Aldi is to appoint a senior international director responsible for human and labour rights and publish an international human rights policy, The Grocer understands.
The development comes after the German retailer was urged to “up its game” and “drive out suffering and hunger” from its supply chains by Oxfam director of campaign and policy Matthew Spencer last week.
It also follows a blog post published by the charity this week [October 16] which sets out why it is campaigning against the discounter.
Referring to the publication of an Oxfam scorecard in June, which ranked Aldi bottom of a table of six UK supermarkets for protecting the workers in its global supply chain, Rachel Wilshaw, the charity’s ethical trade manager wrote:
“In our assessment of Aldi, we found that no senior executives had explicit responsibility for ensuring human rights are respected in its supply chain, unlike Tesco and Morrisons, nor has the company made an explicit commitments to the UN Guiding Prinicples and Human Rights, unlike Tesco and Lidl UK (the commitment does not yet extend to Lidl’s business at international level).”
The post also suggested that Aldi had not demonstrated supply chain transparency, while its policy fell short in not stating that suppliers should avoid repeat temporary and zero hours contracts.
Speaking to The Grocer, Wilshaw said: “Oxfam’s campaign will continue until the company openly publishes information which addresses the concerns we have highlighted. Transparency is important so that everyone interested in a company’s performance can see what they are doing, and hold them to account in meeting their commitments.”
It is not clear when Aldi will appoint the human and labour rights director or when its international human rights policy will be published.
“We respect human rights and have comprehensive policies in place to ensure that everyone in our supply chain who makes, grows and supplies our products is treated fairly,” an Aldi spokeswoman said.
“Oxfam’s report is based on desktop research of publicly available information and was conducted almost a year ago. It is misleading and not representative of our current position.
“We are meeting with Oxfam next week to provide them with more accurate information and we are disappointed that they have taken this action before meeting with us to fully understand our policies and practices.”
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