“More than 90 % of Lidl’s beef is of European origin. We want to emphasize that we take this topic very seriously and are in close exchange with our suppliers such as JBS about social and environmental aspects such as deforestation. Also we want to make aware, that “Manor House” is no longer in the Lidl assortment.
In general Lidl defined its social and environmental expectations in a robust Code of Conduct for business partners and commits to social standards set out by the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations. In it, Lidl rejects any form of exploitative labour or the abuse of human rights and labour laws across our supply chain. In general, our internationally implemented online reporting system enables to raise serious concerns confidentially. In case we have any information about violations of our requirements, we will investigate immediately.
Lidl is following developments regarding the Mercosur Treaty with full attention. Regardless of future developments, we remain committed to our goal of deforestation-free supply chains. At Lidl, we understand the importance of healthy forests and natural ecosystems, for people, the planet, and business. In this context we commit to achieve zero deforestation and no conversion by 2025. Our commitment to zero deforestation and no conversion is aligned with the guidelines provided by the Accountability Framework Initiatives. We understand that tackling deforestation and the conversion of valuable ecosystems requires a holistic approach to our supply chains and beyond.
Also Kaufland condemns all forms of abuse of employee rights in the strongest possible terms. The chicken nuggets do not originate in Brazil, nor do any of the other poultry products. Pure poultry products are made using only meat that is from animals raised in Germany. In keeping with the guidelines for animal welfare in Germany, beef from Brazil is sourced exclusively from producers which are signatories of the Greenpeace Cattle Agreement or which hold a similar sustainability or environmental certificate, such as from the Rainforest Alliance. The same applies to the other Kaufland national companies. Moreover, as part of the Schwarz Group, Kaufland is bound to comply with the Code of Conduct for Business Partners, which imposes requirements on partners to uphold minimum social standards and to comply with the applicable social and environmental laws. “
What kind of policies does ALDI enforce to make sure that its meat suppliers do not contribute to promote illegal deforestation and human rights violations in South America?
Regarding our beef purchase at the ALDI SOUTH Group, we focus on beef that is grown close to our national marketplaces. Consequently, less than 1% of our beef is from Brazil. Nevertheless, we are aware of our responsibility to respect human rights and to improve environmental management in our business operations and supply chains.
Therefore, in 2020, we met with major Brazilian beef producers (JBS, Marfrig and Minerva) to understand the real conditions on the ground and to underline the importance of deforestation-free beef production, sustainable sourcing and reliable monitoring mechanisms to the ALDI SOUTH Group.
If beef at ALDI is sourced from Brazil, we emphasize that it should be in compliance with the Terms of Adjustment of Conduct (TCA) and the Brazil Cattle Agreement (BAC). We are aware that these systems offer opportunities for improvement and we welcome robust certification mechanisms and/or the introduction of traceability schemes, e.g. via ear tags as in Uruguay.
How is ALDI dealing with the possibility that the increase of meat exports with the approval of the EU-Mercosur Treaty might impact on deforestation rates and human rights issues?
Most human rights and environmental issues are complex and systemic. We recognize that individual companies have limited opportunity to influence systemic problems. Only when all companies are obliged to pull together, we can achieve systemic change. Therefore, ALDI supports mandatory human rights due diligence legislation and an EU/UK legislation on deforestation and EU Legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance. We expect that legislation will lead to a level playing field and, hence, an improvement of the human rights and environmental situation in global supply chains.
ALDI actively engages in the process of the development of an EU/UK legislation on deforestation and EU Legislation on Sustainable Corporate Governance, e.g. by participating in panel discussions, and responding to public consultations. Legislation is an important factor to ensure that no produce causing deforestation enters the EU and that the human rights of workers in our supply chains are respected.
BACKGROUND ON OUR APPROACH TO PROTECTING AGAINST ILLEGAL DEFORESTATION AND PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS
In 2018 Tesco became the first UK supermarket to stop selling Brazilian beef due to concerns over deforestation, and does not buy any Brazilian beef or other Brazilian meat, whether from Marfrig, JBS or any other producer. We continue to look for opportunities to positively influence production; such as through the CGF Forest Positive Coalition of Action, which seeks to increase transparency across forest-risk commodity supply chains including Brazilian beef production.
