In December 2019 Ethical Consumer searched the Lidl UK website for an environmental report or policy. The company's Sustainability Report 2017-18 was downloaded.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
The report discussed climate change, carbon emmisions, energy, transport, sourcing of raw materials, packaging, recycling and waste. On a page entitled Detoxifying our Textiles it was stated that the company had pledged to meet the goals of the Greenpeace Detox commitment to eliminate the discharge of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures of apparel and footwear products no later than 2020. The company did not appear to have any discussion of agricultural inputs nor of water use, either in its main operations or throughout its supply chain. As such it was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main impacts.
The report contained numerous quantified targets. These included:
- Reduce food waste per store by 25% by 2020 and 50% by 2030 (previous reports indicated that this was from a 2016 baseline).
- Procure 100% of our electricity from renewable sources from 2019.
- Reduce pallet emissions by 25% by 2028 (2018 baseline).
- By the end of 2019, switching all of the viscose used within own-brand textile products to Lenzing EcoVero, a more eco-friendly form of viscose.
The company had numerous other targets but these did not appear to have baselines. These included:
- 20% reduction in own-brand plastic packaging by 2022.
- Increase the recycled content of own-brand packaging to a minimum 50% by 2025.
The report had been independently assured by Ernst & Young LLP. While the scope of this assurance was not made completely explicit, it appeared to cover all of the data provided.
Overall Lidl UK received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Environmental Reporting and lost half a mark in this category.
Lidl Sustainability Report 2017-18 (2018)