Supply chain exploitation: 'supermarket watchdog needs more powers'

27 June 2016 - 8:00am
Press release

The Groceries Code Adjudicator is the UK’s first independent adjudicator to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers.

As the annual Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) conference gets underway today, Vicki Hird, Director of Campaigns and Policy at War on Want, said:

"Supermarkets wield unprecedented power on a global scale, dictating unfair terms under which overseas producers are forced to sell their goods.

"The intermediary companies the retailers often use to get their supplies also use unfair terms of trade. The exploitative terms of trade they use, such as late payments and demanding additional promotional fees, can lead to lower pay for workers and farmers struggling to make a living. Consumers too are unable to choose produce that has not involved exploitation.

"While it’s clear from the recent investigation into Tesco that exploitation in supply chains is rife, the power of the Grocery Code Adjudicator to tackle abuse by the retailers and others in the supply chain remains limited.

"The upcoming review by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills must ensure that the Grocery Code Adjudicator can get tougher on bad practice, be proactive in investigating exploitation and curb abuses of buying power along the whole supply chain."

War on Want is part of the Groceries Code Action Network (GCAN), a coalition of 23 NGOs, unions and food groups which welcomes the upcoming review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), and calls on the government to extend the supermarket watchdog’s remit. The GCAN is calling for fair trading practices, including paying suppliers on time and in full, to be enforced at every level of the supply chain.

To date, the Grocery Code Adjudicator first and only investigation found that Tesco had delayed millions of pounds worth of payments to suppliers. Yet unfair trading in food supply chains with suppliers too scared to report breaches to the GCA for fear of losing business (40% said this was why they were not reporting malpractice in the GCA’s 2015 survey).


Notes to editors

For more information and interviews contact Ross Hemingway 07983 550 728

Latest news

Event: "Curfew" Contemporary dance by El-Funoun & Hawiyya

16 March 2018 - 5:30pm

War on Want is happy to be supporting “Curfew”, a contemporary dance production performed by El-Funoun (Palestine) and Hawiyya Dance Company (UK), presented by Arts Canteen. "Curfew" is a thought-provoking contemporary dance production that encourages individuals to self-reflect and take action in front of injustice.

Read more

Families of massacred workers protest Lonmin’s final AGM tomorrow

13 March 2018 - 12:45pm

Families of massacred workers protest Lonmin’s final AGM tomorrow, saying corporate takeover doesn’t dissolve responsibility of mining company linked to South African president. 

Civil rights activist, bishop and lawyer representing workers at Marikana, South Africa, are in London this week to hold platinum mining company Lonmin to account over 2012 Massacre.

Read more

Join the conversation

Hear from Sahar, Director of @Addameer, as well as 3 other powerful #women from our partner organisations:… 3 hours 5 min ago
The UN Security Council meets in late April to discuss four-decade long occupation of #WesternSahara. Take action!… 23 hours 26 min ago
Stephanie led the #McStrike to win £10 an hour for McDonalds workers. Hear from her and other powerful #women we wo… 23 hours 57 min ago