The Groceries (Supply Chain Practices) Market Investigation Order 2009 (the “Order”) has been in force since 4 February 2010.
The Order implemented the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the “Code”) which applies to certain grocery retailers, including Asda, and governs our dealings with suppliers.
Every year we submit an annual compliance report to the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) and the Groceries Code Adjudicator (the “GCA”) to detail our compliance with the Code, any alleged breaches of the Code and any disputes with suppliers.
We delivered our seventh report, covering the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, to the CMA and the GCA on 30 April 2018.
During the past 12 months we have worked closely with the GCA to ensure the pro-active and rapid resolution of the issues that she brought to our attention. We thank the GCA for her collaborative approach as it has enabled key changes to be implemented across the business and the further strengthening of our GSCOP compliance programme. Some of the steps we have taken are:
- Implementing 10 Supplier Commitments to support improved communication and transparency in all of our dealings with our supplier partners.
- Establishing a new Supplier Engagement Team to coordinate all aspects of the Asda-supplier relationship and support consistent and clear communication; and
- Re-launching our Supplier Helpdesk so suppliers can easily contact us to discuss any concerns that they may have.
To supplement this enhanced level of engagement, and underpin everything our colleagues do, we have revamped our training programme by making it more practical and case-study led. Over 440 colleagues across different departments have been trained using these new materials. This includes all of our buyers and the finance and merchandising colleagues who support the buying function.
In addition to one alleged breach carried over from 2016, in this reporting period we have received 19 alleged breaches of the Code. No new issues were raised as a dispute under the Code during the reporting period. For each of the three issues where the alleged breaches were deemed to be within the scope of the Code, we have ensured that the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the supplier in a timely manner, and that key lessons have been learned and incorporated into our training and compliance materials.
Compliance with the Order and Code is extremely important to Asda, and we will continue to place the Code at the heart of our relationships with our supplier partners.