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Packaging & cycle

[GRI 301/103-1] Waste avoidance is a key pillar of sustainable development. At almost 82 per cent, packaging waste* accounts for the biggest proportion of the total waste generated by the ALDI North Germany. For many products, packaging is essential for protection and quality assurance, making it impossible to avoid it completely. That is why we focus on recyclable materials and, in some cases, on multiple-use systems for fruit and vegetable outer packaging. Moreover, we are reviewing ways to contribute to a circular economy that helps conserve resources through packaging and through our products and carrier bags.

Our approach

[GRI 301/103-2] When it comes to our transport and outer packaging, we use multiple-use systems whenever it makes economic and ecological sense to do so. Most of our fruit and vegetable products are transported in multiple-use boxes instead of conventional cardboard packaging. However, single-use packaging is unavoidable in many cases in order to protect our products during transport. In Germany, we use foils and boxes made of recyclable materials so that these can be recovered. What is more, our disposable cardboard packaging already consists partially of recycled and/or certified material in many ALDI North Group countries.

Our considerations with a view to the circular economy do not stop at packaging. In a circular economy, products are developed and manufactured in such a way that they can continue to be used or fully recovered following their original use, reducing the amount of waste and the amount of resources required to manufacture new products. We intend to encourage this mindset in future through appropriate projects.

Organisation and guidelines

[GRI 301/103-2/3] The topics of packaging and the cycle are coordinated in an interdisciplinary manner at the ALDI North Group. Corporate Responsibility (CR), Quality Assurance and Buying work together to address these issues. Because many packaging materials are made out of wood fibres, our approach to dealing with packaging and recycling within the ALDI North Group is guided by the provisions of our International Timber Purchasing Policy, among other things. In Germany, the new Packaging Act (Verpackungsgesetz), which will replace the previous Packaging Ordinance (Verpackungsverordnung) with effect from 1 January 2019, also plays a role. In the Netherlands, the food retail and manufacturing industries have set cross-sector targets for more sustainable packaging. The move towards a circular economy is also particularly apparent when it comes to the fast-paced apparel industry. In our National Cotton Purchasing Policy, we focus on using recycled cotton in Germany as well.

Progress and measures in 2017

New International Timber Purchasing Policy

[GRI 301/103-2/3] Most of our outer packaging is made of wood fibres. The exact figure varies from country to country. All told, almost 80 per cent of our packaging waste consists of wood, board or paper. In our International Timber Purchasing Policy, we lay out clear rules that are valid throughout the ALDI North Group for dealing with this resource – and therefore for dealing with a great deal of our packaging. We plan to change all wood and wood-based products, sales packaging, outer packaging and transport packaging to recycled or sustainably certified materials by 2020 (see Targets and status). At the same time, the purchasing policy is a binding framework for our relationship with our business partners. We work with them to rise to the social, environmental and economic challenges resulting in this field. Today, 18 per cent of our packaging waste already falls within the scope of the new International Timber Purchasing Policy. In the period under review, we started changing wood-based small packaging for fresh shell eggs to 100 per cent recycled materials.

Textiles and footwear: more recycled fibres

We already use recycled fibres in textiles and footwear. Special blankets and pillows with recycled fibres, for example, are part of our special-buy product range in Germany. These fibres come from PET bottles that we take back at our reverse vending machines. The PET bottles are chopped into flakes and ultimately spun into fibres. By 2020, we plan to investigate the implementation of closed-loop projects and corresponding research projects where it makes sense and is appropriate to do so. We are also looking into expanding the use of recycled fibres.

Doing away with disposable bags

In late 2017, we started discontinuing conventional disposable plastic shopping bags in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Once the conversion process has been completed, these ALDI North Group countries will only carry reusable totes. For more information, please see the story entitled "Disposing with disposables".

Targets and status

[GRI 301/103-2/3] Our International Timber Purchasing Policy contains clear targets for packaging. Among other things, we plan to convert all newly purchased sales, outer and transport packaging for products to sustainably certified quality or recycled material, depending on availability. In this respect, we accept the FSC®** and PEFC*** standards or other standards in individual consultation that contribute to the promotion of sustainable forestry and/or environmentally friendly processing. For outer and transport packaging, we accept materials that consist of at least 70 per cent recycled materials without certification. The changeover is set to start immediately and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020. In Germany, the changeover from disposable shopping bags to reusable carrier bags is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018 in consideration of existing supplier agreements.

