Tesco faces more scrutiny as an investigation is initiated into its relations with suppliers.The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) has announced that it has “formed a reasonable suspicion” that the retail giant has breached the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.The investigation is to take place after information was submitted relating to practices associated with the profit over-statement, which was revealed in September.It will focus on part 4 and 5 of the Code, which are:Part 4 (paragraph 5): No delay in payments, andPart 5 (paragraph 12): No payments for better positioning of goods unless in relation to Promotions.Adjudicator Christine Tacon said: “This is the first investigation I have launched and it is a significant step for the GCA. I have taken this decision after careful consideration of all the information submitted to me so far.“I have applied the GCA published prioritisation principles to each of the practices under consideration and have evidence that they were not isolated incidents, each involving a number of suppliers and significant sums of money.”The investigation is expected to take place over the next six to nine months, and Tacon has asked for evidence to be submitted by 3 April this year.It will investigate Tesco’s practice between the months of 25 June 2013 (when the GCA was created) to 5 February 2015. What the experts are sayingMark Johnson, of Warwick Business School, is associate professor of operations management and researches supply chains. He said: “The GCA’s regulations should go a long way to ensuring that practices in the supply chain become more equitable. However, the regulation is only recent and Tesco cannot be fined, only investigated. I will be fascinated to see if Tesco can learn to deal with their supply base fairly after years of inequality and adversarial behaviour. After all, can you teach an old dog new tricks?“With Tesco suffering in the battle with the discounters, and the cost of running a retail operation now so super-efficient, where can a firm that requires profit go? The option is – unfortunately – to the supply chain where they can seek price reductions for increased profit, receive payments for favourable shelf position or indirectly influence profit by improving their liquidity by delaying payments.“But at the root of all of this it is not just Tesco. It’s the shareholders who require dividends and the customers who want low prices. Caught in this crossfire are the suppliers who, in many cases, are not powerful enough to fight back.”
With help from Waltz and UGA agronomist Bob Carrow, Esoda developed an outline for superintendents to follow. Because of Georgia’s diverse climate and soils, the BMPs would have to be specific to each golf course. “We’ve had to cut off watering roadside areas and driving ranges,” he said. “We’re saving water for our playing surfaces. It’s time to show the world that we walk the talk and prove that we’re good stewards of the environment.” To save and use water best, the plan needed expert input from the industry. “The original plan for golf was only exempting misting of greens,” he said. “That was unacceptable. Having us on an odd-even schedule wasn’t a smart watering plan, either,” because it would use more water, not less.Rallying the troops for the cause By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaMark Esoda has a plan for how he’ll get his “lawn” through Georgia’s drought: stop watering here, cut mowing and fertilizing there. … His plan will save water on thousands of acres this year and keep hundreds of thousands of golfers happy. Esoda, the golf course superintendent for the Atlanta Country Club, developed his plan after taking an extensive class, “Best Management Practices for Golf Course Superintendents.”Class work, homework and extra credit”This was a national class we presented in California,” said Clint Waltz, one of the course’s instructors and a turfgrass specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We asked each participant to return to their home state and develop a ‘best management plan’ for their facility.” “This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation,” Waltz said. “South Georgia’s conditions aren’t similar to north Georgia’s. The soils are different, the environments are different and the grasses are different.”A promise kept Last week, Esoda made good on his promise, and then some. He handed EPD Director Carol Couch 229 BMPs. Now 89 percent of GGCSA members have them for their golf courses. Esoda has put his course’s plan into action. Previous water rulings, he said, have unjustly singled out golf courses as nonessential water users. “They are essential,” he said, “economically and environmentally.”Managing a precious resource “We have a bad reputation when it comes to water usage,” Esoda said. “Everyone thinks we use too much water and too many inputs. The truth is we don’t use too many inputs and we do manage our water.” Esoda made a deal: Give him three years and he’d have 75 percent of the GGCSA members using water BMPs. Waltz said the superintendents have elevated themselves in the eyes of state regulatory agencies. They “want to be viewed as part of the solution, not the problem,” he said. “(Couch) called the superintendents pioneers in the area of water conservation.” “Superintendents are smart,” he said, “and they should be doing this anyway. They should be monitoring their water usage. It’s just good management.” He met first with the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “This was 2004,” Esoda said. “At the time, the state’s outdoor water management plan was being developed.” Businesses that rely heavily on water, such as golf courses, would be devastated if the state cut off their access or strongly restricted their usage, Esoda said. “We don’t feel that the state would ever cut us off completely,” he said. “But now, we have plans and strategies in place for what to do if they do turn the water off or add more restrictions.” Esoda did his homework and extra credit, too. He decided to encourage fellow members of the Georgia Golf Course Superintendent’s Association to develop BMPs for their courses. Besides saving and managing water, Esoda saw the plans as a way to show that when it comes to preserving the environment, golf course superintendents are forward thinkers.
USC running back Stafon Johnson was released from the hospital Wednesday, just 16 days after undergoing throat surgery after a weightlifting accident.The senior walked to the press conference at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and flashed a smile and a thumbs up to a waiting throng of reporters.Heading home · Stafon Johnson flashes the “Fight On” sign at the press conference a few weeks after his emergency surgery. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily TrojanJohnson still requires a breathing tube and cannot speak or swallow, but his doctors were upbeat about his recovery because of how far the senior has already come since the Sept. 28 incident.“He has made extremely remarkable progress at this preliminary stage,” said Dr. Ryan F. Osborne, one of the surgeons who operated on Johnson. “We’re happy with his progress and we’re very optimistic for his long-term prognosis.”Johnson nodded along to the words of his doctors and his mother, Kim Mallory, before his uncle Kregg Anderson read a statement that Johnson typed on his laptop prior to the press conference.“This is not the end of anything, but the beginning of things to come,” Johnson’s statement read. “I will be back soon.”Doctors had no set target date for when they will ask Johnson to attempt to speak again. They also had no timetable for a return to football, though Johnson nodded and smiled when the notion of playing again was discussed.Johnson will return home to rest and begin the rehabilitation process. He will be monitored “on an outpatient basis,” Osborne said, and will be evaluated later in the week.The day was emotional for Mallory, who stayed by her son’s side throughout his recovery. She thanked fans and friends for their outpouring of support through cards and texts, and also the surgeons who worked with Johnson.“God couldn’t have put together a better team of doctors for us,” Mallory said.The weightlifting injury could have been life-threatening to many other patients who lacked Johnson’s spirit and health, Dr. Jason S. Hamilton said.“His physical stature and his will to survive allowed him to make it to the hospital,” Hamilton said. “When I first evaluated him, I was surprised he even made it to the hospital at all. That’s a testament to him fighting from the beginning.”Johnson has remained in his teammates’ thoughts during his absence. Starting on Saturday against Notre Dame, USC will wear helmet stickers that read “Sta Fight On 13,” a play on words thought up by USC coach Pete Carroll.Separating himself from the team has proven difficult for Johnson, even during his recovery. The Compton native watched USC’s 30-3 win against Cal from his hospital bed and couldn’t help but get excited.“He was pushing in bed like he’s Allen Bradford trying to get a touchdown,” Mallory said. “The whole time, it was like he was in the game, but from afar.”Johnson drew support from throughout the community and even rival UCLA fans after the incident, and continues to gain supporters.“I wasn’t a football fan before, but I am now,” Osborne said. “You can’t help it. Stafon is just infectious.”Before heading home, Johnson scribbled a final note for Mallory to read to the audience. She said it read, “Fight on. Beat the Irish.”