Preventing Modern Slavery 

Modern slavery is a global problem affecting every economy, industry and sector. In 2017, the UN’s International Labour Organisation estimated that more than 40 million people were victims of modern slavery, including almost 25 million workers trapped in forced labour. Human trafficking, forced labour and the exploitation of vulnerable workers are abuses of basic human rights and have no place in our business or supply chain. 

Our approach to tackling these problems is based upon understanding the complexities of the issue and continually improving the processes we have in place to prevent these abuses from occurring.

Modern slavery cannot be solved by any one company or organisation acting in isolation. Aldi has a role to play in raising awareness of this issue, which involves working in partnership with suppliers and their business partners, NGOs and industry partners to combat this criminal activity. This helps ensure all our operations and supply chain remain free from modern slavery. 

Aldi UK published its first Modern Slavery Statement in May 2017. Since then, we have developed new partnerships with third parties to tackle this important issue.

Modern slavery strategy and policies

 

Aldi UK has an integrated modern slavery strategy based on comprehensive policies and processes, effective risk-assessment, training and ongoing reviews and dialogue with suppliers. Our CR department is responsible for the design and implementation of this strategy in the UK and Ireland. They are supported by the Corporate Buying department, the ALDI SOUTH Group’s International CR department and our specialist ethical audit teams based in Bangladesh and Hong Kong. Like many international businesses, we source products from a range of countries and recognise there is a risk of modern slavery in our product supply chains. To mitigate this risk, we have developed comprehensive policies and processes that all suppliers must sign up to before we work with them. These include Aldi’s Social Standards in Production. 

As forced or bonded labour issues are often hidden from view, we also support the development of new responsible recruitment initiatives, such as Clearview, a certification scheme specifically designed for labour recruiters and providers.

 

Identifying modern slavery risk within our supply chain 

Modern slavery is a complex and hidden problem. To detect this issue, we undertake regular risk-based due diligence across the full scope of our business and supply chains. Please see information on our Ethical Trade Programme and our Aldi Social Assessments for more details.

 

Managing risk in our business 

We source our products from around 70 different countries around the world and recognise there is a risk of modern slavery in all parts of the supply chain, from where the product is made or grown through to its journey to our stores. There are certain product types and geographical territories where this risk is greater, such as tea from India and seafood from Thailand. To mitigate this risk, we have a comprehensive system of checks and controls in place to identify high-risk areas in our supply chain and wider business. These include third party ethical audits,Aldi Social Assessments and insight gained through collaborative initiatives with stakeholders such as Stronger Together, Sedex and the British Retail Consortium. This risk assessment is complemented by in-house ethical trade experts at our CR departments in the UK and the wider ALDI SOUTH Group, including our specialist ethical audit teams on the ground in Bangladesh and Hong Kong. 

We also have an Aldi Alert Line that can be used by suppliers and employees in confidence to raise concerns or report any policy violations. This independent service is staffed by multi-lingual call handlers and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All reports are fully investigated and callers always remain confidential. 

 

How we aim to ensure modern slavery is not taking place

Through our Ethical Trade Programme, more than 1,100 ethical audits were carried out in 2017 by independent third parties and by Aldi’s own ethical audit teams. These audits identified a number of issues, mainly relating to working hours and health and safety issues. In the few cases where there was a risk of modern slavery corrective action plans were implemented that set out a clear process and timeline for resolving these issues. 

When a problem arises, the type of corrective action implemented will depend on the severity of the issue and the willingness of the supplier to work collaboratively with us to find a solution. At the heart of it all is our collaborative approach with our suppliers to work on correcting these issues.

 

Training and capacity building

To effectively tackle modern slavery, we must raise awareness of this issue across our business and supply chains. It is vital that colleagues and suppliers are trained to spot issues and have the skills and confidence to deal with them as soon as they arise.

 

Training for employees

·  Since 2015, our CR team has run a number of modern slavery training sessions for employees in our Buying department. This training includes guidance on modern slavery, including relevant questions to ask and what to look for during site visits.

· 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, including modern slavery.

 

Training for suppliers

· All suppliers are asked to attend Stronger Together workshops. These sessions are led by labour rights experts and help suppliers understand what modern slavery is and how to spot warning signs. Since these workshops began in 2013, more than 500 delegates from suppliers of Aldi have attended.

 · We host training sessions with suppliers to train and educate them on modern slavery.

 

CASE STUDY – Detecting modern slavery

One of our long-standing fresh produce suppliers identified a case in its own supply chain of vulnerable workers being exploited by a third party. As the supplier had undergone modern slavery training, it had robust checks in place to quickly identify and handle this situation. The supplier immediately informed the GLAA and the local police, who subsequently brought a successful prosecution against the third party for human trafficking and forced labour. 

In instances like this, we work collaboratively with the supplier and the authorities to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. As soon as the supplier proactively informed Aldi of the situation, we sent members of our CR and Buying teams to visit the supplier site and carry out a thorough check of the working conditions, including worker interviews, document reviews and an interview with the third-party labour provider. We held several face-to-face meetings with the supplier, including their senior HR representative, to understand how the issue occurred and to offer support to the supplier to prevent it happening again.

