Human Rights in our Supply Chain
As an international company with global supply chains, we are 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 see 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.
We have a clear code of conduct and standards which all of our suppliers must follow, called our ‘Social Standards in Production’. In fact, all of our suppliers are contractually bound to follow these standards at a minimum, across all product categories and throughout the supply chains.
To help our partners understand our expectations, we have been conducting training sessions with suppliers since 2013. Our Corporate Responsibility (CR) team, who lead the sessions, form strong relationships with our suppliers and buying teams so that they can continuously monitor and improve the standards in our supply chain. Our Social Standards are based on the following principles:
- The United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- The UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child
- The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions
- The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
We do not tolerate any form of forced labour, child labour, or workplace discrimination. Our Social Standards also protect the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and regulated payroll and working time management to comply with relevant local, national or international laws and standards. See our Social Standards in Production, here.
Tackling Modern Slavery
The International Labour Organisation estimates modern slavery numbers are in excess of 40 million people worldwide; this figure includes people in forced labour, forced marriage, human trafficking, slavery, servitude, debt bondage, the worst forms of child labour, and deceptive recruiting for labour or services1. This is not exclusive to low-income countries, Australia is estimated to have numbers exceeding 15 thousand people, with the majority unreported or unknown to authorities.
ALDI Australia prides itself on operating with complete integrity. From taxation to our supply chain, we strive to bring transparency to our operations and welcome the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 to Australian businesses.
The Modern Slavery Act 2018 requires Australian businesses with annual revenue of more than $100 million to publish annual statements on the steps they are taking to address modern slavery in their operations. The passing of this Bill is a huge step in the right direction to eliminate modern slavery in the supply chains of Australian businesses. Our statement explains our steps to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.
ALDI’s approach toward modern slavery is based on prevention, detection, and remediation. Forced labour and the exploitation of vulnerable workers are abuses of basic human rights and have no place in our business.
At ALDI we have three core values that guide everything we do: simplicity, consistency, and responsibility. We are committed to operating responsibly and providing value without cutting corners or compromising the way we do business.
You can read our Modern Slavery Statements here:
1Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage by the International Labour Organisation 2017
Social Monitoring Program
We work in close partnership with our direct suppliers and their sub-suppliers, because we expect our business partners to embed responsibility at the core of their own operations. Our Social Monitoring Program promotes continuous improvement of working conditions in all our suppliers’ facilities, and ensures our Social Standards in Production are upheld.
To ensure credibility, we use third-party audits conducted by accredited specialists such as Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) to verify that our social standards are met. We were the first Australian supermarket to become a member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) to help us manage all of the information we receive from our third-party audits and suppliers.
We understand there are no quick-fixes or shortcuts; improvement will only come through regular monitoring, dialogue, and action. By coaching our suppliers, we can ensure they are aligned with our values.
In the case that any issues are found, our team supports our suppliers to develop and execute a corrective action plan. We then work together with our suppliers to ensure a suitable remediation plan is put in place.
Sourcing in Bangladesh and Myanmar
In countries where the risk of lower social standards is higher, we will work with our partners to help improve working conditions for the people in our supply chain.
That’s why in 2013, we introduced specific minimum requirements for the fire and building safety of all factories in Bangladesh that manufacture our products, and in Myanmar. This includes comprehensive fire protection systems, valid building permits, and compliance with all building regulations. As with all our supplier programs, these standards are closely reviewed, over and above our broader Social Monitoring Program.
We also launched our own ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) project in Bangladesh in 2013. The project aims to educate production facility employees and managers to maintain a fair and safe workplace by providing them with tools to guide their actions. Since the commencement of the project, we’ve seen factories advance in a number of ways, from improved drinking water supply and the formation of fire safety committees, to decreased absenteeism and increased wages. For more information on how we do this, take a look at our brochure
Accord for Fire and Building Safety
Alongside our Social Monitoring Program, the entire ALDI South Group is an active participant in the International Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The aim of the Accord is: to ensure safe working conditions for staff at garment factories. We’re dedicated to our role in this process, which has included developing steps to ensure the Accord is implemented effectively.