As a large grocery retailer, a key way in which we strive for greater sustainability across our business is through the sourcing of our products. That’s why we’re fully committed to ensuring that our buying power is driving positive change for producers, communities and the environment as a whole, both in Northern Ireland and further afield.
After all, sourcing responsibly means we can offer you goods that are produced to the highest quality, environmental and social standards – allowing you to choose sustainably sourced options at affordable prices.
“At Lidl, we provide top quality and market leading value but also we ensure our products are ethically sourced. We are committed to ambitious sustainability targets in a variety of product categories. This won’t be achieved overnight but we want to share our journey with you.”
– Liam Casey, Commercial Director
Fruit & Vegetables
We offer a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round, sourced to extremely high-quality standards. What a lot of people don’t know is that we have put in place much stricter limits for pesticides than required by law. For all our fresh fruit and vegetables, we only allow up to one-third of the legal limit of pesticides.
Banana farming provides employment to millions of people in developing countries worldwide and is a major source of income for their economies. However, workers in this industry often suffer from poor working conditions, low wages and exposure to harmful chemicals. This year we are pleased to announce that 100% of our banana range now comes from farms certified to Fairtrade, Organic or Rainforest Alliance standards.
Did you know that palm oil is used in a wide variety of products, from margarine and chocolate to ice-cream, soaps and cosmetics? Why is palm oil so popular? Aside from the great cooking properties, creamy texture and natural preservatives it is also the highest yielding vegetable crop in the world.
However, the cultivation of palm oil can lead to deforestation which has many negative effects on local communities, biodiversity and protected species. In an attempt to combat this, we support the work of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) who have developed a set of environmental and social standards for the sustainable production of this commodity and the protection of worker’s rights.
We are committed to sourcing mass balance palm oil, with the aim of moving to fully segregated RSPO certified palm oil, for use in all our own-brand food products by the end of 2017. This means that the palm oil used in our products is from fully certified, sustainable sources and will be segregated from conventional palm oil throughout the entire supply chain. By the end of 2018, all our own-brand non-food products will also be certified to RSPO standards on a mass balance basis.
Cocoa farmers face many challenges in the production of our favourite sweet treat. Although prices for cocoa are rising as a result of higher demand, many farmers and growers do not reap the benefits of this. As well as dealing with unfair pay and poor living and working conditions they must also attempt to tackle environmental issues affecting their crops. That’s why we’re committed to supporting internationally recognised organisations in the cultivation of sustainable cocoa.
By the end of 2017, all of the cocoa used in all our own-brand products will be certified to Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance standards and/or certified as organic – that’s everything from our 80% cocoa dark chocolate bars to the cocoa powder used in our chocolate mini-muffins.
Many of our products are already certified to these standards and over the coming months we’ll be turning our attention to the remaining products and working closely with our suppliers, both in Northern Ireland and abroad, to ensure that we reach our target so that by the end of the year we can all enjoy some guilt-free chocolate…well at least in terms of sustainability.
Tea is probably the country’s best-loved drink but for the millions of workers producing tea the world over, pressure is mounting from large, global companies to produce even more tea on top of the issues they already face, such as poor working conditions, housing, education and healthcare.
We are committed to supporting tea growers and sourcing our produce from sustainable and certified sources. By the end of 2018, 100% of our own-brand black, green and Rooibos tea will be certified to Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance standards and/or certified as organic.
Each of these standard-setting organisations focus on topics that are important in the production of tea such as promoting good environmental practices and tackling social issues by helping to improve the welfare of those working and living in tea producing communities.
Coffee continues to be one of the most rapidly evolving markets in the food and beverage industry. However, producers are operating in an increasingly challenging environment. Climate change is leading to rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns, the result is increased volatility in crop yields, creating price fluctuations and unreliable incomes. We’re committed to working with organisations such as Fairtrade, UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance to protect workers, their communities and the environment to ensure that they can continue to sustainably produce ingredients for one of the world’s most consumed beverages.
By the end of 2020, 50% of our own-brand coffee will be certified to Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance standards and/or certified as organic. It’s important to remember that production of coffee beans is very labour intensive and sustainable production cannot happen overnight if farmers are to keep up with the demand for this commodity.
Fish & Seafood
To maintain fish stocks long-term, we have developed buying policies to support the principles of sustainable fishing and fishing methods. As we would be unable to achieve this aim on our own, we work closely with our suppliers to find solutions to promote sustainable fishing.
We actively support organisations as such the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council in their efforts to promote sustainable fishing and fishing methods.
In providing the best quality, responsibly sourced fish and seafood, we also work hard to ensure that they are caught and processed in an ethical and socially responsible manner. All our suppliers are required to meet the conditions set out in our Supplier Code of Conduct.
Most of us don’t really consider how our new shoes or jeans are actually made when we’re indulging in some retail therapy. Chemicals are added to every stage of textile and shoe production and are prevalent right throughout the supply chain. It’s true that chemicals make our world and our textiles bright and shiny, but we sometimes neglect to consider the harmful effects that these have on our environment or even on human health.
Today, the textile and shoe industries are intensively using chemicals and are responsible for 20% of overall environmental pollution. We recognise the urgent need to eliminate the industrial release of all hazardous chemicals. In response, we have pledged to meet the goals of Greenpeace’s Detox commitment to eliminate the discharge of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures of apparel and footwear products no later than 2020. For us, this commitment provides the framework for a long-term vision.
Click here to view our detox road map.
You can find out more about the Greenpeace detox campaign here.