Tesco is committed to zero-net deforestation, and all the soy our suppliers source has to be sustainably certified, regardless of trader. We work with traders and suppliers to ensure all soy volumes purchased from South America are certified to a Tesco Certified Zero Deforestation Soy Benchmark approved standard, or sourced from a verified zero deforestation area.
Working with our suppliers, we met the 2020 industry-wide target of certified ‘zero net deforestation’ for our own direct soy sourcing a year early. But there is more to do, and so we’ve set an additional industry-leading target for the soy we use in the UK to be from entire areas that are verified deforestation-free by 2025.
Tesco recently, as Co-Chair of the international Steering Group of the Cerrado Manifesto Statement of Support (SoS), called on six of the world’s largest commodity traders, to commit to eradicate deforestation and natural habitat conversion linked to the production of soy from Brazil’s Cerrado region from their supply chains. This included a call for robust traceability, including for indirect suppliers, transparency metrics and for monitoring, verification and reporting (MVR) systems to be put in place.
Tesco UK’s supply chain uses an extremely small proportion of total global soy production, so we don’t have the scale to transform the whole system alone and we need to work with other stakeholders to effect change. This includes our efforts to help protect the Cerrado region, where we source 60% of our Brazilian soy:
- In late 2019 Tesco convened 150 companies in support of the Cerrado, and we became the first company to commit £10m to the Cerrado Funding Coalition, which seeks to protect native vegetation and transition to producing soy only on existing agricultural land. We’re encouraging more companies to support the initiative, and to ensure funding meets its aims we are inviting the Brazilian soy industry to lead the development of an effective system of governance.
- In October 2017, along with 22 other global companies, we published a Business Statement of Support (“SoS”) for the Cerrado Manifesto which calls for industry, civil society and government to work together to balance sustainable agricultural development and protection of the Cerrado.
- Tesco has led global industry efforts to protect against deforestation in Brazil; as a founding member of the Amazon Soy Moratorium and the Soy Transparency Coalition, and more recently leading a coalition of businesses to lobby the Brazilian National Congress to reject a measure that would have enabled further levels of deforestation of the Amazon.
We called on the UK government to mandate food companies, through the National Food Strategy, to introduce effective due diligence across supply chains to make sure the food sold in the UK is deforestation-free. New protections have now been introduced by the UK Parliament.
Tesco’s human rights strategy has four key focus areas that cover all food and grocery non-food suppliers: gender equality, worker representation, sustainable livelihoods and forced labour. Products from South America are monitored in line with our detailed requirements in these areas, and our approach includes:
Annual independent ethical audits by approved audit providers, including audits at grower level and direct engagement with workers and visits to associated facilities, such as housing.
Monitoring to ensure non-compliances are addressed within the requirements of local law and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) I Base Code.
Where we have identified complex and endemic issues in South America, Tesco plays an active role in a number of collaborative multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the World Banana Forum and ETI Peru working group.
REWE Group already carries neither private label nor branded fresh meat from Brazil in its product ranges.
As a member of the European Retail Soy Group, REWE Group has been committed to the protection and preservation of the rainforest and the protection of human rights in the Amazon region for years. For this purpose, we have signed the following open letters last year and thus clearly positioned ourselves:
Back in 2017, we also signed the “Cerrado Manifesto – Statement of Support” together with numerous Brazilian NGOs and global trading companies with the aim of raising awareness of the ecological risks associated with climate change and deforestation caused by agricultural production in the Cerrado Savannahs in inland southeastern Brazil.
For the supply chains of our REWE Group private label brands of animal origin, we are fundamentally committed to successively reducing soy meal imported from South America, as well as certifying non-substitutable South American soy and promoting the cultivation of European soy and the use of alternative domestic protein sources. REWE Group relies on standards such as Pro Terra, ISCC+, Donau Soja/Europe Soy and RTRS when it comes to deforestation. The contractual agreements with the suppliers are accompanied by audits to verify feed delivery bills.
Since the end of 2019, the use of sustainable soy as animal feed has already made REWE and PENNY’s entire private label range of eggs, milk and fresh poultry meat certified deforestation-free. The REWE Group sustainability label PRO PLANET on the respective products indicates a certified deforestation-free supply chain.
By the end of 2021, the supply chains of REWE Group’s own brands in the area of soy animal feed as well as fresh pork and beef meat are to be 100 percent certified deforestation-free.
