Aldi Australia will be training buyers to look out for signs of labour abuse as it tackles slavery risk in its fresh produce supply chain.
The retailer, the first Australian member of the Slave-Free Alliance, said it would also develop a framework for robust regular internal reporting on human rights activities.
Tom Daunt, Aldi Australia CEO, said in its modern slavery statement for 2020 it would conduct a human rights risk assessment with the Slave-Free Alliance and follow this with a training programme for procurement staff and suppliers to help them recognise signs of modern slavery and respond appropriately.
In the company’s statement it said there was increased risk in the fresh produce sector due to outsourcing work through labour service providers.
The retailer said it would work with suppliers to monitor supply chain social standards. It said since 2018 it had reviewed 142 third party social audit reports.
“In 2020 we worked closely with suppliers to undertake remediation regarding issues including fire safety, underpayment of wages and non-transparency,” Aldi said.
Last year the company became the first Australian supermarket to share its modern slavery statement.
It identified a number of high-risk areas in its supply chain such as local fresh produce and internationally produced goods like coffee, tea and cocoa.
Australia introduced the modern slavery act in 2019, requiring organisations with an annual revenue of more than $100,000 to report annually on modern slavery risks within their operations and supply chains and the steps they were taking to address them.
The Slave-Free Alliance is part of the global anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice and helps businesses to protect their supply chains and operations from modern slavery.
Lynnette Kay, director at Slave-Free Alliance in Australia, said: “We are delighted that Aldi Australia is leading the way in Australia’s fight against modern slavery, and we are looking forward to working together to achieve our shared goal, a slave-free supply chain.
“As an international company with suppliers in Australia and across the globe it’s wonderful to see Aldi putting in place robust programmes to prevent worker exploitation. We hope that other businesses will follow its example so that we can tackle modern slavery collectively.”
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