Human rights in our supply chain

As an international company with global supply chains, The ALDI SOUTH Group is aware of our responsibility towards the protection of human rights. The ALDI SOUTH Group is certain that long-term business success can only be ensured if human rights are acknowledged and protected. We believe that companies should be committed to respecting human rights and preventing human rights violations. Our commitment therefore encompasses our own business operations and our business relationships, as well as those indirectly caused by our actions. For more information about the protection of human rights within the ALDI SOUTH Group, please click here. You can also view the ALDI SOUTH Group’s Human Rights Policy here which outlines our human rights due diligence process and future commitments.

Our Ethical Trade Programme aims to improve working conditions at sites that make Aldi products, particularly those in high-risk countries or product categories. All suppliers in the programme must be a member of a supply chain management platform, either Sedex (the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) or amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative). 

To show that they can meet our ethical standards and requirements, suppliers must also arrange for one of the following independent third-party ethical audits or certifications of their production sites;

• amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) ethical audit

• SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit)

• ICTI Ethical Toy Program

• SA8000 (Social Accountability International standard)

• Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) audit, formerly Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) 

• Better Work

These audits, carried out by independent third-party organisations, verify whether suppliers meet our ethical requirements and must be carried out if the supplier’s site is located in a high-risk’ country as defined by amfori BSCI.  

Remediation of issues is organised on a case-by-case basis, dependent on a number of factors including the severity of the issue, progress against the Corrective Action Plan and the willingness of the supplier to work collaboratively towards improvement.

We recognise that standards in our supply chain may not initially reach those set out in Aldi’s Social Standards in Production. In such cases, Aldi is committed to working with suppliers to achieve continuous improvement.

We expect our suppliers to take responsibility for monitoring and improving working conditions at all sites along their supply chains which are used to produce our products. We also expect them to adopt an approach to ethical trade that goes ‘beyond compliance’ and focuses on continuous improvement. However, we know from experience that third-party audits may not always provide a true picture of working conditions at a supplier site. In addition to third-party audits, we also carry out our own ethical audits and site visits through our Aldi Social Assessments.

Aldi Social Assessment Programme

Aldi Social Assessments are carried out by a team of qualified ethical auditors based in our CR offices in Bangladesh and Hong Kong. This local expertise means we can directly monitor and address issues on the ground in high-risk sourcing countries. Our teams regularly carry out announced, semi-announced and unannounced site visits and assessments of supplier sites to check they meet our ethical standards and requirements. They also focus on building co-operation and gaining increased transparency from suppliers so that we can work with them to improve conditions for workers at all sites that produce our products.

Although independent third-party audits are an important tool for identifying problems and initiating improvements, they can only provide a snapshot of a particular situation. Through our Aldi Social Assessments we are going ‘beyond compliance’ by introducing permanent improvements to working conditions at the sites we source from, which requires a collaborative approach between Aldi and our suppliers. We believe this provides a more accurate picture of the issues affecting a supplier site and counteracts the issues of audit fraud and lack of transparency that can be an issue with third party audits.

Where a human rights issue is identified, Aldi will fully investigate it to ensure we fully understand workers’ experiences. We will then work together with our suppliers to ensure a suitable remediation plan is put in place and will monitor whether it has been successfully resolved. 

Training and capacity building

To effectively improve human rights in our supply chain, we must raise awareness of this issue across our business and supply chains. It is vital that Aldi employees and suppliers are trained to spot human rights issues and have the skills and confidence to deal with them as soon as they arise.

Training for employees

· All Aldi Buying employees are trained on how to ensure suppliers uphold the ethical standards that we set. They work closely with our CR departments to monitor suppliers’ performance and intervene if any issues are found.

· Our CR department run ethical trade training sessions for employees in our Buying department. This includes guidance on ethical trade, including relevant questions to ask and what to look for during visits to suppliers’ sites. 

· All new employees with buying responsibility receive one-to-one training as part of their induction, to ensure they have a thorough understanding of ethical trade issues.

Training for suppliers

· We host training sessions for suppliers to train and educate them on ethical trade and provide comprehensive documented guidance on Aldi’s Ethical Trade Programme.

· As part of our Aldi Social Assessment programme, suppliers whose sites are scheduled to receive announced visits are fully briefed on the approach and objectives of the programme before the assessments take place.

· The Aldi Factory Advancement Project provides training for suppliers in Bangladesh on a range of subjects including health and safety in the workplace, fire safety, wage issues, working hours and discrimination.

Key progress since 2017

· Extended our Ethical Trade Programme to cover more product areas.

· Strengthened our existing supplier policies on the responsible use of labour providers, in line with industry best practice guidance from the Stronger Together initiative and the Association of Labour Providers.

· Introduced ethical requirements for our ‘Goods Not for Resale’ suppliers.

