As is the norm for Aldi, they are once again ahead of the curve – they’re formally signing and implementing a voluntary food and grocery code, making them the first supermarket in Australia to do so.
The code prohibits specific types of unfair conduct by retailers and wholesalers in their dealings with suppliers and provides a clearer framework for these relationships. It is a measure that piggybacks off existing protections for suppliers under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including the unconscionable conduct provisions.
An Aldi spokesperson said, “We have always supported the concept of a strong and sustainable Australian grocery industry for retailers and suppliers. Aldi’s commitment to opt in to and implement the code before any other major supermarket is testament to our business values and dedication to quality supplier relationships”, reports InsideRetail.
The new terms start from today and will be enforced by the ACCC.
In March, Woolworths said the company “has been a strong supporter of a voluntary industry code of conduct and we look forward to seeing the government’s proposal after it has been considered by the Senate”, yet they still have not signed up to it.
The ACCC will have new powers to enforce the code and make sure Aldi is treating its suppliers correctly, including farmers and their distributors.
Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said there was no good reason why other supermarkets wouldn’t sign up to the code.
He told the ABC the Federal Government was still committed to making the code mandatory if retailers did not voluntarily embrace the code.
“If we can’t get to that point, I’ve made it clear that the government is prepared to escalate the code to one that forces their participation,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s necessary. That would be at odds with the spirit of the discussions that we’ve had to date, and the indications of support that I’ve received.
“I’m now calling on those supermarket chains to follow through on those words”.
Mr Billson said the Food and Grocery Code was designed to look after the people and businesses who supply supermarkets and it is about transparency and openness between suppliers and supermarkets.
Aldi’s move is a step forward with farmers in particular, as they have long argued than an independent and enforceable code of conduct was necessary.
So we want to know what you think: should all supermarkets enforce the Food and Grocery Code if it means helping our farmers and suppliers around Australia?