Fruit & Veg

Fruit & Veg

SUSTAINABLE SOURCING OF FRUIT & VEG

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Lidl GB is committed to sourcing fruit and vegetables in a responsible and sustainable way. This includes supporting the British farming economy and, when seasonally possible, sourcing fruit and vegetables from long-term British suppliers.

In 2016, Lidl signed up to the NFU fruit and veg pledge, committing to work in a sustainable way with all its growers. Through this pledge we committed to sourcing products from suppliers who uphold high social and environmental standards, and work with suppliers that have internationally recognised schemes to accredit these practices.

We acknowledge that the agricultural industry has a largely migrant workforce, which can be more vulnerable to exploitation, poor working conditions and human rights violations. We recognise that there are risks throughout agricultural supply chains including labour rights, human rights, health and safety issues and environmental impacts.

Through the commitments shared in our Fruit & Veg Sourcing Policy we are taking steps to ensure that the workers, farmers and communities who produce, pack and deliver the fruit and vegetables we sell in our stores are treated fairly, and receive safe and decent working and living conditions.

Learn what we are working on specifically with our banana supply chain here.

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Our Commitment

We are committed to sourcing 100% of our fruit and vegetables from sources that have been certified to independent environmental and social standards.

Supporting the NFU’s Fruit and Veg Pledge

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As a business we do not subscribe to short-term fixes.  We are committed to developing fair and long-term solutions for our growers by working together in a logical and sustainable manner.  

Our business model enables us to build strong, long-standing relationships with our suppliers.  We operate a small, dedicated buying team with a simple, flat reporting structure, presenting our growers with streamlined channels of communication.   This arrangement allows us to truly appreciate our suppliers’ individual issues and improve stock management, and is vital to maintaining mutually beneficial relationships in the longer term.  

For us, deeply understanding the complexities and fluctuations in crop production and market activity is vital. We can only advise, plan and discuss effectively when these issues are properly acknowledged.  Crucially, we work closely with our suppliers to plan production volumes with a flexible approach that can maximise product availability and turn oversupply situations into a positive.

We communicate openly and transparently with our suppliers to provide the certainty and confidence required for continued growth.  We never impose hidden costs or retrospectively amend agreements, which would entirely contradict our way of working, undermining the deep-seated trust we have built.

Improving Standards of Worker Accommodation

The provision of temporary worker accommodation within fresh produce supply chains is common place. We are taking steps to ensure that temporary accommodation provided to workers in our supply chains meet the requirements needed for a decent standard of living. Through collaboration with other retailers and our suppliers, we have developed best practice guidance on the issue of temporary worker accommodation. These have been shared with all our UK based suppliers along with a training package to guide suppliers through the standards. Further information can be found here.

Working towards living wages with the CSR Juice Platform

The Juice CSR Platform is a vision-driven platform offering a space for collaboration and continuous improvement where all sector and supply chain stakeholders are included. The Platform enables stakeholders to work together to find solutions to common Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)-related opportunities, challenges and concerns as reflected in the CSR Principles. The Juice CSR platform’s overall objective is to support, guide and inspire juice stakeholders to integrate CSR throughout the supply chain. As part of our membership of the platform we are supporting a living wage study in the Brazilian orange supply chain to understand the existing gaps between actual wages and living wages. The findings of this study will be used to inform a sector-wide approach to closing the wage gap.

Spanish Ethical Trade Forum

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The Spanish Ethical Trade Forum is a collaboration between retailers, suppliers and growers working to improve conditions in the Spanish produce sector. Since March 2020 we have sat on the governance group alongside other retailers and suppliers.

The forums enable suppliers that operate in Southern Spain to share best practice and discuss any challenges facing the agricultural industry on a day-to-day basis. In addition, suppliers and retailers collaborate to share innovative ideas and solutions to modern slavery risks and labour exploitation.

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Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing

Bananas

Bananas are one of our most popular products, grown and produced in countries on the equator and shipped into the UK every day. As bananas can be grown by both smallholder farmers and on large plantations, it is important that we understand our supply chains well to make sure we are able to support sustainable and ethical production in the most appropriate way.

Tea

We source 100% of our own brand black, green and rooibos tea from either UTZ, Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance third-party certification schemes. We recognise the social and environmental challenges facing tea production, and although we sell a small amount in comparison to the global output, we are committed to doing what we can to promote sustainable production.

Cocoa

Over 120 of the products that we sell contain cocoa, which represents more than 5% of our total range. We are proud that, since April 2017, 100% of the cocoa we have sold has come from third party sustainably certified sources.

Plants & Flowers

Lidl GB is committed to British sourcing and, when seasonally possible, sources plants and flowers from long-term British suppliers. Due to the growth and nature of the horticultural industry, most of the plants and flowers grown within Europe come from the Netherlands and Italy, whilst a large portion of production takes place in countries where climate conditions are more favourable to grow flowers all year around such as Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Coffee

Global demand for coffee continues to grow steadily, especially in Europe. However, what coffee farmers earn from selling coffee in parts of South America and Africa is frequently still not high enough to secure their livelihoods. As a major retailer we are aware of our responsibility to ensure that the coffee we sell is sourced in a sustainable manner that improves working conditions and tackles wider social challenges.

Soy

In the EU, around 90% of soy is used to feed livestock, so it is a vital raw material in the production of our meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. Environmental impacts of soy in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay include soil erosion and degraded pastureland, biodiversity loss and carbon emissions.

Wood & Timber

Increasing global demand for low-cost timber products supports a multi-billion dollar business of illegal and unsustainable logging in forests worldwide. The world’s natural forests cannot sustainably meet this soaring global demand for timber products under weak forest management practices, making it critical that we take action to ensure that the wood-based fibres used in our products and packaging are from sustainable sources.

Textiles

Throughout every Lidl non-food collection, clothing, accessories and home textiles are a core element. As a major buyer of these products, Lidl has a great responsibility when it comes to living, working and environmental conditions in manufacturing countries.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is best grown near the equator, with Indonesia and Malaysia being the major producing countries for the global export market. When grown in a non-sustainable way, palm oil can lead to devastating deforestation and harm to the natural environment. We are committed to sourcing all of our palm oil from third-party sustainable sources.

Seafood

At Lidl GB, our principles of responsible fish and seafood sourcing are to ensure that the fish sold within our product ranges are sourced from the healthiest stocks possible using the least destructive fishing methods, with high regard for both environmental and social standards. Safe-guarding fish stocks for the future is an issue we are passionate about and we are proud of the progress we have made.

Animal Welfare

Through our partners including Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured, alongside animal welfare focussed NGO's, we have specialised contacts placed throughout the industry that can help advise and help action continuous improvement.
We have created strong supplier relationships through our lean buying practices and by championing British farming, we are able to provide product with leading-welfare standards, at an affordable price.