Aldi has published a human rights policy and charged a senior executive with overseeing its implementation after being criticised by Oxfam for taking neither steps.
The charity had ranked Aldi bottom of a table of six UK supermarkets for protecting workers in its global supply chain. Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s ethical trade manager, wrote in a blog in October stating: ‘We found that no senior executives had explicit responsibility for ensuring human rights are respected in its supply chain.’
Aldi’s newly published human rights policy says the company will adhere to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a commitment Wilshaw also said was lacking from the supermarket.
The policy statement says responsibility for implementing its content will fall with Aldi South Group’s CEO of global sourcing and corporate responsibility international, Christoph Schwaiger.
Schwaiger started at the business as an area manager in Austria in 2006, working his way up to country MD for Aldi China by 2017.
The two-page human rights policy statement also includes a commitment from Aldi to transparency in its supply chains, an area in which Oxfam has called for supermarkets to radically improve.
“We believe that transparency is a significant component of human rights due diligence,” Aldi said. “Therefore, we have initiated efforts to provide a greater insight into our supply chains and communicate openly about corresponding risks and the measures we take. We will continue to increase our transparency as part of our human rights efforts.”
Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s ethical trade manager, said: “We welcomed these initial steps from Aldi but they don’t go anywhere near far enough. There is no detail on how and when the policy will be implemented, and crucially, how Aldi will align the new policy with the way it runs its business.”