17 goals for a better world

The United Nations (UN) had nothing less than this ambitious objective in mind when it adopted the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals meant to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges, such as fighting poverty and hunger, reducing inequality and halting climate change. To ensure that these goals are met, everyone has to work together.

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Companies are also called on to do their part for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs for short. Many issues addressed by the SDGs are very important to ALDI North, such as promoting responsible consumption and production patterns. Our decisions have implications across the entire value chain, which is why we are taking action through our sustainability efforts wherever we can make improvements. Click on the diagram below to find out how we are contributing to the SDGs across our value chain.

Purchasing, quality and Corporate Responsibility (CR)

Establishment of sustainability requirements by ALDI North with respect to suppliers and their production facilities

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • The goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

We expect suppliers to ensure fair working conditions in their own organisations and those of their business partners. We specify our requirements regarding supply chains and products in our Purchasing Policies and elsewhere. We commit ourselves and our suppliers to compliance with the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct. It enshrines eleven central employee rights, including the right to safety in the workplace and proper pay. It also excludes discrimination, child labour and forced labour. Compliance with the Code of Conduct is monitored and evaluated by on-site inspections (audits). We evaluate the social practices at producers of fruit and vegetables using the evaluation tool GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP) based on the GLOBALG.A.P. standard. It relates to occupational safety, health protection and social requirements of employees in agricultural businesses.

Through our own programmes, we promote the constant improvement of occupational health and safety at producers’ places of business and production sites, for example as part of the ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project for production facilities in the apparel industry in Bangladesh, launched in 2013. The signing of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was an important and crucial step towards improving the safety of workers in the textile industry in Bangladesh. We have also established a Hong Kong location, which we use as a base for checking compliance with our exacting standards together with suppliers. As part of the ALDI Social Assessments (ASA), we have been making on-site visits together with our suppliers since 2017 to the production facilities used for us. These visits allow us to see for ourselves how our requirements are being implemented in the supply chain.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • The goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As a food retailer, we can help shape responsible consumption and production patterns. We aim at enabling our customers to engage in conscious consumption. Thanks to the large share of own brands, we have the power to shape goods and can ensure sustainability right at product level. We are switching our range to more sustainable raw materials where it makes sense and is possible to do so. Our Purchasing Policies and other programmes allow us to exert influence indirectly on upstream processes with sub-suppliers and producers. Our International Purchasing Policies for timber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and animal welfare are contributing to the achievement of this Sustainable Development Goal. We plan to roll out international purchasing policies for fish and soya/sustainable feedstock, as well as fruit and vegetables, in 2018.

SDG 14: Life below water
  • The goal: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Many natural fish stocks are under threat as a result of overfishing, illegal methods of catching fish and environmental pollution. In order to protect stocks and to be in a position to cover the demand for fish as a source of food over the long term, both catching fish in the wild and fish farming need to undergo change. We want to ensure a more sustainable approach to fish and seafood across the entire supply and production chain for our own-brand products. In cooperation with the Buying department, the CR department continually analyses the entire fish product range on the basis of defined criteria, such as the fishing methods, fishing zone and the current population of the fish species in question. In 2018, we plan to supplement our existing National Fish Purchasing Policies to include an International Fish Purchasing Policy that defines Group-wide binding targets.

SDG 15: Life on land
  • The goal: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

We are committed to preserving biodiversity and to sustainable forest management. As a result, we assume shared responsibility for the more sustainable production of resources across the entire value chain. We set clear requirements for suppliers and specify them in purchasing policies for specific resources. Through our International Purchasing Policies for timber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and animal welfare, we are contributing to the achievement of SDG 15. We plan to roll out international purchasing policies for soya/sustainable feedstock, as well as fruit and vegetables, in 2018.

