ALDI Australia has continued its concerted effort to tackle modern slavery by working closely with business partners and industry experts to safeguard the people in its supply chains from the risks of exploitation.
In its 2021 Modern Slavery statement, ALDI outlines its approach to tackling modern slavery over the past year, and demonstrates its efforts to improve the working conditions of production facilities in its supply chains. The supermarket is also working closely with its business partners to identify, mitigate and remedy any early indicators or instances of modern slavery.
One year on since forging an Australian-first partnership with Slave-Free Alliance, ALDI has completed a Human Rights Risk Assessment with particular attention across the categories of fresh produce, fresh meat and poultry, labour service providers, labour hire providers and construction partners.
The assessment identified types of working conditions that could pose a high risk for human rights violations such as where there is employment of migrant workers, labour intensive work, labour service providers and seasonal temporary work.
The supermarket is actively working to implement the recommendations from the risk assessment in its ongoing endeavour to address modern slavery, including expanding the categories under its Social Monitoring Program.
“Over the past year, we have partnered with ALDI to assess human rights risks within national and international supply chains with the aim to mitigate these risks. With our support, ALDI has been able to pave the way in demonstrating that companies can take responsibility for their supply chains and initiate action on behalf of those who are at the highest risk of exploitation,” said Marc Stanton, Director at Slave-Free Alliance.
“There has never, and will never be, a place for modern slavery in our operations. Our focus on taking swift action when early signs of exploitation, risk or non-compliancy presents itself has enabled our business to step in and take effective measures to protect impacted workers. We also actively contribute to improving the working conditions of facilities to take preventative steps before a problem or risk occurs. Our actions over the past year have been further refined through our partnership with Slave-Free Alliance who have supported our proactive measures to prevent modern slavery and ensure fair and safe working conditions,” explains Daniel Baker, Director of Corporate Responsibility at ALDI Australia.
Transparency is key when it comes to tackling modern slavery and ALDI has taken an honest approach to sharing its experiences of identifying scenarios that are non-compliant with its ALDI Stores Supplier Standards.
Last year, ALDI’s Social Monitoring Program found indicators of modern slavery in seven production facilities. In each instance, ALDI worked with its business partners to remediate the situation through constructive conversation, providing advice and solutions to correct the issues. One of the facilities identified in 2021 was subsequently barred from being used by ALDI Australia and ALDI South Group’s business partner as a consequence of not improving conditions for its workers.
ALDI focuses on building rapport and fostering honest and mutually beneficial relationships with its business partners. Independent research conducted by Advantage in 2020 showed that ALDI is seen as the most desirable partner to work with by Australian grocery suppliers. Further findings from The Food and Grocery Code Independent Reviewer Annual Report 2020-21 survey found that ALDI was the retailer most likely to take prompt, constructive action to resolve issues suppliers have raised.
Together with our business partners, we continue to remain vigilant in detecting and addressing labour exploitation in all its forms, and protecting those in our supply chains from the threat of modern slavery.
In addition to expanding its Social Monitoring Program, in 2022 the business will focus on:
- Expanding its Corporate Responsibility Supplier Evaluation Program into its homewares category.
- Developing Responsible Purchasing Practices Training for employees within the Buying Department.
- Introducing grievance mechanisms to enable workers in high priority supply chains to raise concerns through its “Speak for Change” program piloted in Vietnam.