It’s February 2022 as I write, and our long-term plan to stock a wider range of grocery items is finally happening, thanks to our new supplier, Suma.
When we moved into the larger retail unit after the delays caused by the first lockdown, the uncertainty of how the pandemic would play out caused us to proceed very cautiously. Couple this with a very unreliable (previous) wholesaler who were consistently out of stock of large portions of our orders, and the stock they did send us had very short shelf lives, it was a rocky start to our expansion. I won’t even go into the terrible customer service or how they demanded we pay them money that THEY OWED US (and how many months of to-ing and fro-ing it took for us to get that money back!) Now, with a cautious optimism for a future free of lockdowns and an account with Suma – a much more professional and reliable wholesaler – we have finally begun expanding our grocery range.
Suma is a well-known name in those circles involved with food and environmental matters. A co-operative since 1977, they offer a wide range of products from soup to soap, including their own brand labels. We only joined them recently but so far have been impressed. Not only are the Suma team incredibly helpful and very friendly, everything we have ordered so far has been in stock and with long shelf-lives. A far cry from our previous wholesaler! Add to this having their own very experienced drivers who plan their routes very carefully to keep their carbon footprint as tiny as possible, and we think this is the start of a long-term relationship.
Suma’s buying statement is to-the-point and includes 6 important promises:-
- They are a 100% vegetarian company. All their products are carefully sourced as vegetarian.
- They will not knowingly stock products which contain harmful food additives.
- They will only consider GM free products.
- Where eggs are an ingredient, they must be free-range.
- Bodycare, cosmetic and household products must be cruelty-free.
- They encourage submissions of organic, fair trade, eco-friendly and co-operatively produced food and non-food products.
Modern Slavery Statement
In addition to the Buying Statement above, Suma also require their suppliers to confirm that
- They have taken steps to eradicate modern slavery within their business
- They hold their own suppliers to account over modern slavery
- They do not employ children under the age of 15
- They pay their employees any prevailing minimum wage applicable within their country of operations
- We may terminate the contract at any time should any instances of modern slavery come to light
Of course, Suma also adhere to these principles themselves stating that they have “a zero tolerance approach to any form of modern slavery”. A fully democratic co-operative, all of their members and employees receive the same gross hourly rate of pay (which is well above the British government’s National Minimum Wage and the so-called “Living Wage”). This is regardless of their job and responsibilities, and regardless too of their ethnicity or gender. In fact, in relation to their hourly rate, Suma are able to boast a Mean Gender Pay Gap of 0.00%!
Fair Tax Statement
Not many companies are willing to talk about their tax affairs, but Suma is. They are proud to pay their taxes, stating that their policy “commits to shun tax avoidance and to avoid the use of artificial tax havens”, and that their “current tax charge is very much in line with the expected rate, averaging at 21% over the last four years”. Suma believes in contributing to the infrastructure their business relies on, such as roads and rail, as well as those institutions we all depend on such as the NHS, police, libraries, and everything else we take for granted but which wouldn’t exist without tax payers’ money.
We hope you love Suma’s ethical policy as much as we do, and we look forward to stocking even more of their products in the near future.