Food losses & other waste


[GRI 301/103-1, 306/103-1] We take responsibility for the protection of our environment and its natural resources. As a retailer, reducing waste and dedicating ourselves to fighting food losses play a central role. Our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce waste generation by 2030 (SDG 12, responsible consumption and production), demonstrates that we intend to make a decisive difference on this front. We are doing our part to achieve this goal.

Our approach

[GRI 301/103-2, 306/103-2] We follow the five-level waste hierarchy of prevention, preparing for reuse, recycling, other recovery and disposal. We avoid waste by using multiple-use systems in logistics, for example, such as transport boxes for our fruit and vegetable items. We examine which materials can be reused and promote the recycling of our board- and foil-based packaging materials, for instance. Non-recyclable materials are incinerated for energy recovery. Disposal is the final option. In Germany, we comply systematically and consistently with this hierarchy: our recycling rate stands at 99 per cent (see  performance indicators for waste). In Belgium, more than 90 per cent of our waste is recycled or, in the event of organic waste, digested.

In our sector, packaging (almost 82 per cent) – especially outer packaging – and unsaleable food account for the lion’s share of waste and food losses. As sales rise, so does the amount of waste produced by the ALDI North Group. To further optimise our waste management, we created the position of logistics manager for disposal in Germany in the period under review.

Moreover, we are currently drawing up international food waste reduction guidelines. The original plan was to publish these guidelines at the end of 2017. However, the various different conditions in the individual ALDI North Group countries and future, EU-wide requirements have extended the amount of time necessary for the process.

Organisation & responsibilities

[GRI 301/103-2/3, 306/103-2/3] Waste management and the commitment to combating food waste are managed and organised across departments. Throughout the Group, CR, logistics and quality managers work together in a variety of ways to jointly develop strategic concepts, targets and measures. The ALDI Buying logistics department is responsible for coordination between the ALDI companies in the countries. The Corporate Responsibility (CR) department is consulted as needed. The logistics manager for disposal communicates with the responsible managers in the ALDI North Group countries and with external service providers with the aim of further optimising the flow of materials, making it possible to leverage waste management experience in Germany to achieve improvements throughout the Group.

Guidelines and regulation

[GRI 301/103-2/3, 306/103-2/3] The EU Waste Framework Directive defines waste management for all Group countries. In the period under review, the ALDI North Group in Germany worked on implementing the amended Commercial Waste Ordinance (Gewerbeabfallverordnung – GewAbfV) to enforce the required waste hierarchy of the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act (Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz – KrWG). As part of the implementation of the GewAbfV, the Logistics department provided training materials for our regional companies. The respective logistics managers at each location are responsible for compliance with the guidelines stipulated therein.

Progress and measures in 2017

[GRI 301-103-2/3, 306/103-2/3] The ALDI North Group companies in the countries work with national food banks. We are constantly working to expand these partnerships, some of which have been in place for many years now. During the year under review, 75 per cent of our stores donated unsaleable food that was still edible (2016: 65 per cent).

In Germany, we joined the EU initiative REFRESH (Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain) in 2017. The project focuses on reducing and reusing food waste throughout the supply chain. In the Netherlands, we are involved in two research projects , and we are dedicated to combating food waste in all other countries as well.

Targets and status

[GRI 306/103-2/3] In 2015, we expressed the goal of developing a guideline on dealing with food that is no longer saleable in the stores but can still be consumed in our CR Programme. The guideline is still in development.

Our targets from the CR Programme

Field of action: social commitment & dialogue promotion

Objective Status Target date Target value
Target relevance
Introduction of a guideline for dealing with food that is no longer saleable in the store Still in development 2017

Preparation and introduction

ALDI North Group

Performance indicators

Food donations [GRI 306-2]

Proportion of stores that donate unsaleable yet still edible food to charitable institutions to the total number of stores (in per cent)

Fundamentally speaking, we manage goods in such a manner as to prevent losses to the greatest extent possible. Wherever possible, any surpluses should be donated. However, not all locations have access to partners that accept food donations.

  2015 2016 2017  
Belgium/Luxembourg1 100.0 100.0 100.0
Denmark 3.6 3.6 18.1
Germany 98.1 99.1 99.0
France 23.4
Netherlands 28.7 74.2
Poland 4.8 24.6 38.7
Portugal 8.5 25.0 31.6
Spain 76.5 75.4 76.1
ALDI North Group 61.5 65.2 75.4

1 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI North Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to “Subject of the report”).

Amount of waste in Germany [GRI 306-2]

Amount of waste by type of waste (in metric tons)1

The amount of waste in Germany increased slightly compared with 2016. The biggest proportion of the waste generated was attributable to packaging waste. Hazardous waste, amounting to 420 metric tons, only made up 0.2 per cent of the total volume of waste. This includes used oil, oil filters, vehicle batteries and fluorescent tubes which contain mercury. To date, it has only been possible to record the amount of waste for our German locations. International recording efforts are planned for the years ahead.

  2015 20162 2017
Hazardous waste 493
414 420
PapiePaper/board/card 432
450 400
Residential waste3 22,129
22,320 24,550
Waste from the manufacture and processing of food4 8,173
11,102 11,343
Packaging waste 156,580
161,290 164,000
     of which foil/plastics 3,986
3,578 3,432
     of which board/paper 121,331
125,174 128,549
     of which PET 31,264
32,538 31,864
     of which other5 155
Used equipment 70
56 52
Total amount of waste 187,878
195,632 200,765

1 The data are partly based on estimates and extrapolations.
2 Late reporting information for the year 2016 resulted in partial amendments compared with the previous year’s report.
3 Industrial waste. This includes “residual waste”, packed food, bulky waste, wood and metal scrap.
4 This includes waste from canteen operation and bake-off goods.
5 This includes other packaging waste, such as flowerpots or plant bowls. This category was reported for the first time in 2017.

Amounts of waste by methods of disposal [GRI 306-2]

Amounts of waste in Germany proportionately by the type of disposal (in per cent)1

At roughly 99 per cent, most non-hazardous waste was recovered or recycled (including composting) in 2017.

1 Allocation to types of disposal is based partly on estimates.
2 Including incineration for energy recovery.

Amounts of waste by methods of disposal [GRI 306-2]

Amounts of waste in Germany proportionately by the type of disposal (in per cent)1

At roughly 99 per cent, most non-hazardous waste was recovered or recycled (including composting) in 2017.

  2015 2016 2017
  Germany Germany Germany
Recovery and recycling2 96.38 96.80 96.76
Landfill 0.03 0.02 0.18
Incineration (mass incineration) 1.54 1.08 0.85
Composting 2.06 2.10 2.20

1 Allocation to types of disposal is based partly on estimates.
2 Including incineration for energy recovery.

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