Charities demand GCA protection for overseas suppliers

The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) has been urged to do more to stamp out unfair supply chain practices that affect food suppliers in developing countries.

The call came from the Fairtrade Foundation to coincide with the GCA’s annual conference where a YouGov survey showed that only 54% of overseas direct suppliers were aware of the existence of the GCA compared with 94% inside the UK.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Network (GCAN), an independent coalition of NGOs, unions and food associations, of which the Fairtrade Foundation is a member, called for fair trading practices, such as paying suppliers on time and in full, to be enforced at every level of the supply chain, including overseas.

“Suppliers take vast hits to their businesses when supermarkets suddenly cancel orders or delay payments, but they are still too scared of losing contracts to report them,” said Shivani Reddy, senior policy manager at the Fairtrade Foundation.

“At the sharp end of international trade, farmers in poor countries are particularly vulnerable to unfair trading by retailers in the UK, risking ruin when orders are cancelled and crops are left to rot. And many are not even aware of the GCA. To truly stamp out unfair trading, overseas suppliers must have a voice.”

During the conference, the current GCA Christine Tacon said that she was achieving significant progress in her role and that for the second year running the number of suppliers reporting Code-related issues had fallen.

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