Our suppliers must comply with strict regulations for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Since 2016, for example, we have banned the use of eight active ingredients in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and potatoes in Germany because they are suspected of being responsible for the decline of flying insects such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. ALDI France introduced a product in 2017 with the BEE FRIENDLY label from the organisation with the same name

SDG 17: Partnership for the goals
  • The goal: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

Sound partnerships are necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As a food retailer, the ALDI North Group wields influence over global supply chains through its product range. We partner with our suppliers to develop fair and safe working conditions, as well as environmentally friendly production and cultivation methods. In order to manage overarching challenges, we participate in numerous sector and multistakeholder initiatives: We are engaged in dialogue with actors from society at various levels, whether nationally or internationally, as a mere member or an active leader. Through direct exchange with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), consumer interest groups, the media and experts from academia, research and politics, we gain valuable insights that enhance our CR efforts.

Cultivation and production

SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • The goal: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Our Purchasing Policies and other programmes allow us to exert influence indirectly on upstream processes with sub-suppliers and producers. We are switching our range to more sustainable raw materials where it makes sense and is possible to do so. By taking this step, we are promoting sustainable agriculture. Our International Purchasing Policies for cocoa, coffee, palm oil and animal welfare are contributing to the achievement of this Sustainable Development Goal. We plan to roll out international purchasing policies for fish and soya/sustainable feedstock, as well as fruit and vegetables, in 2018.

In the countries of our products’ origins, we are making efforts to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers and their families. We provide training and workshops for smallholders for this purpose:

  • Cocoa: Since 2015, we have been working to improve the working and living conditions of cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire as part of the PRO-PLANTEURS project.
  • Coffee: Since March 2017, we have been working with Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung to promote more sustainable coffee production in Colombia. A total of 800 smallholder farmers are to receive active support over a period of two years through training and workshops on sustainable cultivation methods, improved coffee processing methods, professional farm management and business planning.
  • Palm oil: We plan to train over 2,000 smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire by 2019, who are to be subsequently certified in accordance with RSPO criteria. The project is managed on location by the NGO Solidaridad International, which is dedicated to promoting more sustainable supply chains.

Our suppliers must comply with strict regulations for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Since 2016, for example, we have banned the use of eight active ingredients in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and potatoes in Germany because they are suspected of being responsible for the decline of flying insects such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. ALDI France introduced a product in 2017 with the BEE FRIENDLY label from the organisation with the same name.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
  • The goal: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The availability of clean water poses a major challenge in some countries. Through a voluntary commitment, namely the ALDI Detox Commitment, we have been supporting the objectives of the Greenpeace Detox campaign since 2015. We have pledged to dispense with the use of certain chemicals, particularly in wet processing of textiles and footwear, by 2020. By taking this step, we are committed to preventing adverse impacts on humans and the environment – particularly groundwater – from production processes involving chemicals in the textile and footwear industry. We joined the amfori BEPI initiative (Business Environmental Performance Initiative) in early 2017. amfori BEPI aims to promote environmental protection in supply chains during chemical-intensive production processes, among other things.

The use of water also plays a major role as part of the ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project for production facilities in the apparel industry in Bangladesh, launched in 2013. Together with the production sites, we are working on improving the supply of drinking water and the cleanliness of sanitary facilities. We are also raising awareness regarding the responsible use of water as a resource.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • The goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

We expect suppliers to ensure fair working conditions in their own organisations and those of their business partners. We specify our requirements regarding supply chains and products in our Purchasing Policies and elsewhere. We commit ourselves and our suppliers to compliance with the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct. It enshrines eleven central employee rights, including the right to safety in the workplace and proper pay. It also excludes discrimination, child labour and forced labour. Compliance with the Code of Conduct is monitored and evaluated by on-site inspections (audits). We evaluate the social practices at producers of fruit and vegetables using the evaluation tool GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP) based on the GLOBALG.A.P. standard. It relates to occupational safety, health protection and social requirements of employees in agricultural businesses.

