One of our long-standing partners is Lidl Belgium & Luxembourg. The chain employs 10,000+ employees, working in over 300 supermarkets.

Lidl has a unique market position that is rooted in five values, among which are responsibility and fairness. These are closely linked to one of Lidl’s core focus areas: Sustainability. Their ambition is to create “positive impact on our people and our planet.” (Sustainability Strategy 2025).

Since 2016, Sustenuto has been working with Lidl to develop their sustainability. During this time, the company managed to transform from a sustainable retailer into a true sustainability front-runner.

Let’s have a look at how we’ve helped Lidl obtain this great achievement.

Our approach

Strategic advice

We started our collaboration in 2016 by helping Lidl develop a strong sustainability approach with concrete and ambitious commitments. To do so, we applied our Sustainable Growth Model™ and started with a deep dive into the business and market context. We then organised workshops with the management and a cross-functional team of experts to define the material topics.

The resulting Sustainability Strategy 2020 was built around 5 pillars: Assortment, Environment & Climate, Employees, Society, and Business Partners. Over the course of 2020, we went through the process once again, building on the existing strategy to create a new one for the period 2021-2025.  

Stakeholder engagement

As part of the strategy development, we helped Lidl engage and involve their stakeholders. More specifically, we guided them in setting up two stakeholder dialogues:

  • A physical stakeholder dialogue in 2017
  • A virtual edition in 2021

Sustainability reporting

Throughout the years, Sustenuto supported Lidl with the development of three sustainability reports. Each time, we developed the report in collaboration with advertising and marketing agency Magelaan. Sustenuto team members continuously verified the process to ensure it was compliant with the GRI Standards.

The unique feature of Lidl’s sustainability reports is the far-reaching transparency. Each edition gives a full overview of all objectives and their status. An intuitive colour coding indicates whether the company is off track, semi-on track, on track, or has achieved the goal.

The 2019 edition received external recognition by taking home two prizes at the Awards for Best Belgian Sustainability Report in 2020:

  1. “Best creative and originality” across categories 
  2. “Best Impact Sustainability Report” in the large organisations category

The 2021 edition evolved from a corporate report to an accessible lifestyle magazine. With a playful tone, but substantiated with facts and figures, it informs and engages employees and customers alike.

Governance

Finally, our team of sustainability experts helped the management of Lidl to translate the strategy into an action plan and incorporate this within the entire organisation.

Among others, we coached the guidance of multiple sustainability working groups. We also provided support for specific working groups, including those working on trading partners as well as topics related to energy, climate, and sustainable procurement.

Results

“Working with Sustenuto was an inspiration. They not only helped Lidl Belgium & Luxembourg to take a leading role in sustainability, but also to firmly anchor the idea of sustainability in our company. Today, sustainability is alive in all departments, from operations to purchasing – we are proud of that.”

CSR Team of Lidl Belgium & Luxembourg

Lidl has become a reference for sustainability in the retail sector and beyond, thanks to its solid sustainability strategy and consistent implementation.

The current sustainability strategy is built around six pillars:

  1. Biodiversity
  2. Climate
  3. Resources
  4. Health
  5. Fairness
  6. Dialogue

Per pillar, there are different themes with corresponding objectives. In total, Lidl has set itself no less than 50 sustainability goals.

Lidl is now pursuing its ambition as sustainability front-runner.