As part of our due diligence approach, we have established a risk-based social auditing programme, conducting third-party independent audits to measure performance against our Code of Conduct. These provide us with an important snapshot of our supply chain performance on human rights and working conditions. Following audits commissioned at our sites, suppliers develop corrective actions to address any issues raised, which we monitor on an ongoing basis. Our approach is to work collaboratively with suppliers to address areas of non-compliance, ensuring we tackle any challenging issues head-on. Our risk assessment currently shows us that 27% of our sites are currently either high or medium risk with regards to human rights and working conditions.
Going beyond the first tier of our supply chain, we are involved in specific initiatives to drive improvements at grower and producer level. The initiatives we are involved in beyond tier one include the ‘Spanish Ethical Trade Forum’ in the fresh produce supply chain; ‘The Responsible Fishing Scheme’ in the seafood supply chain and the ‘CSR Juice Platform’ within the juice supply chain.
We are impact focused in our approach and are currently identifying the best approaches to tackle the sectoral issues facing our food supply chains, including capacity building through supplier engagement, delivering training to tackle modern slavery, and developing policies to focus on issues such as labour providers. We are also committed to building greater transparency of our supply chain to help identify the best approaches. Seafood, Bananas, Textiles and Juice.
We understand the potential barriers facing our supply chain with workers access to grievance mechanisms and remedy. Our commitment is to source 100% of the key commodities used in our own-brand products from independently certified sustainable sources by the end of 2020. 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 remedy.
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 these 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.
Over the past ten years, approximately 20,000 third-party BSCI audits have been conducted across our non-food supply base, including annual audits at all of our own brand textile and footwear suppliers, which we have identified as being high risk for human rights and working conditions. In total, 836 BSCI audits of own brand textile and footwear production sites were conducted in 2016.
Recognising that audits only present us with a snapshot in time and do not necessarily drive improvements in themselves, we work to understand the root cause of the issues and take appropriate remediating steps. Expert partners work closely with our factories to develop and implement corrective actions following an audit.
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 also members 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. And as part of our commitment to supply chain transparency, we are proud to be one of the first retailers to publish a list of our main 650 suppliers’ production facilities for textiles and footwear on our website.