· Established new partnerships with NGOs and third parties, including the Food Network for Ethical Trade.

· Supported our suppliers to improve their capacity to identify and remediate critical issues themselves.

 

Since 2017, we have also deepened our understanding of the specific risks that workers face in these supply chains by participating in several initiatives:

· Opening a dedicated CR office in Bangladesh to forge closer relationships with suppliers and further strengthen our monitoring on the ground. Find out more about how we are improving human rights in our supply chain in Bangladesh. 

· Establishing a working group for an ethical sourcing strategy for food, comprised of experts from our CR International teams and national country CR teams including Aldi UK, to increase collaboration and momentum on human rights risks in the supply chain.

· Joining the Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET).

· Engaging with Stronger Together on their construction programme and in their South Africa programme.

· Continuing our participation in the British Retail Consortium Ethical Labour Working Group to help shape industry decisions and share best practice with other retailers.

Partnerships

We recognise that the most effective way to improve human rights in global supply chains is through collaboration. As a result, we continue to establish partnerships and collaborate with others to find solutions for workers. Learn about collaborations we are involved in to raise awareness of modern slavery and find solutions for workers in our Modern Slavery Strategy and Policy. Our key collaborations and partnerships on ethical trade are as follows:

Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex)

We require all of our suppliers who are part of our Social Monitoring Programme, to become members of either Sedex or amfori BSCI. Sedex provides one of the world’s largest collaborative platforms for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. Companies use Sedex to manage their performance around labour rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics. Sedex enables members to bring together many kinds of different data, standards and certifications, to make informed business decisions, and to drive continuous improvement across their value chains.

amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative)

amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) is a leading supply chain management system that supports companies to drive social compliance and improvements within the factories and farms in their global supply chains. Aldi has been a member of amfori BSCI for more than ten years. Through this membership, we can monitor and improve working conditions in our supply chain.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP)

This partnership enables us to improve the responsible sourcing of fish and seafood and to avoid illegal, unregulated and undocumented fishing, contributing to a more transparent seafood supply chain.

Seafood Ethics Common Language Group

Participating in this group allows us to collaborate with other retailers, food service organisations and suppliers to improve our understanding of the ethical issues impacting the seafood supply chain and contribute to collaborative efforts to improve ethical standards in the sector.

Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET)

FNET is a collaboration between large food suppliers and retailers that share a goal of establishing a common approach to managing ethical trade in food supply chains. At the heart of this initiative is the sharing of resources and developing best practice ways of working.

ETI Italian Produce Working Group

The ALDI SOUTH Group are members of the ETI Italian Produce Working Group, which promotes an ethical approach in Italy’s agricultural supply chains and addresses unacceptable working conditions, particularly for migrant workers in the tomato sector in the south of Italy. The Working Group, consisting of ETI members, non-members, trade unions and NGOs, aims to:

•Understand and address labour issues within Italian produce and agriculture processing.

•Foster greater collaboration between the retail sector and local stakeholders.

•Highlight the importance of the Italian produce market to European countries and the support available to the sector.

•Understand how working group members can support activities in-country to influence change.

As a member of this Working Group, we actively contribute to finding solutions to issues of illegal hiring and poor working conditions in Italian agriculture.

Spain Supplier Ethical Trade Forums

The Spain Supplier Ethical Trade Forums were founded in Spain in 2015. Aldi UK joined the Forums in April 2018. These Forums enable producers to address labour and human rights issues in the Spanish Produce sector. The Forums are supported by a number of UK retailers, including Aldi UK. Many key Spanish growers and packers are actively engaged in the Forums. The Forums are run by a consultancy called Conexión Social in Spain.

These Forums enable suppliers to;

•Share experiences and openly discuss issues concerning the day to day organisation of labour in the agricultural sector.

•Jointly seek new ideas and practical solutions to modern slavery risks and labour exploitation.

•Improve the living and working conditions of workers in the agricultural sector.

Please visit our International Corporate Responsibility Report for more information on the initiatives and associations the ALDI SOUTH Group are involved in.

Forward-looking plans

We have taken proactive steps to refine and develop our processes and policies to reduce human rights risk in our supply chain by:

•Broadening existing partnerships with key groups such as the Food Network for Ethical Trade.

•Supporting the Spain Ethical Trade Forum, a collaboration between retailers, suppliers and growers to improve working conditions in the Spanish produce sector, which we signed up to in April 2018.

•We are working together with a consultancy specialising in ethical trade to carry out a human rights risk assessment of the ALDI SOUTH Group’s entire food supply chain and developing an ethical sourcing strategy for food. This will include a prioritised list of risks, based on human rights risk and our level of influence, as well as steps we will take to mitigate risk and measure impact, ensuring our focus remains on where we can have the greatest positive impact on workers.