German based discount retailer Aldi has recently published an International Position Statement on Living Wages and Living Incomes in which it states that “Living wages and living incomes are an integral part of human rights and are essential if we want to address inequality and eradicate poverty“.
Furthermore, they state that they “will strive to create lasting change in our global supply chains by strengthening our responsible purchasing practices, which have a direct impact on working conditions, wages and incomes”.
Banana Link welcomes this statement from Aldi, who in recent years have faced mounting criticism and pressure over its purchasing practices. A coalition of Latin American producers, as well as trade unions and many European civil society organisations, including Banana Link, have criticised the downward pressure on prices which do not meet producers’ costs of sustainable production, and do not take into account the internalisation of costs, such as paying decent wages or affording investments in environmental improvements.
In their statement, Aldi also makes commitments not only to responsible purchasing, but to increased transparency and traceability in its supply chains, collaboration with industry stakeholders towards greater sustainability and promoting freedom of association and collective bargaining.
In demonstrating this commitment, Aldi joined the World Banana Forum (WBF) which brings together the main stakeholders of the global banana supply-chain work together to achieve consensus on best practices for sustainable production and trade, and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe.
In a recent piece on the ETI website, Sarah Bollermann, Director of Corporate Responsibility International at the Aldi South Group, states their vision is to “make sustainability affordable to our customers by 2030”, and that “our membership with ETI is crucial to helping us democratise sustainable products, making them more affordable for all households and getting them onto everybody’s plate”.
Aldi recognise that they have set themselves an ambitious goal, but Banana Link welcomes Aldi’s new found commitment to corporate social responsibility and looks forward to working with them in the WBF and ETI to realise their ambition.