Through our own programmes, we promote the constant improvement of occupational health and safety at producers’ places of business and production sites, for example as part of the ALDI Factory Advancement (AFA) Project for production facilities in the apparel industry in Bangladesh, launched in 2013. The signing of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was an important and crucial step towards improving the safety of workers in the textile industry in Bangladesh. We have also established a Hong Kong location, which we use as a base for checking compliance with our exacting standards together with suppliers. As part of the ALDI Social Assessments (ASA), we have been making on-site visits together with our suppliers since 2017 to the production facilities used for us. These visits allow us to see for ourselves how our requirements are being implemented in the supply chain.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • The goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As a food retailer, we can help shape responsible consumption and production patterns. We aim at enabling our customers to engage in conscious consumption. To this end, we are continuously expanding our range of more sustainable products and promoting a responsible approach to food (refer to the “Stores and employees” stage of the value chain). However, the first step is to examine our own processes. In this stage of the value chain, reducing waste is a key issue for us as a retailer. When it comes to our packaging, we focus on recyclable materials and, in some cases, on multiple-use systems for fruit and vegetable outer packaging. Moreover, we are reviewing ways to contribute to a circular economy that helps conserve resources through packaging and through our products and carrier bags.

SDG 14: Life below water
  • The goal: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Many natural fish stocks are under threat as a result of overfishing, illegal methods of catching fish and environmental pollution. In order to protect stocks and to be in a position to cover the demand for fish as a source of food over the long term, both catching fish in the wild and fish farming need to undergo change. We want to ensure a more sustainable approach to fish and seafood across the entire supply and production chain for our own-brand products. In cooperation with the Buying department, the CR department continually analyses the entire fish product range on the basis of defined criteria, such as the fishing methods, fishing zone and the current population of the fish species in question. In 2018, we plan to supplement our existing National Fish Purchasing Policies to include an International Fish Purchasing Policy that defines Group-wide binding targets.

SDG 15: Life on land
  • The goal: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

We are committed to preserving biodiversity and to sustainable forest management. As a result, we assume shared responsibility for the more sustainable production of resources across the entire value chain. We set clear requirements for suppliers and specify them in purchasing policies for specific resources. Through our International Purchasing Policies for timber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and animal welfare, we are contributing to the achievement of SDG 15. We plan to roll out international purchasing policies for soya/sustainable feedstock, as well as fruit and vegetables, in 2018.

Our suppliers must comply with strict regulations for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. Since 2016, for example, we have banned the use of eight active ingredients in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and potatoes in Germany because they are suspected of being responsible for the decline of flying insects such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. ALDI France introduced a product in 2017 with the BEE FRIENDLY label from the organisation with the same name.

SDG 17: Partnership for the goals
  • The goal: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

Sound partnerships are necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As a food retailer, the ALDI North Group wields influence over global supply chains through its product range. We partner with our suppliers to develop fair and safe working conditions, as well as environmentally friendly production and cultivation methods. In order to manage overarching challenges, we participate in numerous sector and multistakeholder initiatives: We are engaged in dialogue with actors from society at various levels, whether nationally or internationally, as a mere member or an active leader. Through direct exchange with non-governmental organisations, consumer interest groups, the media and experts from academia, research and politics, we gain valuable insights that enhance our CR efforts.

Warehousing and logistics

SDG 13: Climate action
  • The goal: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

To ensure that our customers always have fresh products and full shelves, we transport goods from our distribution centres to our stores every day. These transport journeys result in greenhouse gas emissions. Through a variety of measures, we are working to make our logistics as climate friendly as possible. Modern logistics concepts help us pool the flow of goods and choose optimum transport routes, thereby shortening transport routes. Low rolling resistance tyres and roof spoilers, which reduce the drag coefficient of our transport vehicles, help reduce fuel consumption and save greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we make sure that the trucks at ALDI North only leave our distribution centres with full payloads and we train drivers in the Netherlands, for example, on how to drive fuel efficiently. With regard to our fleet of company cars, we plan to sign shortr leasing agreements in future so as to develop a fleet of newer vehicles, thereby ensuring that more vehicles meet the latest fuel consumption and emission standards and operate in a more climate-friendly manner.

SDG 15: Life on land
  • The goal: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Most of our outer packaging is made of wood fibres. The exact figure varies from country to country. In our International Timber Purchasing Policy, we lay out clear rules that are valid throughout the ALDI North Group for dealing with this resource – and therefore for dealing with a great deal of our packaging. We plan to change all wood and wood-based products, sales packaging, outer packaging and transport packaging to recycled or sustainably certified materials by 2020.

