Friday, August 19, 2022

ALDI continues to tackle modern slavery

ALDI Australia has released its 2021 Modern Slavery Statement, outlining its approach to addressing modern slavery over the past year.

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 retailer says it’s now “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.

The partnership

Slave-Free Alliance Director Marc Stanton says his organisation has partnered with ALDI, over the past year, to assess human rights risks within national and international supply chains with the aim to mitigate these risks.

“With our support,” he says, “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.”

ALDI Australia Director of Corporate Responsibility Daniel Baker says 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,” he says.

“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.”

Ensuring transparency

Transparency is key when it comes to tackling modern slavery, says ALDI.

According to the retailer, it has taken an honest approach to sharing its experiences of identifying scenarios that are non-compliant with its ALDI Stores Supplier Standards.

Addressing indicators of modern slavery

Last year, ALDI’s Social Monitoring Program found indicators of modern slavery in seven production facilities.

In each instance, ALDI says it 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.

Looking ahead

“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,” says ALDI.

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.

Read ALDI Australia 2021 Modern Slavery Statement here.

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