Are you ready for the new Horticultural code of conduct?
Are you ready for the new Horticultural code of conduct?

The imminent release of a new Horticulture Code of Conduct is a compelling reason to review where you stand on good governance practices. The new code will redefine the transaction experience between producers and market agents or buyers. The important question now is how to establish new practices that meet requirements to be compliant and profitable and efficient.

Consider some of the new compliance requirements that are slated to be introduced by the Horticultural Code of Conduct :

# All trade relationships must be made in good faith.

# Every trade relationship requires documented produce agreements.

# Every trade must be specifically related back to Freshspecs as a benchmark for product specifications.

# Agreements must specify all commercial terms.

The question that should be on everyone’s mind is “what happens if legal action is taken against me”?  Will you be able to demonstrate, in black and white, that you have acted in good faith and that you have the right contract in place? What systems do you have in place to safeguard your business from possible fines and negative brand association?

With the increased adoption of digital trading solutions, these questions can be answered in an entirely novel way, that is not only more cost effective, but also provides stronger code compliance.

At the HiveXchange we have integrated compliance and governance as part of our trust-based e-commerce (T-ecommerce™) infrastructure.  We have a contract architecture that lines up with the ACCC’s code of conduct that was built at our expense by one of Australia’s leading law firms. Every trade made in our online marketplace is contracted with a full audit trail that is time and date stamped. Our contract infrastructure is also tightly integrated into Freshspecs. That simply means that every trade is tied back to a detailed specification on consignment rules for acceptable delivery.

To meet compliance requirements however takes a lot more than having the correct contracting framework. Workflow is an equally, if not more important, aspect of governance. The T-ecommerce™ workflow inside our trading platform is designed to collect all key communications between buyer and seller from order negotiation through to delivery. We have helped our clients move away from interrupt driven phone calls to more time efficient text based messaging. That gives traders two benefits. 1. More time, and 2. a clear audit trail for every order.

This means that in the event of a dispute, buyers and sellers can easily reference all communications, agreements, commercial terms, and actual commercial behaviours. This gives everyone the ability to defend “good faith” positions required under new regulations.

T-ecommerce™ workflow and infrastructure embeds good governance into the trade act itself. It prevents poor trade behaviours and reduces the potential for messy disputes.

By providing our members with a fully compliant and auditable environment the HiveXchange enables more dynamic, agile trade where buyers and sellers can capitalise on opportunities without fear of breaching regulatory obligations.

As an example, the HiveXchange is working with one of our suppliers on a program that will enable code compliance between the producer and all of their market agents. Our T-ecommerce™ platform means that a supplier can operate their relationship with many parties through a single trading window. It is efficient, profitable and compliant. That simply means that both the buyer and seller are protected from compliance breaches without having to re-invest in compliance programs.

UPDATE: The new Horticulture Code came into effect on the 1st of April 2017 – the Horticulture Code and information about transition periods can be found on the ACCC website

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