Stores and employees

SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • The goal: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Almost one third of the food produced globally is wasted or thrown away across the supply chain. We are actively committed to promoting a responsible approach to food. As part of our CR programme, we are currently drawing up international food-waste guidelines. We are making various adjustments to keep food waste to an absolute minimum. For example, we are attempting to plan store inventories with utmost precision so that as little as possible is left over. In Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Poland, our customers will find our goods marked down in the “sustainability boxes” shortly before their best-before date. We provide our customers with tips on some packaging on how to best store different products. Improper storage is one of the reasons that food spoils prematurely. We donate food that is still edible, but which can no longer be sold, to charitable organisations, which then distribute it to the needy. Throughout the entire Group, 75 per cent of stores already donate food on a regular basis.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • The goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

We have enshrined our responsible approach to employees within the Group and within our supply chains in our mission statement and our CR Policy. Whether it is in sales, buying, administration, logistics or IT, the roughly 69,000 ALDI employees make a decisive contribution to the sustained success of the ALDI North Group. All of them can be proud to work for the ALDI North Group. In exchange, they receive secure working conditions, attractive framework conditions and long-term career development prospects. Open and respectful dealings in an approach based on partnership are very important to us. Our focus is on appreciating each and every one of our employees and promoting their sense of connection with the ALDI North Group. The ALDI employees are remunerated with fair pay in accordance with their performance. We focus on long-term employment relationships. Most of the contracts for employees at the ALDI North Group are permanent and for an indefinite period (almost 80 per cent in 2017). Above-average employee loyalty has been a traditional feature at the ALDI North Group compared to the rest of the sector. The ALDI North Group’s training and education programmes are a key element in ensuring our future. We offer established training programmes in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. We reject any form of discrimination. In all countries, all employees have the same opportunities irrespective of gender, age, religion or belief, sexual identity, origin or physical disability. Our focus is on performance. To create a level playing field for all, we provide support for our employees whenever possible and help them get the work-life balance right between career, leisure time and family. In addition, taking responsibility for the health and safety of employees in the workplace is part of the ethos of the ALDI North Group companies. We protect them from work-related accidents and offer preventive health measures.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • The goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Enabling our customers to engage in responsible, affordable and healthy consumption is part of our understanding of CR. We use various tools to inform our customers about social and environmental aspects of our products. Our customer magazine ALDI aktuell and our advertising campaigns often focus on our sustainably certified products. In our stores, we attract our customers’ attention to such products through appropriate labelling on shelves and through posters. Moreover, we create transparency through clear product labelling by using recognised sustainability seals, such as the EU organic and Fairtrade labels, and own brands. Since January 2018, for example, the Fair & Gut own brand has been the marker for our animal welfare products in select German stores. We apply the Clean Label to products for which we refrain from using specific additives, such as flavour enhancers, aroma additives, colouring agents and preservatives. Furthermore, we use international and national own brands. The ALDI Transparency Code (ATC) also enables our customers to trace the origins of various meat products and – in Germany – of fish products and eggs as well. We raise awareness of special sustainability challenges through special campaigns and projects. In the Netherlands, for example, we are committed to raising awareness of the issue of plastic waste among schoolchildren. The employees of the ALDI North Group also receive information about the sustainability aspects of our products, initiatives and projects.

As a second cornerstone, we offer our customers an appropriate range of products for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, such as a wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthier product alternatives with less sugar and products for special nutritional requirements, as well as products containing certified resources and from controlled production. We are continuously expanding our range of more sustainable products certified in line with recognised standards and marked with the corresponding labels. In our Purchasing Policies, we set targets for switching to certified resources. In addition, we exclude critical products or production methods using negative lists.

SDG 13: Climate action
  • The goal: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Lighting the retail space accounts for around one quarter of a store’s electricity consumption, which is why LED lighting technology has been installed at new stores in all countries since 2016. In 2017, we began switching over the interior lighting systems at our existing stores entirely to LED, including the lighting used for the chiller cabinets and freezers.  The roofs of many stores and distribution centres are also equipped with photovoltaic systems.

