Somerfield results - Producers

Indicator 2.1 View criteria

Issue: Corporate commitment to trading integrity with the supply chain

Indicator: Board-level responsibility for trading integrity

Group Buying Director is responsible for all trading relationships with suppliers.

Indicator 2.2 View criteria

Issue: Trading integrity with the supply chain

Indicator: Standards and codes of practice

Codes of practice on relationships with suppliers. Somerfield is not subject to the Department of Trade and Industry’s Code of Practice on relationships with suppliers, as it has a market share less than 8%. It does have its own Code of Practice which contains some elements that are stronger than the DTI code. This was not supplied to IIED but is available on the Somerfield website ( A policy on ‘Not soliciting gifts, favours or hospitality, not accepting gifts of money’, is covered by an internal policy. Regular training in the Code is conducted by the Company Solicitor, and new buyers cover it during their induction. Suppliers have been informed of the company Code, but are not required to implement it in their commercial relationships, eg with farmers.

Country of origin labelling. Somerfield has implemented the Food Standards Agency code of Best Practice on Country of Origin labelling for meat and meat products (labels are currently being modified on meat products) and for dairy. In other words, UK farmers and consumers can soon be sure that imported food is not misleadingly labeled to ‘appear’ British.

Pricing of ‘sustainable’ products. Somerfield is not committed to equal or lower profits margins on organic and Fairtrade products.


Indicator 2.3 View criteria

Issue: Fair trading relationships

Indicator: Integrity of the trading relationship with UK farmers and suppliers

Somerfield excluded itself from the opportunity to achieve a high score in the Producers module by not subjecting itself to an independent survey of its suppliers, conducted by Imperial College.

Indicator 2.4 View criteria

Issue: Support for smallholder producers in developing countries

Indicator: Availability of and promotion of Fairtrade Marked products

The number of Fairtrade products stocked by Somerfield appears to be in decline. But the support for the sector in terms of promotional activity has expanded. Two new Fairtrade products – bananas and pineapple – will be introduced in the near future.


Overall commentary and examples of good practice

Examples of best practice

Somerfield has developed own-label Fairtrade lines for tea and coffee. This is a significant commitment from a retailer with smaller high-street store formats.

Areas for improvement

Incorporate the company’s Code of Conduct on supplier relations in Terms and Conditions of Purchase from suppliers, so that the principles of the Code are transmitted ‘upstream’ to smaller suppliers and farmers.

Include a monitoring procedure of trading relationships so that Somerfield can get an idea of how its buyers are performing in the integrity of their trading relationships in comparison to the industry best practice; such as comparative third party surveys of suppliers

Commit to generating equal or lower margins on organic and Fairtrade produce in order to develop these sectors.


Supermarket comments

We will review the comments made.


Posted: 26-Nov-2003

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