An Aldi Australia CSR manager recently carried out briefing sessions with suppliers to outline how they must sharpen their sourcing programmes and auditing regimes, according to a report in The Australian.
They were given a timetable to make changes within a framework of new rules, benchmarks and systems.
They must also sign up to a selection of international ethical sourcing groups, and begin their own audits of their supply chain and manufacturing operations.
By November suppliers will be required to be a member of one of two corporate and social responsibility groups, either the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange or the Business Social Compliance Initiative.
They must also provide an internal ethical sourcing policy and share accepted third-party audits of their supply chain to Aldi stores.
During the briefing session, suppliers were told they must “proactively review social audit reports and provide corrective action for non-compliances in a timely manner” and warned it was their responsibility to “discuss the findings and provide supporting documentation or photos showing corrective actions for noncompliances”.
Aldi in turn reserves the right to take action against breaches of its ethical benchmarks, including suspending or terminating supplier relationships.
The German discount chain has embarked on a strategy to develop a reputation beyond cheap groceries across the regions where it operates.
Recently British retail analyst IGD warned its industry members to take note of Aldi’s growing desire to improve ethical standards, advising them to “review their sourcing and make changes in production to meet Aldi’s growing focus in this area”.
More from Down Under…
Australia to open doors to US, Japanese and Dutch beef
America will soon be allowed to export beef to America for the first time in 15 years, following a government review.
Japan and the Netherlands have also been given the green light to begin shipments after the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) completed a risk assessment and review process into the safety of their meat.
The three countries will join New Zealand and Vanuatu, which had earlier been given approval to export beef to Australia, subject to compliance with specified risk management measures.
A number of checks, including an assessment of each country’s animal health systems and bilateral certification measures, must also be completed over an unspecified timeframe.
American meat was last allowed into the Australian market in 2002, before BSE detection caused its access to be withdrawn.
Japan has also previously reported cases of the disease, but since 2015 both countries have enjoyed Category One risk status, meaning they have “comprehensive and well-established controls to prevent both the introduction and amplification of the BSE agent in a country’s cattle population, and contamination of the human food supply with the BSE agent”.
“Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia,” DAWR said in a statement.
Though Japanese high-end beef will probably gain a sizeable market in Australia, it is unlikely that American experts will make much of a dent.
The last time they were allowed into the country, they mostly comprised unfashionable cuts that had been stockpiled in America. Unfavourable currency conditions and commodity prices then meant no more than 100 tonnes a year were exported to Australia, though cheaper US beef prices might help increase volumes this time.
Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson said the level of trade will depend on how advantageous exporting countries see the Australian market.
“It is one thing getting access, but obviously then having products to compete in our market is another thing,” he told Beef Central.
“What we may see is specific products coming in, it is not going to be open slather on sausages or boneless product, it might be very specific products and it has got to be advantageous for people sending it.”
Aussie families struggle to afford healthy meals
Australian families relying on welfare and those on low incomes are struggling to afford healthy food, and an expansion of the GST would only make things worse, according to new research.
The Curtin University study looked at the cost of healthy eating and found that under the current GST scenario, families on welfare need to spend almost half their income to follow a healthy meal plan.
It also found that removing the GST exception for fresh foods would have a considerable impact on the affordability of healthy food for families, with low-income and welfare-dependent families hit the hardest.
The researchers identified that families living in remote areas are also at a significant risk of food stress.
“There is food stress risk among single-parent, low-income and welfare-dependent families, particularly those residing in very remote areas.
“Expanding GST places an additional burden on people who are already vulnerable to poor nutrition and chronic disease due to their socioeconomic circumstances,” they concluded.