessments in our food and non-food supply chains. A broad-based International Stakeholder Surveys helped us to identify key priorities of consumers, suppliers, employees, as well as NGOs.

Stakeholder engagement is a central part of how we will deliver our Vison 2030. Whilst we are a global retailer, we know that many of our goals cannot be achieved alone. We collaborate with our stakeholders and exchange knowledge, resources, and competencies to encourage sustainable development.

We review our strategic approach regularly, considering all relevant internal and external developments. This allows us to ensure that our strategic priorities continue to focus on the areas which are most material to our business, and where we can have the greatest impact on society and the environment. The next comprehensive strategy review is planned for 2023.

International Sustainability Stakeholder Survey

Building relationship with key stakeholders is critical to further drive change towards sustainable development. A strong and effective tool to engage with a broad variety of stakeholders is our International CR Stakeholder Survey. This quantitative online survey combined with qualitative expert interviews, was conducted in early 2022 in partnership with GlobeScan.

The objectives of the survey were to:

  • Highlight the sustainability issues of greatest importance to internal and external stakeholders today and in the medium term
  • Give ALDI the opportunity to learn about any concerns stakeholders might have
  • Provide the foundation for developing and reviewing our strategy
  • Discover how ALDI is perceived to be performing regarding sustainability
  • Strengthen our stakeholder engagement

Materiality Matrix

The International CR Stakeholder Survey focused on the areas of our International CR Strategy – human rights, zero carbon, resource efficiency, employer of choice, customers, and communities – and included 31 wide-ranging topics. These issues have been identified based on best practices (retail-specific sustainability and ESG topics) and the greatest impact on the business.

The materiality matrix represents the most important strategic issues:

  • Y-axis: Importance for ALDI to address the issue, based on external stakeholders’ input (consumers, suppliers, and NGOs)
  • X-axis: Perceived influence on ALDI's business success, based on ALDI employees’ input

Key Results

The materiality matrix shows that ALDI has been focusing on the right sustainability issues and that we are largely in line with the expectations of internal and external stakeholders. However, certain areas come through stronger than in the previous Stakeholder Surveys, such as in the area of biodiversity and sustainable farming. These findings will be incorporated into the ongoing review process of our International CR Strategy.

With the International CR Stakeholder Survey, we also wanted to use the opportunity to better understand how we are perceived as a business.

ALDI performs particularly well on “business ethics and integrity”, with stakeholders showing confidence in our overall commitment and consistent standards across sustainability. Over half of our stakeholders rated ALDI as a company that acts extremely or very responsibly.

Stakeholder Dialogue

We believe that collaboration is key in achieving sustainable development and change can only happen by working with all affected parties. Working with external partners and engaging in multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) broadens our horizon and supports us to integrate different perspectives in our Vision 2030. We engage with several critical and supportive stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, MSIs, policy makers) to achieve common goals and seek to build greater awareness on current and future challenges along our supply chains and throughout our company. 

We are regularly engaging with 45+ multi-stakeholder initiatives and are part of 10+ working groups, while also supporting 15+ projects on the ground for our high-priority supply chains. For some of these stakeholders (e.g., Oxfam, Fairtrade), detailed stakeholder engagement plans have been implemented.