Every day, many millions of people across the globe are involved in the manufacture of food and merchandise sold on the shelves of countless food retailers like Lidl.
Like governments, companies, too, are responsible for ensuring that human rights are upheld in their global supply chains as a non-negotiable requirement and that this respect for human rights is put into practice in their direct business relationships. This is why we at Lidl stand hand-in-hand with our business partners in our commitment to human rights at all stages in our value chain.
Respecting and protecting these fundamental rights is part of our corporate responsibility. In these endeavors, we are guided by the principles set out in internationally valid frameworks such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
As we believe that our corporate success rests on treating each other fairly, responsibility for our fellow human beings and society is a firm component of Lidl’s corporate principles. As part of the Schwarz Group, Lidl Malta is committed to upholding human rights.
Access to an effective complaint mechanism, including for workers in global supply chains, is an essential component of corporate due diligence to uncover human rights risks and rights violations. In practice, however, this often presents a challenge in the deeper supply chain, as workers in a wide variety of contexts - e.g. language skills, access to information technology, cultural characteristics - are to be given access to grievance mechanisms. Lidl has therefore set itself the goal of piloting complaint mechanisms in different supply chains in order to identify scalable and effective approaches. In this first step, we have started piloting complaint mechanisms in three high-risk supply chains.
Berries from Spain
As part of this pilot, we worked with our partner Elevate to build a new, effective complaint mechanism worker in the berry sector in Huelva, Spain. The complaint mechanism will be piloted with selected growers during the 2021/2022 harvest season. We are placing particular emphasis on addressing existing barriers to access for workers. The complaint mechanism has multiple grievance channels, including a hotline staffed by trained personnel, as well as the ability to submit complaints via WhatsApp. Complaints are accepted in any language. Verbal exchanges with hotline staff are available in Spanish, Arabic and English. In addition, workers are trained in the use of the mechanism. In particular, to reflect the fact that the majority of workers on site are women from North Africa and Eastern Europe, all hotline employees are women. We will evaluate the pilot after the end of the harvest season and report on results and next steps.
We are working with our suppliers Griesson - de Beukelaer and Cargill to pilot an effective complaint mechanism in the palm oil sector. As part of the pilot, we will work with selected palm oil suppliers and their palm oil plantations to evaluate whether the complaint mechanism is suitable for further rollout to other regions or in relation to other product groups. The pilot is currently in the set-up phase and is expected to run until the end of 2022.
Coconut milk from Vietnam
In Vietnam, we are piloting another complaint mechanism provided by the service provider Ulula in cooperation with amfori. This is a mechanism that is being tested in both the non-food and food sectors. Lidl is participating in the project with production sites in the textile and coconut milk sectors. As part of the pilot, workers also have various complaint channels at their disposal. As several principals are often active at a production site, complaints are investigated uniformly with the involvement of a commissioned third party and remedial measures are developed. The pilot will run until mid-2022 and will subsequently be evaluated by amfori and its members to consider further scaling.
You can download the Policy Statement that applies to the entire Schwarz Group here: