At ALDI Nord, 2020 was marked to a large extent by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a food supplier, we have borne particular responsibility during the crisis. We took action early in spring 2020, with strict hygiene and protection measures for both employees and customers to ensure that shopping is safe even during the pandemic. In addition, we rapidly laid the technical requirements necessary to make remote working possible in all suitable areas. Whether at our stores, in our warehouses or from home, all ALDI employees went the extra mile in this extraordinary stressful situation. The ALDI companies have shown their appreciation to the employees at the stores and distribution centres for their tireless efforts with a special payment or a goods voucher.
The coronavirus pandemic impressively demonstrated last year that decisive action, rather than a wait-and-see approach, is needed in times of crisis. This lesson must also be applied to another crisis, the effects of which are no less dramatic: the climate crisis. As a result, we have once again sharpened our focus on climate protection. In July 2020, we became one of the first discount supermarkets to join the ‘Science Based Targets initiative’. By joining, we have committed ourselves to setting binding and scientifically verified targets over the next two years to reduce our CO2 emissions, in line with the 1.5°C -aligned target of the Paris Agreement. We will provide more information about these new goals in 2022.
We did not let up in the other areas of our sustainability work last year either, despite the impact of the pandemic. When it comes to reducing plastic waste, for example, we stopped selling disposable plastic products such as plates, cutlery, cups, straws and cotton buds throughout the ALDI Nord group of companies at the end of 2020. We also adopted new international packaging targets in 2021 with goals that include making sure our own-brand plastic product packaging consists of 30 per cent recycled material by 2025. Another milestone from the reporting year is our new international policy on the prevention of food loss and waste. This regulates the handling of surplus food and is binding for the ALDI companies and their business partners. For many years now, ALDI Nord has been using numerous measures to minimise food loss and waste. The new policy creates a binding framework for the entire group of companies.
We report on this and other progress in this Interim Report, which is based on the requirements of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). Back in 2017, ALDI Nord became the first discount food retailer to join the UNGC and has since committed itself to upholding its ten principles. Together with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these principles form the basis for the further development of our sustainability strategies.
I hope you enjoy reading this report and find it informative!
ALDI Einkauf SE & Co. oHG