Tesco’s Trading Responsibly plan ‘will benefit suppliers’

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco's plan will benefit suppliers and customers, said Paul Wilkinson, a member of the retailer's supply chain advisory panel
Tesco's plan will benefit suppliers and customers, said Paul Wilkinson, a member of the retailer's supply chain advisory panel

Related tags Supply chain Management

Tesco’s new Trading Responsibly plan will improve both the way it works with suppliers and customer service, says Paul Wilkinson, chair of Thorntons and a member of the retail giant’s new independent supply chain advisory panel.

“The end result​ [of the Trading Responsibly plan] will be significant benefits for all stakeholders in the supply chain and consumers,”​ Wilkinson told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“It is important that Tesco shows leadership on this issue as clear market leader and the responsibility that this brings,”​ he added. “Tesco is open minded and receptive to constructive comment. And the panel is impressed by the progress to date.”

Work with our suppliers

Tesco released its plans last week (February 20) in a document entitled Trading Responsibly: improving the way we serve our customers and work with our suppliers​.

The document acknowledged: “Managing our supply chains and improving relationships with trading partners are crucial ​[to anticipating changes in customer preferences, changes in society’s expectations of business or long-term environmental and social change].

In order to anticipate and respond to challenges across the supply chain, the retailer pledged to: improve quality, mitigate risks, improve end-to-end productivity, reduce waste and improve the way its serves customers.

Specific commitments set out in the plan covered:

  • Building stronger relationships with UK agriculture partners.
  • Using Tesco’s scale and expertise to make improvements in our banana supply chain.
  • Playing a leading role in improving working conditions in the clothing industry.
  • Working with our trusted suppliers to drive innovation and quality for our customers.
  • Anticipating and responding to challenges across our supply chain in innovative and effective ways.

New supplier list 

Tesco confirmed it had created a new supplier list, cutting the number of abattoirs it used by about 30. Consequently, all Tesco beef, whether fresh, frozen or in ready meal, is now 100% British or Irish. All the retailers fresh chicken, eggs and milk are also 100% British.

The retailer said its independent supply chain advisory panel will provide expert advice on the way it developed plans, assess the effectiveness of its programmes and monitor, challenge and support progress.

Wilkinson – who is also chairman of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) and the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards judging panel – added: “The panel will provide comfort that the project is delivering and all claims will be subject to scrutiny.”

Tesco’s Producer Network, launched in 2012, includes 2,000 members across 47 countries.

Meanwhile, City analyst Shore Capital has predicted Tesco management faced “a multi-year job”​ in reviving the retailer's flagging fortunes. 

Tesco’s Independent Supply Chain Advisory Panel

  • Justine Roberts: ceo and founder of Mumsnet.
  • Bill Mustoe: Immediate past chairman of First Milk and Frank Roberts & Sons.
  • Paul Wilkinson: chairman of Thorntons, Fengrain and the NSAFD. Wilkinson also farms 364ha in Essex and Cambridgeshire.
  • Poul Christensen: president of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs and director of a family dairy farming business in Oxfordshire.

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