Textiles Sustainability

Textiles

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for our customers to buy products that are produced in a responsible and environmentally-conscious way

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. Below we have outlined a selection of collaborative sustainability projects from within our non-food supply chain.

Transparency

We are working closely with our suppliers to increase supply chain transparency. As part of our journey towards greater transparency, we have committed to publishing tier one information on our food and non-food supply chains on an annual basis. This includes disclosing information on the name, address and country of origin of all of our own-label suppliers. For further information and links to our supplier lists, click here.

Project for Environmental and Resource Efficiency (PURE)

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Lidl have designed and launched the Project for Environmental and Resource Efficiency, or ‘PURE’, a training program in collaboration with GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation), a specialist organisation in sustainability; working alongside factories in Bangladesh and China that manufacture clothing and textile products.

This training program aims to educate and share practical solutions to everyday health, safety and environmental challenges in these facilities. The companies engaging in this scheme can use this training to help continually develop and enforce their own standards. By bettering the working conditions and environmental capabilities inside the factories, this can also create a greater impact on the local communities and surrounding areas.

‘PURE’ has three main goals:

1. Promote safe storage and handling of chemicals

2. Implement measures to reduce water and energy consumption

3. Improvement of waste and waste-water management

Lidl GB openly share all 650 company names and addresses of the facilities that manufacture our textile and footwear products on our website. This list is updated every six months and expresses our continued commitment and accountability to working alongside these facilities.This list can be reviewed here.

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PURE Success

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80

Textile companies

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400

Trained factory employees

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67,000

Employees benefit from the training in the long term

Action Collaboration Transformation

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Lidl is committed to fair wages in the textile industry

As a major buyer of clothing, textiles and footwear, Lidl takes seriously its responsibility to promoting decent working conditions in manufacturing countries, particularly in relation to promoting living wages.

In November 2019, Lidl became the first discount food retailer to become a member of the “Action, Collaboration, Transformation” (ACT) initiative. ACT is an agreement between global brands, retailers, trade unions and governments to achieve living wages for workers through the process of collective bargaining. Through ACT, retail and brand members commit to adapting their purchasing practices to ensure higher wages for workers.

ACT focusses on global supply chains, where a company like Lidl does not have the direct ability to set wages. On average, workers in these industries earn between 42% and 55% of what is understood to be the living wage benchmark, leaving them vulnerable to further rights violations, such as forced labour or child labour. 

In order to achieve fair wages, Lidl, through its participation in ACT, ensures purchasing volumes within its textile supply chain are agreed for a fixed time-period, preventing manufacturers from moving production to countries with lower labour costs when the opportunity arises. In addition to this, Lidl commits to integrating the wage levels agreed through the collective bargaining process into its buying contracts, starting initially in the key sourcing countries of Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Turkey.

Through its commitment to ACT, Lidl is taking concrete steps to improve conditions for workers in its global supply chains, fulfilling its promise to customers of responsible and sustainable sourcing.

"The involvement of companies like Lidl is particularly important, due to its high buying volumes and great influence on suppliers in Asia. ACT members want to work together to improve purchasing practices, thereby enforcing living wages in the clothing industry and striving for necessary change." Frank Hoffer, Executive Director ACT

Learn more about ACT here.

Greenpeace Detox

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Many of us do not consider how clothes and shoes are manufactured or what resources are needed to make our favourite basic essentials or high-fashion indulgences.

Through the clothing production process there are various stages where chemicals are added to improve product quality, as well as making the item unique and desirable. Though textile supply chains it can be difficult to monitor overall chemical usage and therefore understanding effects this chemical-use can have on the environment or human health.

We recognise the urgent need to eliminate the industrial release of all hazardous chemicals. In response to this, since 2014 we have pledged to meet the goals of Greenpeace’s Detox Commitment, to eliminate the discharge of all hazardous chemicals (including PFCs and APEOs) from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures of apparel and footwear products no later than 2020. For us, this commitment provides the framework for a long-term vision.

Read more about the Greenpeace Detox Campaign here.

Lidl Detox Roadmap
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Cradle To Cradle

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In 2019 Lidl launched a textile collection as a pilot project for the first time, which has been awarded the Cradle to Cradle Certified ™ (C2C) product standard in gold and silver. Together with the CHT Group, EPEA GmbH and the Beneficial Design Institute, Lidl has implemented completely biodegradable printing pastes for textiles.

The 'Cradle to Cradle’ concept describes the vision of a ‘waste-free economy’ in which raw materials are reused in closed cycles. Cradle to Cradle aims to drive intelligent product design that takes into account the full recycling of the product and its components, and selects chemicals and ingredients that are good for human health and the environment.

To be certified to C2C five considerations have to be implemented throughout production including:

  • Material health
  • Material reutilization
  • Renewable energy
  • Carbon management
  • Water stewardship
  • Social fairness

When manufacturing our Cradle to Cradle Certified ™ textile collections, all aspects are checked by independent experts for resource effectiveness and recyclability - from the effective use of raw materials to the use of chemicals to keeping water clean and the use of renewable energy.

Viscose

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Due to the risks associated with illegal deforestation and high-chemical usage for the production of generic viscose, Lidl have made the commitment to switching all own-brand textile products that contain viscose to LENZING™ ECOVERO™. This ensures our products are made from a more eco-friendly form of viscose, which has improved environmental standards in comparison to generic viscose and traditional manufacturing methods. For example, 50% less water is used during the production of LENZING™ ECOVERO™, chemicals are recycled back into the fibre production and the raw material comes from sustainably-managed forests and plantations.

Lidl has been working with LENZING™ since 2013 as a supplier of TENCEL™ modal and TENCEL™ lyocell. These more sustainable fabrics are used across various ranges including underwear, outer garments, sportswear and home textiles.

To find out more about this commitment, please visit our Timber & Wood page.

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Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing

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.

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.

Fruit & Veg

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.