As a founding member of the Donau Soja association, REWE Group has been able to promote the cultivation of over 55,000 tons of certified deforestation-free soy in the Zupanja region in Croatia in cooperation with around 220 farmers since 2015. The association is committed to regional value creation in the European Danube region and an independent, ecologically sustainable protein supply.
By the end of 2025, REWE Group also aims to be 100 percent deforestation-free through certifications for its private label supply chains in the wood/paper sector. This goal has already been achieved for palm oil.
Please find more information at:
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “Sainsbury’s is committed to sourcing sustainably and working together with the wider industry to tackle deforestation and preserve the essential ecosystems in the Amazon and Cerrado.”
Despite the UK representing a small fraction of total export volumes out of Brazil, we believe that together with the wider industry we can influence significant strides to address these issues. This work is already underway and we are involved in a number of projects which we hope to be in a position to update on soon.
If we identify suppliers which are either unwilling to recognize issues with their production or work together to remedy them, we will review our commercial relationship with them and sever ties if necessary.
We are supportive of industry agreements to end legal and illegal conversion of natural ecosystems like the Amazon and Cerrado – in fact, we were one of the first companies to sign a Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto – a call from various businesses that use soy and meat from these regions to support habitat protection.
Further to your email, we invite you to contact GPA communication – Brazil’s Casino subsidiary.
They will remind you that Casino group, through its branches in Latin America, has been actively fighting against deforestation for many years. Our Brazilian branch GPA implements a consistent and rigorous policy for the control of the origin of beef delivered by its providers.
Moreover, as regards indirect farms, GPA supports and gets involved in the VISIPEC project in order to go up the supply chain and reinforce the monitoring process. This project is in an experimental phase with NWF and GPA is the first distributor involved in the pilot.
We would like to point out that Casino group is only present in France and not in Europe, as some other retailers; moreover, the Casino group’s banners in France do not sell Brazilian beef in its stores in France. And Casino does not own Spar, only manages the franchise of the brand in France.
Repórter Brasil – Thank you for your response. You mention that “Casino group’s banners in France do not sell Brazilian beef in its stores in France”. Nevertheless, you will find in the following link (https://plus.casino.fr/products/MPX_3886179/details) relevant information about beef jerky sold by Casino in France. This product, according to the information presented by the retailer itself in the link, comes from Brazilian origin. Let me know if you would like to add or change anything in your last statement in light of this.
We thank you for your vigilance. Your initial questions were about private labels and the MERCOSUR Agreement, and therefore mechanically on all of our own brand products; that means on products on which we have control over the composition and the sourcing. Beef jerky is a national brand (we do not import or compose the product, the recipe, beef is integrated into the product). Otherwise, the MERCOSUR agreement will not change the import and export of this specific product.
The core business of the Tönnies Group is the slaughter and processing of pigs and cattle from Germany and neighboring EU countries. Accordingly, most of the beef placed on the market is of German origin. Buying and trading in beef from non-EU countries, such as Brazil, takes place only to a limited extent. The South American goods are resold in special market niches, such as the gastronomy area or in the so-called special offer shop of the food retail trade, for example at Christmas and Easter.
South American beef enjoys an excellent reputation in Europe and is valued for its excellent quality. That is why there is explicit demand for South American beef in these market segments.
But even in this relatively small part of the company’s activity, Tönnies works on sustainable meat production in a systematic sustainability management system. To bundle the activities in the beef sector, Tönnies is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Beef Working Group and the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability.
It is very important to us that the meat meets our quality requirements and that it was not raised in cleared rainforest areas.
We employ a team of inspectors in South America who check the production of our items on site. All stages of production are recorded. In this way we ensure compliance with European standards. In addition, we purchase the goods exclusively from suppliers who are part of the “Roundtable of sustainable beef”.
We expect that the promises of our suppliers will be kept – e.g. the cattle agreement between JBS and Greenpeace and the related obligations of the company.
Regarding the EU-Mercosur Agreement: We do not intend to increase the import volumes of meat from South America.
We take the view that the Mercosur Agreement must not accelerate the deforestation of the rainforest and that human rights must be respected.
We share the view of the German Farmers Union (National Farmers Union) that imported meat must meet the same strict environmental requirements as apply to animal owners and Germany and the EU. We also share the view that violations of agreements on sustainability must be sanctioned. So far this has not been the case.