Update: 6/11/2015: ALDI Food Markets Moving Into Southern California — And They Use Palm Oil

UPDATE 6/11/2015:  Well I was right.  Aldi is finally moving into southern California, lock stack and barrel.  I just read it this morning in the Los Angeles Times so it HAS to be right.

Because it’s a low cost business model, though, many humdrum drone-like shoppers will flock to it simply to save money — and without giving a thought to its low cost environmental toll — which is bad news if they don’t use sustainable palm oil YET.  To wit:

More than 90% of the items for sale are Aldi’s private label. Each store carries about 1,300 items, offering only one or two options of peanut butter or canned green beans. That ensures hefty discounts from suppliers because Aldi buys in huge volumes. The reduced costs are passed to shoppers who can save 20% to 40% on most products, industry watchers say.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-aldi-california-20150611-story.html#page=1

Guess I need to hassle them for a response to my below query to see where they are on their sustainable palm oil pledge now.  Have they made any headway or is it just a lot of greenwashing bluster?  Inquiring minds want to know.

But apparently they’re owned by the same German family trust that owns Trader Joe’s, which apparently uses palm oil from South America.

Aldi has a unique concept that stands out from stalwarts such as Ralph’s and Vons, analysts said. Aldi is controlled by the Albrecht family in Germany. (Through a family trust, the Albrechts also own Monrovia-based Trader Joe’s.)

See my long-gestating post on Trader Joe’s palm oil policy here for more info on THEIR efforts:

https://gettingonmysoapbox.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/trader-joes-apparently-gets-its-palm-oil-from-south-america/

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A new chain of food stores are moving into California — ALDI.  I have never heard of them before, but here’s what the LA Times reported:

Supermarket chain Aldi, which plans to open 650 new stores in the U.S. in the next five years, has acquired a 55-acre site in Moreno Valley where it will build its Southern California regional headquarters. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-aldi-buys-moreno-site-20140401,0,5539601.story#ixzz2xldtu7qI

A palm oil activist alerted us to the fact that they use palm oil in their products.  So I fired off an email.  Here’s their response — and it came surprisingly quick:

We appreciate your interest in sustainable palm oil. At ALDI, responsibility is an integral part of our corporate decision-making processes. Simplicity, consistency and responsibility always have been our three defining core values. We are convinced that long-term business success only can be achieved if we additionally assume responsibility for people, nature and the environment. This belief is reflected in our Corporate Responsibility Policy, which can be found on our website under the “About ALDI” tab. Regarding sustainable palm oil, ALDI is working with our suppliers to switch to using only sustainably produced palm oil and palm kernel oil for our exclusive ALDI brands. As you can imagine, this process will take time as the global community works to transition the industry to a sustainable one. To demonstrate our commitment to this important sustainability effort, we have joined the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The objective of this multi-stakeholder initiative is to establish and control global standards for the sustainable production of palm oil. Again, thank you for reaching out to ALDI about this important topic.

This did not excite me so I sent the following reply:

Thanks for the response. Though your stance seems full of promise, it’s short on immediate action when other HUGE companies, such as Unilever, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Safeway, etc., are making changes to sustainable palm oil NOW (though there are criticisms of these companies too)! I just got back from Indonesia, where I saw the destruction, death and displacement for myself on the ground. There is NO more time. Forests are being illegally razed to make way for more palm oil plantations — and these greedy careless companies (and their American corporate partners) are members of the RSPO. So pardon me if I don’t jump up-and-down with excitement about membership in this “greenwashing” organization. Even the World Wildlife Fund, one of the RSPO founding members, has had to discredit RSPO’s own policy of what they classify as “sustainable,” etc. Please tell me your company is going to do more — and fast. There is no time to spare. Until that time, I will advise my blog readers, friends, family and co-workers to boycott your stores. We have no other alternative but use our own market power to affect change.

I await their demur.

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