Our targets from the CR Programme:

Field of action: supply chain responsibility

Objective

Status

Target date

Target value

Target relevance

Preparation and publication of an International Timber Purchasing Policy

Target achieved – Sustainability at ALDI North

2017

Purchasing policy

ALDI Nord Group

Changeover of wood and wood-based products to sustainably certified materials (FSC®, PEFC™, EU Ecolabel or comparable standards)

new

2020

100%

ALDI Nord Group

Changeover of all newly purchased sales packaging, repackaging
and transport packaging for products to recycled and/or
sustainably certified materials (FSC®, PEFC™, EU Ecolabel or comparable standards), depending on availability

new

2020

100%

ALDI Nord Group

Target achieved – Sustainability at ALDI North Target achieved Ongoing process – Sustainability at ALDI North Ongoing process
Field of action: resource conservation

Objective

Status

Target date

Target value

Target relevance

Discontinuation of plastic bags

new

2018

100%

Germany, Netherlands, Belgium

Performance indicators

[GRI 301-1]

Number of bags sold/given away

Number of bags sold/given away by type (in thousand)

Carrier bags

Long-life shopping bags

Cooling bags

Bakery product bags

String net bags

Carrier bags

Long-life shopping bags

Cooling bags

Bakery product bags

String net bags

Carrier bags

Long-life shopping bags

Cooling bags

Bakery product bags

String net bags

Belgium/Luxembourg1

8,729

963

310

7,615

8,759

1,088

337

9,213

8,268

1,225

362

8,794

Denmark

6,459

79

48

7,315

3,678

6,733

84

50

9,187

3,536

6,606

71

42

12,951

4,480

Germany

46,627

1,753

878

118,652

184,744

44,160

2,182

876

129,580

181,688

36,543

2,081

930

160,093

175,730

France2

9,813

2,345

844

20,647

10,500

11,016

1,332

808

46,638

10,500

10,681

1,506

820

58,864

38,320

Netherlands

6,392

465

192

5,483

444

180

111

6,034

518

220

5,867

1,792

Poland3

2,202

39

25,760

2,780

43

17

2,888

26,880

2,623

51

25

7,920

41,280

Portugal

1,725

157

11

2,373

10,206

2,208

206

15

7,560

9,072

3,127

298

22

16,888

14,742

Spain

17,344

433

57

23,160

12,000

22,248

573

75

29,254

21,736

25,572

624

101

37,113

33,916

ALDI Nord Group

99,292

6,234

2,340

179,762

246,888

103,387

5,952

2,356

234,431

253,412

99,455

6,374

2,523

308,489

310,171

1 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI Nord Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to "Subject of the report"). Bakery product bags made of both plastic and paper are used in Belgium.
2 Late reporting information for the years 2015 and 2016 resulted in partial adjustments compared with the previous year’s report.
3 The carrier bags in Poland are different from those used by the rest of the ALDI Nord Group in terms of design and size.

Materials used for primary packaging

Weight of materials used for primary packaging (in metric tons)1, 2, 3

Total

Wood, board, paper

Plastics

Other

Total

Wood, board, paper

Plastics

Other

Total

Wood, board, paper

Plastics

Other

Belgium/Luxembourg4

100,260

22,418

26,766

51,076

84,539

16,967

24,921

42,651

74,074

13,203

24,387

36,484

Denmark

5,000

882

1,323

2,795

2,521

554

397

1,570

8,880

1,612

1,525

5,743

Germany

584,192

83,163

177,909

323,120

286,952

52,191

53,314

181,447

280,692

50,964

48,194

181,534

France

15,002

2,431

3,004

9,567

7,798

1,526

900

5,372

54,697

9,931

9,391

35,375

Netherlands

90,155

10,437

23,857

55,861

64,215

7,758

16,703

39,754

104,028

14,896

23,763

65,369

Poland5

8,658

2,715

2,066

3,877

4,410

1,633

901

1,876

7,643

2,171

1,614

3,858

Portugal

2,075

506

558

1,011

1,885

475

437

973

7,947

813

3,764

3,370

Spain

20,125

4,857

6,354

8,914

14,265

3,840

3,275

7,150

30,462

6,845

6,228

17,389

ALDI Nord Group

825,467

127,409

241,837

456,221

466,585

84,944

100,848

280,793

568,423

100,435

118,866

349,122

1 The data are partly based on estimates and extrapolations.
2 Excluding data on items that are purchased nationally by our companies in Denmark and France. The quantities stated for these countries were sourced through the common ALDI Buying organisation.
3 The change in values for all countries except Belgium and Luxembourg compared to previous years is attributable to a change in the methodology used to estimate the quantities sourced through the common ALDI Buying organisation.
4 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI Nord Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to "Subject of the report"). The values pertaining to plastic packaging are based on the statutory packaging declaration and have been adjusted retroactively for the two previous years.
5 For items purchased in Poland, primary and secondary packaging was recorded as primary packaging.

Primary packaging made of wood, board and paper within the scope of our Timber Purchasing Policy

Proportion of the weight of materials used for primary packaging accounted for by wood, board and paper (in per cent)

2015

2016

2017

ALDI Nord Group

15.4

18.2

17.7

Packaging waste
At the ALDI North Group, we differentiate between sales packaging, outer packaging and transport packaging. The outer and transport packaging included in our data is attributable to our distribution centres and stores. Our customers can dispose of sales packaging – i.e. the product and packaging combined – directly at our stores. However, our customers usually dispose of sales packaging themselves at home.

** FSC®
The acronym FSC® refers to the independent certification organisation Forest Stewardship Council®. The FSC® differentiates between three categories: FSC® 100%, FSC® MIX and FSC® RECYCLED.

*** PEFC
The abbreviation PEFC™ stands for the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, which is an independent, international certification organisation. PEFC™ differentiates between two categories: PEFC™ for certified fresh fibres and PEFC™ Recycled for certified recycled materials.

SDG

GRI

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