Human Rights & Ethical Trade
Human rights due diligence
As outlined in our Human Rights & Environmental Due Diligence policy, published in 2019, we systematically monitor and assess human rights risks in our supply chains. Our risk assessment process is informed by greater transparency, our social compliance programme, internationally recognised assessment tools, as well as knowledge gathered through our supplier relationships and expert NGO partners.
Modern Day Slavery
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that at least 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour. It is regarded as the fastest growing criminal industry and has been identified across multiple private sector economies, from construction and manufacturing to agriculture and fishing. Victims of slavery are often hidden within complex supply chains, controlled and threatened by criminal perpetrators, making their plight challenging to both identify and effectively remediate. Therefore we believe the only way to approach this topic is to ensure collaborative actions with other retailers and industry groups.
We welcome the Modern Slavery Act which the UK government introduced in 2015, enforcing businesses with a turnover of 36 million or more, to publicly disclose their approach and actions to tackle forced labour and human trafficking. Please read our Modern Slavery Statement Policy in here
Supporting Women in our Supply Chains
We know that women play a crucial role within our food supply chains and understand that women can be more vulnerable to human rights violations, violence and abuse. Through our supply chain risk assessment, we understand that gender discrimination is prevalent within our sourcing locations.
We have also implemented several projects and programmes in key priority supply chains to specifically support the livelihoods of women workers and farmers including in coffee; cocoa and soy supply chains. We continue to work closely with partners to promote and support resilience amongst farmers and their communities, as well as providing updates on the impact of our programmes through our CSR reporting.
- Ivory Coast, Cocoa – since May 2012 direct support is provided to 45 co-operatives reaching 18,000 smallholder cocoa farmers so far. Support provided includes developing marketing strategies; technical support, promoting diversification and female farmers on crop diversity.
- Guatemala, Coffee – since Oct 2018 there have been improvements in productivity with a focus on climate change resilience for 90 female farmers as part of a co-operative.
- Bolivia, Coffee – since July 2016 we are supporting resilience of 8 smallholder coffee cooperatives in Bolivia by providing direct training of over 264 smallholder farmers.
- Brazil, Soy – since Oct 2018 a direct trade sourcing model has been implemented to support smallholder soy farmers.
Working with our non-food suppliers
We have been a member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) since 2007, committing us to improving working conditions for people employed in our non-food supply chains. As part of the membership, Lidl’s non-food suppliers are required to regularly carry out independent social audits by qualified local personnel for all non-food producers and to comply with recognised international labour standards.
Since 2008, we have also focused on going ‘beyond compliance’ in Bangladesh, working in partnership with the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) to provide dedicated training programmes for production facilities to support compliance with international labour standards. Our current joint programme focuses on Bangladesh, where GIZ currently employs more than 20 people who work exclusively for Lidl and to date have delivered on-the-ground training to 80 textile manufacturers across the country.
We are a member of the Bangladesh Accord, which is an independent, legally-binding agreement between brands and trade unions designed to work towards a safe and healthy Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry.
We are also part of the Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT) initiative. ACT is an agreement between global brands, retailers, unions and governments which aims to secure living wages for workers in clothing, textile and shoe industries. This ambition is achieved through national collective bargaining agreements at industry level which are supported by improved purchasing practices by the ACT member brands. Through this declaration we are confirming our commitment to responsible sourcing by focusing on collaboration with key stakeholders to address systemic challenges, leverage change and in turn increasing the number of suppliers covered by long-term commercial agreements.
We understand the potential barriers facing our supply chain with workers access to grievance mechanisms and remediation. Lidl’s collaborations with the Fairtrade Foundation, UTZ, and the Rainforest Alliance is aimed at helping enhance the lives of farming communities around the world by improving farming methods, protecting the environment, and increasing income through fair prices. Each of these standards have specific requirements to enable grievance mechanisms and remediation.