PAN UK made considerable efforts to contact Lidl to request that the company respond to our survey regarding its pesticide-related policies. Despite repeated attempts to reach Lidl via email, post and various online platforms including Twitter, Lidl did not respond. In fact, they were the only one of the top ten UK supermarkets to ignore our communication requests. As a result, we have been forced to conclude that Lidl appears to be unconcerned about pesticide use in its global supply chains, or the potential negative impacts that they may be having on human health or the environment.
The majority of the information underpinning PAN UK’s ranking is based on survey responses provided by the supermarkets themselves.
Our survey assessed the policies of the top ten supermarkets on the following eight criteria:
- Supporting suppliers to use non-chemical alternatives
- Monitoring and reducing pesticide residues in food
- Phasing out the most hazardous pesticides
- Engaging with customers on reducing pesticide use
- Reducing harm caused to bees and pollinators
- Being transparent about pesticides
- Selling pesticide products
- Boosting organic sales
As Lidl failed to respond, PAN UK was only able to confirm limited information for two of the eight criteria as described below:
Being transparent about pesticides
Lidl could be much more open about pesticides linked to its global supply chains. The company appears to publish almost no information about pesticides on its website. PAN UK researchers were unable find out whether Lidl has an overarching pesticide policy and neither its latest sustainability report nor its ‘Supplier Code of Conduct’ mention pesticides. Assuming that Lidl does conduct in-house testing for pesticide residues like every other UK supermarket, it is not publishing the testing results, or its lists of specific pesticides which it bans, restricts or monitors. As a result, Lidl customers are unable to find out which pesticides appear as residues in the food they buy. By being the only one of the top ten UK supermarket which declined to respond to PAN UK’s survey, Lidl is arguably more secretive about pesticides than any of their competitors.
Selling pesticide products
PAN UK called Lidl’s customer services team who told us that they tend to sell pesticide products in the spring and summer months.
PAN UK is extremely disappointed that Lidl did not respond to our survey. We are keen to work with Lidl going forward to help the company reduce pesticide-related harms linked to its global supply chains. We encourage Lidl to get in touch.