Aldi Adds to Transparency and Sustainability Commitments

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March 3, 2017

Discount retailer Aldi is working to improve transparency and the sustainability of its supply chain through a number of initiatives, including a commitment to the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI).

The supermarket retailer, which launched its first Fairtrade T-shirt line in the UK last year, has joined the BEPI, an initiative of the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), that aims to promote environmental protection throughout supply chains. For example, it works to eliminate the intensive use of chemicals for production processes in countries of production.

Besides the regular exchange of information at international level, the initiative also offers its members a number of modules, such as the 'Supply Chain Chemical Management Module', which facilitates the exchange of resources and expertise between production facilities and suppliers, and ultimately the long-term improvement of chemical management throughout all sectors.

The move is part of Aldi's commitment to source sustainably. This has extended to its pledge in 2015 to ban all hazardous chemicals from its textile and shoe production by 2020.

To further this, the retailer is now publishing a Detox progress report, providing insight into the "conscientious, environmentally sound production" of its textiles and footwear.

Rayk Mende, managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi North, says the aim is to provide interested stakeholder groups with open and transparent information about the measures it is taking to make textiles and footwear production more sustainable.

"We are working together intensively with our business partners, NGOs, industry-wide initiatives, and representatives from the chemical industry and scientific community to minimize the environmental impacts caused by our textiles supply chains."

Sven van den Boomen, managing director of corporate responsibility international at Aldi South, adds: "Our long-term goal is to make more sustainable methods a basic standard for production. For this reason, we are working together intensively with numerous supply chain participants in order to implement this basic standard. The initial results of our efforts have now been summarized in the form of a Detox Progress Report. For us, this report is yet another milestone achieved which demonstrates the progress we are making towards reaching the goals of our Detox commitment."

As part of Aldi's Detox 2020 Strategy, the retailer is looking at input chemicals, supply chains, data management, training and qualification, stakeholder dialogue and the promotion of sustainable consumption.

One of its core goals is to eliminate the use of eleven chemical groups, including APEOs, PFC, and chlorobenzenes from textiles and footwear production by the year 2020. Aldi says it is already on the right path to achieving this. In 2016, 78% of the production facilities used were able to prove that the wastewater and sludge resulting from production processes did not contain any PFCs.

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