01 Sep 2021 | 09.00 am
Lidl Is Working Towards A Better Tomorrow
Four key pillars to Lidl's CSR strategy
01 Sep 2021 | 09.00 am
2021 has continued to be an incredibly challenging year for everyone across the country as we all carry on adapting to the challenges the pandemic has thrown at us. At Lidl Ireland, we are continuing to work towards improving our operational approach whilst sticking to our four key pillars of our A Better Tomorrow strategy – Responsible Sourcing, Protecting the Environment, Team Lidl, and Lidl Community Works. The past few months have seen us introduce several initiatives across each of the four pillars.
Following the debut of our first Pollinator-Friendly Store in Youghal, Co. Cork last summer, we have committed to the rollout of 20 more Pollinator-Friendly Stores across the island of Ireland by the end of 2021, including several store locations in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Limerick and Offaly.
As a member of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan since 2018, we have been working collaboratively towards the protection of biodiversity and the conservation of native ecosystems in line with Ireland’s National Biodiversity Action Plan. Pollinator-Friendly Stores are an innovative concept whereby suitable surrounding areas at our stores are optimised to create an area of pollination promotion.
Featuring reduced mowing practices, wildflower planting, an insect hotel and informative signage, these areas can look overgrown but are in fact a haven for pollinators like bees, butterflies and hoverflies, which are essential for the production of the fresh fruit and vegetables that Lidl Ireland is renowned for. Minster of State for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Pippa Hackett helped launch this new initiative. The minister commented: “Encouraging our native biodiversity to flourish is incredibly important, and we all have a part to play in doing so. I am delighted to see Lidl Ireland taking the initiative and supporting Ireland’s national biodiversity with the rollout of their Pollinator-Friendly Stores, giving people across the country the opportunity to learn about the conservation and revitalisation of Irish biodiversity on an individual level.”
In April 2021, we became the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores nationwide to women and girls affected by period poverty. A Plan International study in Ireland found that almost 50 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 19 found it difficult to pay for sanitary products. The initiative came in advance of anticipated Irish legislation and implementation of supporting measures. We worked in partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and The Simon Communities of Ireland to introduce this initiative to our stores.
The new initiative allows customers to claim a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons each month through the Lidl Plus app. As part of our partnership with The Simon Communities of Ireland, we also committed to quarterly donations of period products to ensure people experiencing homelessness – who may not have access to a smartphone – can access these essential products.
The idea for the scheme was brought forward by our Senior Communications Manager Eimear O’Sullivan, who explains: “As the first retailer in the world to take a strong stance in all our stores, supporting those affected by period poverty, this initiative underscores our commitment to supporting women and girls in the communities we serve across the country. We also do this through our sponsorship of Ladies’ Gaelic Football, our International Women’s Day initiatives and significant employee benefits. This initiative has been a passion project, and it’s really rewarding to see it come to life and hopefully, have an impact on women and young girls across the country.”
Paid Leave And Pregnancy Loss
As part of our Team Lidl pillar, we continue to introduce a range of benefits to create an overall better workplace environment for our over 5,000 employees. In June, we became the first company on the island of Ireland to extend compassionate leave for employees who have experienced or been directly impacted by early pregnancy loss or miscarriage.
The policy will see anybody affected offered three days at full pay, regardless of gender and including those engaged with a surrogate mother, who have experienced early pregnancy loss or miscarriage. Aside from this, we are also offering 24-hour access to the employee assistance programme for mental health. This involves up to five sessions with a professional counsellor and the opportunity for employees to speak to a colleague about their pregnancy loss if they wish.
Denise White-Hughes, our Head of Employee Relations who has herself experienced three miscarriages, spoke at the launch event. “We want to acknowledge that people who experience early pregnancy loss or miscarriage are bereaved and not sick. We also want to support employees to have safe conversations and to listen to what they need,” said Denise.
Lidl Community Works
Our objective is to be a good neighbour by positively contributing to the communities in which we live and operate.
• Jigsaw – We are proud to partner with Jigsaw – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health. Through this partnership, we have pledged to raise €1.25 million and grow national awareness for youth mental health. Not only are we aiming to raise funds to help Jigsaw, but we are also aiming to raise national awareness of youth mental health by encouraging all of our customers and colleagues to be One Good Adult to a young person in their lives.
• Autism Aware Stores – Between the bright lights, crowded spaces, noise and sensory overload, grocery shopping can sometimes be a very stressful task for people with autism. With this in mind, we have organised ‘Autism Aware Quiet Evenings’ in each of our stores to help people and families who may struggle with the weekly shop run.
• Ladies Gaelic Football Association – We launched our sponsorship with the LGFA in 2016 and since then have invested a massive €4m in the LGFA and its local communities, including supporting over 450 schools and juvenile teams nationwide, donating more than 11,000 jerseys, balls and equipment and providing over 300 clubs with cash donations.
One of the primary objectives of our sponsorship of the LGFA has been to encourage more young girls to participate and stay in sport. Our nationwide Lidl #SeriousSupport Schools programme was launched in 2019 and aimed to tackle dropout rates of girls aged 11-14 by delivering inspirational assembly talks and skill-building workshops.
• Food Redistribution – Through our partnership with FoodCloud, we have built a network of over 300 charity and community groups, from disability support services to afterschool clubs to homeless charities, which we support with regular food donations from our stores and warehouses. We donate on average 50,000 meals every month to over 300 charities, and to date we have redistributed the equivalent to over 2 million meals.
• Voucher Donation Fund – Where a local community group is hosting a community event or fundraiser which mirrors our values and pillars, we are happy to provide Lidl vouchers to support. These vouchers have been used by hundreds of community groups and charities across the country for raffles, bake-sales, school healthy eating weeks, science projects and sports programmes.
Photo (l-r): Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett and Head of CSR at Lidl Ireland Owen Keogh at Lidl’s Pollinator-Friendly Store in Tullamore (Pic: Justin Farrelly)