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 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 to Australian businesses.
The Modern Slavery Act 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 the steps taken by ALDI Australia 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 statement 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 to verify that our social standards are met. We also have dedicated teams on the ground in Bangladesh and China that regularly visit the facilities manufacturing the products we sell. These teams conduct comprehensive assessments when they visit supplier facilities, to allow us to understand and improve issues that exist in our supply chain.
We do this because 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.
These programs mean our suppliers are clear on how we expect them to do business, as laid out in our Social Standards in Production. We understand that social compliance and responsibility are essential to the quality of our products, and we will never compromise on either.
In the case that any issues are found, our team supports our suppliers to develop and execute a corrective action plan. We believe you can’t have a quality product without considering social standards, and we know we are only as good as the standards within our supply-chain. That is why all our buyers must consider social standards in any buying decisions.
ALDI Social Assessments
With social standards, we are clear that we can’t rely on chance or guesswork to make sure that our strict standards are upheld. On top of third-party audits, we also have dedicated teams on the ground in China and Bangladesh who are experts in social and environmental standards. Our teams regularly visit production facilities with our suppliers and independent inspectors.
As part of this process, we conduct announced, semi-announced (where a window of time is provided) and unannounced visits. By continuously monitoring and working on improvements, our expert staff can follow-up on action and ensure that we are building long-term solutions with our partners.
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.
Supplier Ethical Data Exchange
We are proud to have been the very first Australian supermarket to be a member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex). This platform helps us manage all of the information we receive from our third-party audits and suppliers, as well as ensuring that all information provided to us is accurate.
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.
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.
Independent experts who track progress and recommend improvements oversee the ongoing process. Having expert and independent advisors regularly monitor the situation helps to ensure the program moves forward effectively.
As part of our continued dedication to promoting safe working conditions, we’re proud to announce that we have already signed onto the second version of the Accord, which will come into force in mid-2018.
ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project
As part of our resolve to improve supply chains wherever we operate, we understand that it takes strong, local capacity and knowledge to drive change. To support this, we launched our own ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) project in Bangladesh in 2013.
Our goal is clear: we want to inspire and 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.
Uzbekistan cotton is known for its links to child labour and forced labour for picking and production. In line with our strong commitments to source only from responsible producers, will we never knowingly use any cotton from Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan when manufacturing our products. However, we recognise that many countries have eradicated outdated and unacceptable practices, so we often review Government policies and practices in both countries to assess if we can lift our ban.