Coles has appointed experienced lawyer Jenny Linsten as its code arbiter in accordance with the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, effective 15 February 2024.
The appointment follows the resignation of the Hon. Jeff Kennett after almost 10 years in the role. Mr Kennett was first appointed as Coles’ independent arbiter in 2014 under its supplier charter, before formally taking up the role as code arbiter under the revised code in 2020.
Coles was the first Australian supermarket retailer to adopt an independent arbitration process to help resolve commercial disputes.
Coles was also instrumental in the creation of the Food and Grocery Conduct Code, becoming a foundation signatory in 2015. The voluntary industry code sets out standards of business conduct between grocery retailers and their suppliers.
As code arbiter, Linsten will investigate and resolve disputes between Coles and merchandise suppliers, and provide ongoing feedback and recommendations to improve its practices.
Linsten brings more than 30 years’ legal and commercial experience to the role, including as General Counsel and Company Secretary of the Ford Motor Company of Australia, lawyer at Clayton Utz and Principal of her own legal advisory practice, Jenny Linsten Legal.
Coles Group CEO Leah Weckert said, “we strive to build and sustain strong, long-term partnerships with our suppliers. The independent model, supported by the code arbiter, is an important mechanism to ensure trust and transparency throughout the grocery sector and is an avenue for suppliers to address any issues.”
“We would like to thank Jeff for his contribution over the past 10 years and throughout the code’s evolution, and for his part in enacting a robust, fair and timely supplier dispute resolution process,” she said.
“Jenny brings a wealth of experience from the legal and commercial sectors, and we look forward to working with her from February.”
Linsten said, “Coles’ ongoing commitment to an independent dispute resolution process gives suppliers and the public confidence that concerns are being heard and acted upon. I recognise Coles’ leadership in this space and look forward to meeting and hearing from Coles’ suppliers through my role as code arbiter.”