 

Partnerships 

We recognise that a single organisation acting on its own cannot eradicate modern slavery, and the most effective way to tackle an issue of this complexity and scale is through collaboration. As a result, we continue to establish partnerships and collaborate with others to raise awareness of modern slavery and find solutions for workers. Our collaborations and partnerships relating to modern slavery are as follows:

Stronger Together

 

Since 2013, we have been project sponsors of Stronger Together, a multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to reduce modern slavery within supply chains. Stronger Together use labour rights experts to run workshops across the UK. These help suppliers understand what modern slavery is and how to spot warning signs. We strongly encourage suppliers to attend a workshop and download the tools and guidance from the Stronger Together website. These workshops help them spot signs of modern slavery and take appropriate action. We are also supporting Stronger Together as it expands globally and moves into other areas of the supply chain, such as the construction sector in the UK and the fruit and wine sector in South Africa.

 

Impact - Stronger Together 

Aldi is a project sponsor of the Stronger Together initiative. Stronger Together is a business-led, multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative whose purpose is to support organisations to tackle modern slavery within their businesses and supply chains. Through www.stronger2gether.org, Stronger Together provide clear guidance and pragmatic resources and training to support employers and labour providers in at-risk sectors to deter, detect and deal appropriately with forced labour, labour trafficking and other hidden labour exploitation. Since its launch in October 2013, the Stronger Together initiative has achieved significant traction in engaging business:

· Over 8,000 industry representatives have registered with www.stronger2gether.org to access the resources for use within their organisations

· Over 3,700 individuals from over 1,400 businesses have attended and have committed to take the tackling slavery message back to over 800,000 workers. Online UK and international “Tackling Modern Slavery” e-learning training modules have been taken by an estimated 36,000 learners.

· 96% of suppliers involved have increased their understanding of what modern slavery is.

· 87% of businesses involved have been helped to prepare for and understand how to manage potential situations of forced labour.

· 72% of suppliers have seen their senior management making a commitment to tackle modern slavery in their business and supply chain.

· Received a Gold World Medal at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards 2018 for Instruction & Education, for their awareness raising video ‘Eyes Wide Open’. This video was part of their South Africa Programme, focused on supporting the fruit and wine-producing industries to tackle forced labour and hidden labour exploitation through free training workshops and multi-language resources.

Responsible Recruitment Toolkit

Aldi UK are Founding Sponsors of the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit (RRT) to support our suppliers in implementing a high standard of responsible recruitment throughout Aldi’s supply chain. Read more about the Toolkit here.

 

ESC International

Aldi UK, alongside other UK retailers, have collaborated with ESC International to develop and launch a series of online webinar training modules designed to support suppliers and labour providers that accommodate temporary workers in caravan-style accommodation in the UK, in delivering improvements in worker accommodation standards.

British Retail Consortium (BRC)

Aldi UK are active members of the BRC and several sub-groups including The Ethical Labour Working Group. This group brings the retail industry together to collaboratively tackle unethical practices in supply chains. In 2017 the Group called on Government to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act, by publishing a list of all companies required to report and including public procurement bodies, and it also called on Government to strengthen enforcement of labour practices to safeguard workers in high risk sectors. It allows us to engage with other businesses in our sector to share best practice and discuss specific issues relating to modern slavery. Through the BRC, retailers also work towards aligning our approach to modern slavery in the supply chain.

Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority

The GLAA operate a licensing scheme which regulates businesses that provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law. Employment agencies, labour providers and gangmasters who provide workers to the following sectors will need a GLAA licence:

• Agriculture

• Horticulture

• Shellfish gathering

• Any associated processing and packaging

Aldi UK have worked with the GLAA for many years to help identify and protect workers at risk of exploitation in our supply chain.

Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex)

We require all of our suppliers to become members of either Sedex or amfori BSCI. Sedex provides a collaborative platform for buyers, suppliers and auditors to quickly identify and share indicators of forced labour and modern slavery.

amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (amfori BSCI)

Aldi has been a member of amfori BSCI for more than ten years. Through this membership, we can monitor non-compliances in our supply chains, which in turn helps to identify modern slavery risks.

 

Forward-looking plans

We continue to refine and develop our processes and policies to reduce the risk of modern slavery in our business and supply chain. The proactive steps that we are taking include:

• Broadening existing partnerships with key groups such as Stronger Together. For example, we are supporting Stronger Together’s expansion in South Africa by strongly encouraging all our produce and wine suppliers there to attend a workshop.

• Developing a strategy to assess the risk of modern slavery in high-risk categories, including produce and horticulture.

• Signing up to the British Retail Consortium’s Better Retail Better World initiative, a collaboration between 25 of the UK’s largest retailers, who have agreed to implement a policy that no worker should pay for a job, which is a key issue in tackling modern slavery.

 

There is no place for modern slavery in our business or our supply chain and we remain committed to combatting this criminal activity.