How Fairtrade is improving lives of workers in our supply chain

In 2011, Aldi began working with Herburg Roses farm in Ethiopia as part of a joint venture with our key supplier for flowers. Herburg Roses PLC began producing on 18 hectares of land and has now grown to over 40 hectares with 1200 workers employed. 64% of those workers are women.

Herburg attained Fairtrade certification in 2014. With support through training and guidance from Fairtrade, they achieve the highest level of social and environmental production standards. They produce almost 30 varieties of roses year-round to a consistently high standard.

In addition to training, farms receive a ‘Fairtrade Premium’ which is a communal fund to help with social, economic and environmental issues. A Premium committee made up of elected workers makes decisions on how the premium is spent and plans the rollout of initiatives that best suit the needs of the workers.

Herburg Roses have implemented two key Fairtrade premium projects:

1. A medical scheme contributing towards treatment for employees suffering from non-work related sickness. The aim of the scheme is to enable workers to get back to health and back to work.

2. A subsidised food commodities project that ensures employees have access to staple food ingredients such as maize, flour, pepper, shiro, lentil and rice. Prices and availability can vary greatly from year to year and the scheme ensures that they can access these ingredients at an affordable price. The beneficiaries of this project are all employees of Herburg Roses and their family members.

Plans for the future

The Premium committee have plans to build an educational centre for children with special needs. The Fairtrade premium is already contributing to great work in the community for school children. So far it has been used to provide school materials for 150 children and has contributed to the academic advancement of 15 employees’ children.

However, there is still a lack of understanding about the needs of these children, which mean they often do not attend school or often even leave their homes. The aim of the centre is to create independence and enable them to become contributing members of society.

We’re extremely proud that Aldi was the biggest seller of Fairtrade roses in the UK in 2017 and the only British retailer to actively support Fairtrade in Ethiopia. In 2017, we sold over 2 million bunches of roses which amounts to more than 20 million stems!