At our recent Supplier Update, attended by more than 400 of our suppliers, we announced our new Supplier Charter. This document outlines the principles of how we want to conduct our supplier relationships and puts down on paper what we consider to be best practice now and for the future.  Importantly it helps us frame the expectations we have of our own team, and of our suppliers as we do business together.

The Charter also talks to our commitment to be open, transparent and data-based in our buying decisions. It’s really important to us that suppliers have a clear way to raise concerns, and the Supplier Charter puts in place a clear and articulated disputes process.  

We’ve consciously highlighted in the Charter how we work with our smaller suppliers.  Countdown has a strong history in helping bringing new products to market, but we know that small suppliers are unfamiliar with our processes and need additional support.

Being respectful, friendly and safe; and conducting business fairly, truthfully and honestly are key principles we stick by.  If you would like more information, you can read the full Supplier Charter by visiting our website:

It was great to see so many of our suppliers at the annual Countdown Suppliers Charity Golf Day at the Titirangi Golf Course. Thank you to all those who attended, especially considering it was an incredibly wet day.  However, we still managed to raise more than $141,000 for Dementia Auckland

Last month, I visited Parliament along with some of my executive team and our suppliers.  Our aim was to continue to foster good relationships and provide ongoing information about our industry to members of Parliament.

In Wellington, we also had the absolute pleasure of announcing our Countdown Food Rescue Partners Contestable Fund recipients. Attended by several Members of Parliament as well as key suppliers and our Countdown leaders, I was proud to award more than $100,000 to seven of our hard-working and deserving food rescue charity partners.

At Countdown, we donate around $3.5 million of surplus food to The Salvation Army and other local foodbanks and food rescue groups each year.  An additional $1.2 million of food that is not suitable for people to eat is donated to farmers as food scraps for their animals.

We launched the Contestable Fund in December 2016 to help support capital expenditure or projects which have a direct impact on growing and building the capacity of Countdown’s food rescue partners.

The inaugural recipients of the 2017 fund include Kaibosh Food Rescue, KiwiHarvest, Good Neighbour, Love Soup Hibiscus Coast, Fair Food NZ, Kaivolution and The Salvation Army.

Lastly, Chris Fisher, our General Manager Merchandise, will be leaving Countdown later this year.

Chris has overseen some impressive accomplishments during his tenure. He has empowered our merchandise team to make data-driven commercial decisions, driven our store segmentation strategy; and made it far easier for smaller suppliers to work with us through a reformed quality assurance process.

I am really sorry to lose someone of Chris’ quality and commitment from my leadership team, but he has put in place very strong foundations for our buying team to continue to grow and relentlessly pursue our business strategy.  

We will commence the search for his replacement and in the meantime, it is business as normal.