Refrigeration represents another aspect for greater climate protection efforts at our stores. We now use only highly energy-efficient freezers at our new stores, and we are focusing increasingly on particularly clever systems when it comes to chillers. They provide efficient cooling and can also recover the heat produced in the refrigeration process. We then use this to heat the store – a practical solution that saves energy as well. Refrigerants are also a priority for us. While indispensable for cooling, refrigerants can escape into the atmosphere through small leaks. We employ digital leakage monitoring in some countries to document refrigerant usage, which helps us to reduce the number of a leaks to a minimum. We also use the natural, climate-friendly refrigerant propane (R290) for our new freezers, while plans call, wherever possible, for the exclusive use in future of CO2 as a natural refrigerant for chillers in our new stores.

Customers and sales

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • The goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Enabling our customers to engage in responsible, affordable and healthy consumption is part of our understanding of CR. We use various tools to inform our customers about social and environmental aspects of our products. Our customer magazine ALDI aktuell and our advertising campaigns often focus on our sustainably certified products. In our stores, we attract our customers’ attention to such products through appropriate labelling on shelves and through posters. Moreover, we create transparency through clear product labelling by using recognised sustainability seals, such as the EU organic and Fairtrade labels, and own brands. Since January 2018, for example, the Fair & Gut own brand has been the marker for our animal welfare products in select German stores. We apply the Clean Label to products for which we refrain from using specific additives, such as flavour enhancers, aroma additives, colouring agents and preservatives. Furthermore, we use international and national own brands. The ALDI Transparency Code (ATC) also enables our customers to trace the origins of various meat products and – in Germany – of fish products and eggs as well. We raise awareness of special sustainability challenges through special campaigns and projects. In the Netherlands, for example, we are committed to raising awareness of the issue of plastic waste among schoolchildren.

Last, but not least, we want to provide our customers with a more sustainable way of transporting the products they purchase at our stores home, which is why we started discontinuing conventional disposable plastic shopping bags in late 2017 in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. At the same time, all disposable bags are being eliminated from the range at those stores. The changeover is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. To encourage the use of the environmentally friendly reusable bags already during the changeover process, we have increased the price of disposable bags, for example by 10 cents in Germany and by 15 cents in the Netherlands. The (additional) revenue from the sale of disposable bags is earmarked for helping environmental and social projects.

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Happy and pretty sustainable: ALDI Denmark

Our Danish customers value environmentally friendly and local products highly. ALDI Denmark added 32 new organic products in 2017 and significantly increased the proportion of certified fish products

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France: from the region and onto the table

In France many consumers pay attention to where products come from . ALDI France therefore offers its customers numerous products from France as well as many specialities typical of the region

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Netherlands: fighting plastic soup

Across the world, around one whole truckload of plastic is dumped into the oceans every minute. The Plastic Soup Foundation in the Netherlands has made it their goal to stop this development through information campaigns, educational efforts and innovative solutions. We are on board!

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Quality: all in a day’s work

“The highest quality – the lowest prices”: in order to keep this promise, all ALDI North products undergo tough quality checks. For employees in Quality Assurance, it is a demanding job.

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Mobility & logistics

To ensure that our customers always have fresh products and full shelves, we transport goods from our distribution centres to our stores every day.

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From the cotton field to the store: tales of a travelling baby bodysuit

Most pieces of clothing that our customers find in the stores have made a long journey to get there. The travels of our baby bodysuit start in India

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We are all ears: ALDI Spain embraces dialogue

Customers’ expectations are becoming increasingly complex. What does this call for? More communication! ALDI Spain shows how it’s done.

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Packaging & cycle

For many products, packaging is essential for protection and quality assurance. That is why we focus on recyclable materials and, in some cases, on multiple-use systems.

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Sustainable standards in the non-food supply chain

We take responsibility for safe and fair working conditions and compliance with environmental standards wherever we can make a difference